Restrict lorries in pedestrian areas: campaigners

The crashed bin lorry in George Square last year. Picture: Robert Perry

The crashed bin lorry in George Square last year. Picture: Robert Perry

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LORRIES must be restricted in busy pedestrian areas to avoid more deaths and injuries, campaigners Living Streets Scotland demanded today.

They should avoid peak shopping periods, special training should be given to drivers and 5mph speed limits should be imposed, the pedestrians’ lobby group urged.

The organisation’s call for action follows the fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into the Glasgow bin lorry crash which killed six pedestrians, including Gillian Ewing, 52, of Edinburgh, which recommended lorry curbs.

It said there had been six crashes involving lorries and pedestrians since the incident last December.

However, director Stuart Hay fears the recommendations risk being overlooked because of the focus on stricter checks on drivers.

Transport and Environment Convener, Cllr Lesley Hinds, said: “Pedestrian and cyclist safety are of the utmost importance to the council, and to this end we aim to make sure our fleet of HGVs poses no risk to the public. Our drivers are professionally trained and undergo regular checks to ensure suitability for the role.

“We are starting to invest in innovative Cyclear technology for our vehicles and have equipped new lorries with the facility, which will vastly improve cycle safety by providing visual and audio warnings to cyclists. Also our trade waste initiative is reducing windows of time for traders to present their waste, minimising the presence of refuse vehicles on our streets.

“In terms of road safety, next year our city will see 20mph limits rolled out to the majority of roads, which will vastly benefit pedestrians and cyclists.”

Among 19 recommendations, Sheriff John Beckett QC said: “Glasgow City Council should seek to identify routes between refuse collection points which, so far as is reasonably practicable, minimise the number of people who would be at risk should control be lost of a refuse collection lorry.”

He also said: “The potential for the presence of exceptional numbers of pedestrians at particular times should be taken account of as part of route risk assessment in refuse collection.”

In a six-point plan, Living Streets has called for:

•Use of “best in class” lorries with cameras and warning systems in high-risk areas such as busy high streets.

•20mph speed limits in all city centres but 5mph in pedestrian areas where access for deliveries is unavoidable.

•A review of loading/unloading times in the busiest streets to avoid peak shopping periods.

•Special restrictions, such as more evening deliveries, at high-risk times such as at Christmas or during events like the Edinburgh Festival.

•Traders encouraged to consolidate waste/recycling contracts in city centres to reduce pick-ups.

•Training for traders and delivery firms in lorry manoeuvring and marshalling on streets with “clear risks”.

newsen@edinburghnews.com