Andrew Gilligan's response to London cycle safety petition hailed as "a brilliant victory"

Mayor's Cycling Commissioner outlines action to be taken in meeting 4 of Save Our Cyclists petition's 5 demands

by Simon_MacMichael   February 13, 2014  

London:cyclist in traffic (copyright Simon MacMichael).jpg

A cycle campaigner who last year launched a petition signed by more than 37,000 people asking Mayor of London Boris Johnson and his Cycling Champion, Andrew Gilligan, to outline how they intend make the capital safer for cyclists is claiming "a brilliant victory" after receiving a response that agreed to four of the petition's five demands.

Among details disclosed by Mr Gilligan are that Transport for London (TfL) aims to ban lorries without sideguards and is considering also banning them from morning rush hour, as well as lobbting the government to introduce cycle awareness training to the driving test, including for HGV drivers, and an acceleration in the spending of the £913 million set aside by Mr Johnson for cycling.

Rhiannon Redpath set up the Save Our Cyclists petition on the campaigning website 38 Degrees after six cyclists were killed in London during a two-week period last November.

It called on Mr Johnson and Mr Gilligan to "to vastly accelerate their plan for expenditure of the £913 million cycling fund, by releasing an accurate, costed and time-bound plan for how the fund will address cycle safety over the next 12 months, from the end of December 2013."

Specifically, it asked that "the plan should address what actions are to be taken - and what changes cyclists can expect - on... key areas of concern, over the next 12 months:

The petition was handed to Mr Gilligan outside City Hall in December, with fellow 38 Degrees members, representatives of London Cycling Campaign, the protest group Requiem for Cyclists and London Assembly members from all the main parties in attendance.

Yesterday, people who had signed the petition received an email from Ms Redpath to tell them that she had heard back from Mr Gilligan.

"Getting a response out of Gilligan is a result," she wrote. "He could have brushed it off, ignored us, hoping that we'd forget and go away. The fact that he responded shows that we’re a force to be reckoned with. Our efforts here, and our collective voices are making a difference. We’re making progress.

"Better still, Gilligan has agreed to our demands. This is a really positive step on the way to realising the changes that we want to see for cyclists in London."

Here are the five key action areas demanded in the petition, and a summary of Mr Gilligan's responses:

Cycle Superhighway 2
Work will begin in the second half of this year

HGVs
Proposal to ban lorries without safety equipment to protect cyclists. Looking into banning HGVs during peak times

Training for motorists, including TFL staff
Lobbying Government for changes to DVLA driving tests

Training for cyclists
Plan to spend £60 million on cycle training, being able to offer cycle training to every London child and every adult in London who wants it

Further investment in the cycling fund
No comment.

Ms Redpath said: "That's 4 out of 5. It’s a brilliant victory. Of course, this is not quite the costed, accurate and time-bound plan that we asked for. This plan is lacking in detail and specific time structures, but it is a start, and it is a commitment. We are starting to get some clarity on the changes cyclists can expect to see this year."

The letter from Mr Gilligan began with him saying, "we share all your objectives," and while he said the £913 million investment in cycling over the next decade was unprecedented, he pointed out that the ambition of the Mayor's Vision for Cycling, published last year, meant the programme had needed to be "extensively redesigned."

Some of those changes being highlighted in a road.cc article last weekend detailing amendments to the cycling section of the latest draft to the London Plan.

He also said that since London boroughs, rather than TfL, control "the vast majority of the roads and land which we will need to deliver the programme," their agreement, and that of other landowners such as Network Rail and the Royal Parks, was needed to proceed.

"Both of these things are enormous and time-consuming tasks," he said. "But over the last ten months, significant progress has been made."

Agreeing to accelerate spending on delivery of the programme, he explained: "As we move from a planning, design and consent-gathering phase to a delivery phase, spending will sharply increase. Underspends from the planning phase will not be lost to the programme; they will be carried forward to cover likely overspends in future years.

"However, spending money is only the means. Achieving high-quality cycle facilities is the end. We will not spend money for its own sake, or without an agreed high-quality scheme to spend it on, or for the sake of being seen to spend it quickly. That would invite waste and failure. Many of the problems with previous cycling facilities are because they were done too quickly."

He said that delivery dates, however, were "not entirely within our control," since "they depend on the boroughs and on how easy a ride the schemes have with local communities," but added: "We understand the impatience some feel at the sometimes grinding processes of negotiation, agreement and consultation with others which we must go through. It is, however, the price of living in a democratic society and of making changes to what are busy and contested spaces. It is usually also, in practice, quicker than trying to bulldoze through change, which risks causing backlash and delay."

Regarding four of the five specific areas identified in the petition, he said: "On the specific items you mentioned, CS2 will be comprehensively upgraded with segregation or semi-segregation over its full length and five new cycle-segregated junctions. We will start stakeholder engagement this week, publish detailed designs in June and begin work in the second half of this year.

"On HGVs, we last week strengthened our proposals to charge lorries which were not fitted with safety equipment to protect cyclists. We now propose to ban such lorries entirely. Subject to statutory consultation, the ban would take effect in the second half of this year.

