Like every Londoner the Mayor and I have been appalled and saddened by the deaths of several cyclists on the capital’s roads in recent weeks.
Kulveer Ranger on cycling safety in London:
Like every Londoner the Mayor and I have been appalled and saddened by the deaths of several cyclists on the capital’s roads in recent weeks. Particularly as through my work to help the Mayor transform London into a true cycling city I know safety has been the most important consideration in everything we have done.
Since the Mayor's election we have worked closely with cycling, safety and freight organisations and the Police to deliver a Cycle Safety Action Plan for London.
But we acknowledge more can always be done. That is why the Mayor asked Transport for London to carry out a safety review of every major planned scheme on their roads and every junction on the cycle superhighways. That is over 300 key junctions including Bow roundabout, where two of the recent deaths occurred. TfL is working on proposals to improve that particular junction of which more detail will be available soon, and we will talk to cycle groups about exactly how we plan to make those improvements – sign-up to receive email updates on this and our ongoing cycle safety programme.
The Mayor’s desire is that reviewing these junctions leads to a step change in the way engineers think when planning road layouts. Historically our roads have been designed with motorists in mind. But that must change and the Mayor intends that with thousands more Londoners taking to two wheels their needs be given greater consideration than ever before.
Sixteen cyclists have been killed in London this year and nine of those deaths involved a heavy goods vehicle. There is no doubt we need to address that horrifying connection. The Mayor has asked TfL to commission an independent review of the design, operation and driving of construction industry vehicles such as the skip lorries, tipper trucks and cement mixers we see on our roads every day. We will look at how we can make those vehicles safer through physical improvements such as side bars, extra mirrors and sensors; and through better training for drivers of these large vehicles.
I write this during the first working week in London for ten years without a bendy bus running on our streets. I for one know how intimidating they were to cyclists and that was a key reason why the Mayor decided to banish them. But it is not lost on me that most cyclists are also car drivers. And, just as every day I see examples of bad driving, I also see too many examples of bad cycling. I know our roads will never be an arena of peace and serenity, however I urge both motorists and cyclists to show greater respect for each other. With record numbers of cyclists, and a 15% increase in cycling in the last year alone, that is essential. Guidance for cyclists is available on the TFL site.
But our greatest hope is that the recent fatalities have not put Londoners off taking to two wheels. The benefits of cycling are tremendous and, despite recent tragedies, it is getting safer. Next year there is much to look forward to with the expansion eastwards of our Cycle Hire Scheme, Olympic related cycling improvements and continued funding to provide cycle improvements in our Biking Boroughs.
I have also written to Jenny Jones AM to set out the details of the work we are taking forward to improve cycle safety.
Director of Environment