Mayor of London Boris Johnson has claimed that there has been a “significant drop” in the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured (KSI) in the capital during 2013. However, the campaign group Stop Killing Cyclists says the mayor needs to do more to ensure traffic laws are enforced against dirvers who break them.
While the annual report from Transport for London on collisions and casualties on London’s roads is not due to be published until September, Mr Johnson says the number of cyclists seriously injured on the city’s streets was 475 last year, reports ITV.com.
That represents a 27.7 per cent decline on the 657 cyclists who suffered serious injuries in London during 2012, and is also 14.4 per cent down on the 2011 figure of 555.
It is 17.6 per cent higher than the 2005-09 annual average of 404, although that needs to be set against the background of a strong increase in cycling in London over the past decade.
The number of deaths remained unchanged at 14 in both 2012 and 2013, when six riders died in a two-week spell in November. In 2011, there were 16 cyclist fatalities in London.
According to ITV’s Simon Harris, who tweeted a picture of the mayor, Mr Johnson was speaking at the launch of a new campaign targeting law-breaking motorists and bike riders.
— Simon Harris (@simonharrisitv) May 27, 2014
In January, the Metropolitan Police revealed that its Operation Safeway campaign, launched last year, had resulted in more than 14,000 road users, three in ten of them cyclists, being fined or summonsed for a variety of offences. Our report has a detailed breakdown of the type of offences involved.
Mr Johnson said today: “Whilst these new figures are encouraging and a real move in the right direction one death or serious injury is one too many. That is why I am building new, protected cycle routes and better junctions, the first of which will be delivered this year.
“It is why I intend to ban all lorries not fitted with cyclist safety equipment from London. It's why we are investing the thick end of £1 billion on cycle safety and infrastructure.”
Andrew Gilligan, London’s cycling commissioner, commented: "If we are to improve safety still further, we need to be honest with ourselves about why accidents happen and why they have come down so much.
"We need to build safer roads, and the introduction of more segregated infrastructure can improve things still further, but as coroners have emphasised in recent inquest verdicts, people also have a responsibility to use those roads safely."
That is an allusion to inquests into deaths such as that of Khalid al-Hashimi last November, who Poplar Coroner's Court heard had nearly twice the legal driving limit of blood alcohol when he was killed after riding in front of a bus.
The campaign group Stop Killing Cyclists accused Mr Johnson staging “yet another photo-opportunity stunt” and urged him “to instead urgently tackle the real crises, failures and bias in London’s Road Safety Enforcement.”
Its co-founder, Donnachadh McCarthy, said: “The mayor rather than staging photo-stunts should sort out the mess his Traffic Enforcement schemes are in. Police resources should be targeted at the truly alarming levels of lethal trucks being driven on London’s roads.
“Whilst he fiddles, cyclist and pedestrian lives continue to be endangered by dangerous trucks being driven illegally on London’s roads and children are forced into the path of double-decker buses by inconsiderate drivers parked on un-enforced cycle-lanes.
“We recognise that safety enforcement should be targeted at all road users including cyclists, but it must be targeted in proportion to the danger caused and in proportion to numbers using our streets.
“Operation Safeway failed on both counts and the mayor and Metropolitan Police must ensure future operations do not mimic this flawed approach,” he added.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.