Carnage on London’s streets

It has been a grim period on London’s roads with 5 cyclists being killed and a further 3 left fighting for their lives in the past 9 days.

Pressure must now be maintained on the Mayor of London to significantly upgrade cycling provision in the city. A strip of blue paint is woefully insufficient. It is not a mystery why these tragedies are occurring. The only mystery is why it is taking the Mayor and Transport for London so long to do anything about it.

The tragic accidents conform to a pattern in that they involve HGVs and cyclists and often occur at traffic lights and junctions. To allow our most vulnerable road users to share space with the largest, that often have limited ability to see what is around them, is asking for trouble. It is obvious that there is a real problem on the interaction of HGVs with other road users. It is not beyond the wit of man to design and implement an infrastructure that keeps these interactions to the bare minimum. 

The mayor’s guru for cycling, Andrew Gilligan, has said that there will be a review in 4 months and that implementation of this would take another 11 months. Hopefully we will see improvements in that time. However, given the failure of the Mayor to match word with deed in his past proclamations and promises about cycling it is vital that Londoners keep up the pressure on the department.

The facilities in the Netherland are widely admired and with good reason. It is worth noting that they did not just appear from the ether. They were the result of concerted pressure and protests from Dutch citizens pressing for adequate facilities to protect lives.  If we want to progress to similar facilities in London we must follow in these footsteps.

Cycling is a wonderful way to get around the city, with many benefits to the individual and society at large. The time has come for the city to provide the safe infrastructure for cycling that we need and deserve.

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2 thoughts on “Carnage on London’s streets

  1. Adrian

    Danny, I enjoyed your first post and as a cyclist in London I fully agree. On my ride to and from work I am fortunate to have a long stretch of Cycle Super Highway 2 (Aldgate to Stratford) that does benefit from separate protected lanes and dedicated cycle traffic lights. Whilst better infrastructure would undoubtedly protect and save lives, I think it’s worth pointing out that in addition, more could be done around awareness and education of both drivers and cyclists and perhaps even stricter enforcement of road rules. Too often I see HGVs, busses and cars in the cycle boxes at traffic lights, but also it is shameful how many cyclists in London still feel comfortable disregarding the rules of the road, including the most basic of traffic signals; red lights. For the most part these are issues of common sense. Perhaps in well-known danger junctions, more could be done to prevent offenders from continuing bad habits by having more monitoring and on-the-spot fines for those that fail to observe the rules. In simple terms, where people stick to the road rules, most users can comfortably anticipate others’ actions and negotiate the streets more safely.

    Reply
  2. garriganx2 Post author

    Adrian – thanks for taking the time to read and to reply.

    Undoubtedly education/training of all road users is part of what needs to happen. Stricter enforcement of the laws also. It is irritating when cyclists break the rules. Indeed I have been known to chase after light jumpers to harangue them! Generally however they are endangering themselves rather than others. That is not a justification but it does mean it is a lower priority.

    As a general rule I think everyone needs to treat all other road users in London with a bit more respect and courtesy.

    Reply

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