"We are also studying the possibility of banning all lorries in the morning rush hour. We are also studying more targeted time and place-specific restrictions. We are trialling electronic measures, such as proximity sensors and camera systems, to see whether they can overcome drivers’ blind spots. We are strongly lobbying for new EU rules to require redesigned cabs with fewer blind spots.

"We have substantially increased enforcement against HGVs. We have found striking levels of non-compliance with existing regulations and can already see that enforcing greater compliance is making a noticeable difference to cyclist safety.

"We have also substantially increased enforcement against law-breaking by motorists and cyclists, including Operation Safeway last year. This, too, has made and is making a substantial difference to cyclist safety and will be continued, with similar operations to Safeway.

"We are lobbying the Government to require greater cycle awareness and training in the driving (and HGV) tests, but this is not within our power. Over the period of the Business Plan, we will spend £60 million on cycle training, offering it to every London child at some point in their school career and every adult in London who wants it. We are reviewing the cycle training programme to ensure that it is relevant to children’s real needs. We will invest a further £33 million in cycle to school partnerships to create safe cycling routes to schools."

In her email to the petition's supporters, Ms Redpath said: "We are now over 37,000 people. That’s 37,000 bicycles that can hold the Cycling Commissioner to account. From a crisis moment at the end of 2013 that tipped the everyday experiences of cyclists in to mass mobilisation, we have come a long way. With the Mayoral elections coming up next year, major initiatives launching with the London Cycling Campaign and persistent direct action by Stop Killing Cyclists, we still have everything to play for.

"For now, we’ve scored a win. But our work is far from over. Already this year, one cyclist in London has tragically died, and another London cyclist is struggling with severe head injuries after a collision with a car. We’ll need to think about what to do next, where we want to go with this campaign."

That includes recruiting more volunteers, but in conclusion she said: "Before we begin round two, let’s enjoy this victory for a little while. Congratulations!"

18 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Gilligan, a journalist, chucks out some words. Means feck all. Partial victory would be money spent. Real victory would be the same things, plus more, actually delivered across the UK. Chance of that?

posted by oldstrath [80 posts]
13th February 2014 - 18:35

like this
Like (13)

Sorry to be such a cynic. But I just saw a flying pig outside my window.

MikeOnABike's picture

posted by MikeOnABike [22 posts]
13th February 2014 - 19:01

like this
Like (18)

Quote:
Cycle Superhighway 2
Work will begin in the second half of this year

Looking into banning HGVs during peak times.

Further investment in the cycling fund
No comment.

Says it all, until I see a cycle path to the exact same standard as in the Netherlands in London that a young child and older person can feel relaxed on then...

posted by northstar [936 posts]
13th February 2014 - 19:20

like this
Like (19)

There's a lot of rather unnecessary crowing in the article ...Gilligan this and Gilligan that...'brilliant victory...FFS! Are you trying to make the man go back on his word here? It's only a victory for common sense, if anything at all...and as for infantile boasting about 'victories', oh please stop it and get some perspective, and a bit more 'we're all in this together' rather than 'YURRRRRRSSSSSSSS' *fist pump*... ridiculous attitude

posted by garygarry [7 posts]
13th February 2014 - 19:28

like this
Like (13)
seven's picture

posted by seven [71 posts]
13th February 2014 - 19:45

like this
Like (14)

garygarry wrote:
There's a lot of rather unnecessary crowing in the article ...Gilligan this and Gilligan that...'brilliant victory...FFS! Are you trying to make the man go back on his word here? It's only a victory for common sense, if anything at all...and as for infantile boasting about 'victories', oh please stop it and get some perspective, and a bit more 'we're all in this together' rather than 'YURRRRRRSSSSSSSS' *fist pump*... ridiculous attitude

The crowing appears to be quoted though, it's not road.cc's writing, which refers to him as Mr Gilligan.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2607 posts]
13th February 2014 - 21:37

like this
Like (10)

Don't really need to bother with vehicle sensors and that expense...just get cyclists to stop going up the inside of them. Should be common sense! Admittedly I see it happen a fair bit, but if we pass the word around...

http://matmitchellcycling.wordpress.com
The usual new 4th Cat blog with some stuff about Pros too.

mtm_01's picture

posted by mtm_01 [86 posts]
14th February 2014 - 11:04

like this
Like (7)

mtm_01 wrote:
Don't really need to bother with vehicle sensors and that expense...just get cyclists to stop going up the inside of them. Should be common sense! Admittedly I see it happen a fair bit, but if we pass the word around...

And what about when the cyclist is in front and the truck comes up from behind? Do you want to wave your magic wand at that one for us too?

posted by farrell [1015 posts]
14th February 2014 - 11:45

like this
Like (5)

mtm_01 wrote:
...but if we pass the word around...

Of course, why did nobody else think of this? We'll just pass the word around! It'll be just like the Twilight Bark!

Problem solved. No need for safer roads and cycling facilities at all then.

posted by pmanc [96 posts]
14th February 2014 - 12:06

like this
Like (6)

I think the biggest phrase used is "looking into". Which will unfortunately turn out to be "we've looked into it and its not possible".

The lobbying of govt goes on all the time why will this be any different and if it is then when will it be put into statute as this current Parliament is full ?

Training for cyclists
"Plan to spend £60 million on cycle training, being able to offer cycle training to every London child and every adult in London who wants it".
It should be compulsory for all kids in all primary / infant schools so kids learn from an early age.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2429 posts]
14th February 2014 - 12:31

like this
Like (8)

mtm_01 wrote:
Don't really need to bother with vehicle sensors and that expense...just get cyclists to stop going up the inside of them. Should be common sense! Admittedly I see it happen a fair bit, but if we pass the word around...

Maybe if there were bits of the road that were clearly painted to show everyone where cyclists would be safest that would help. Oh...

What is needed is high quality segregated cycle infrastructure through the reallocation of road space to the detriment for motor vehicles. Where you cannot segregate in space (junctions) you segregate in time, again to the detriment of motor vehicles. Put cycling first and more people will ride.

posted by teaboy [121 posts]
14th February 2014 - 13:46

like this
Like (6)

Don't think any amount of vehicle sensors is going to stop that sort of accident.

If the truck hasn't seen the cyclist in the first place, the range would have to be huge on the sensor to pick up the cyclist and give enough braking distance. It'd pick up cars, lamposts, islands all sorts.

A cyclist pulling out of a junction in front of the truck into a queue of traffic into the vision black spot has just put themselves in a place it's unwise to be.

http://matmitchellcycling.wordpress.com
The usual new 4th Cat blog with some stuff about Pros too.

mtm_01's picture

posted by mtm_01 [86 posts]
14th February 2014 - 15:45

like this
Like (5)

Well given the amount of the stupid (or un-educated) of us going up the inside of heavy vehicles, clearly there's a message to get across. Sensors are great but you can assess the risk and not be there in the first place, you're not going to get crushed.

It's a particular bugbear of mine and a dead easy habit to get out of.

http://matmitchellcycling.wordpress.com
The usual new 4th Cat blog with some stuff about Pros too.

mtm_01's picture

posted by mtm_01 [86 posts]
14th February 2014 - 15:53

like this
Like (4)

what about when the truck stops at the first line (behind the "bike box"), but then after 5 seconds waiting at the red light continues to edge forwards, crossing the white line and nudging into the bike box, bit by bit, until they are almost at the second line? i recently saw this, even when the bike box had a cyclist in it (me!).... its not a one off occurance either. fit all the gizmos to a truck if you like, but if the driver is still an impatient wanker it makes no difference!

Feel the fear and do it anyway

hood's picture

posted by hood [99 posts]
14th February 2014 - 15:55

like this
Like (7)

mtm_01 wrote:
Well given the amount of the stupid (or un-educated) of us going up the inside of heavy vehicles, clearly there's a message to get across. Sensors are great but you can assess the risk and not be there in the first place, you're not going to get crushed.

It's a particular bugbear of mine and a dead easy habit to get out of.

I can't possibly think why some cyclists think they should be on the left hand side of the lane. It isn't as if the infrastructure tells them that's where they have to be, or the highway code says that using cycle lanes can make you safer, is it? How many times have you been told by drivers that you have to use the cycle lane? How many ASLs have lead-in lanes (the only legal way to access them) that tell riders to be on the left of all vehicles?

We cannot on one hand tell people to do something whilst on the other telling them to do the exact opposite. Get the infrastructure sorted out properly and the problem goes away. THIS is the message that needs to be put across, and not to other cyclists but to those with the power to actually fix the actual problem - local councils and central government.

posted by teaboy [121 posts]
14th February 2014 - 16:47

like this
Like (8)

GPWM

posted by garygarry [7 posts]
14th February 2014 - 19:27

like this
Like (6)

People filter up the left to get into the cycle box. As it fills up they are left queued up against the kerb on the left of the line of motor vehicles.

Almost everyone I see in the morning filters past the left of lines of stopped traffic at signalised junctions. Or on the right. If they just stop at the back they can go no faster than the cars, which are all holding each other up. Overtaking on the right is even better, but then comes the awkward part when they all move off leaving the cyclist aimed at a traffic island on the right or at the oncoming cars from the other side of the junction.

That's why the Dutch abandoned advance stop boxes about the time they started building segregated lanes.

See the problem? When there is no provision at all as in the majority of UK roads, cyclists have to make do.

I would ban left turns by motor vehicles at signalised junctions. Make them go the long way and make three right turns. To promote cycling we have to make driving less convenient. And at the moment, roads, cycle lanes and pedestrian crossings are only designed for the convenience of motor vehicles.

posted by drmatthewhardy [220 posts]
15th February 2014 - 12:16

like this
Like (4)

Misses a key element, which is actually a statutory obligation on TfL and all roads authorities that they seem to be failing totally to deliver.

Section 39 of the Road Traffic Act requires roads authorities to investigate crashes and act on the results to improve road safety. It is possible to run transport networks and deliver the vision zero of no one being killed in any one year. The railway and air transport operations do this routinely.

How many section 39 reports have you seen?

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [429 posts]
16th February 2014 - 23:57

like this
Like (3)