London Cycling Campaign (LCC) has unveiled a graphic of how Bow Roundabout, where two cyclists have died in recent weeks, could have looked if Transport for London (TfL) had taken into account LCC’s views and those of a firm of consultants it had itself engaged. Meanwhile a local charity that advises youngsters to steer clear of the roundabout while cycling is now teaching them how to negotiate it safely if they have no other choice.
Brian Dorling, aged 58, was killed on the morning of 24 October as he headed to work at the Olympic Park, while 34-year-old Bow resident Svitlana Tereschenko lost her life on a different part of the interchange on the evening of 11 November. Tipper lorries were involved in both fatalities.
In the wake of Ms Tereschenko’s death, it was revealed that recommendations contained in a report commissioned by TfL prior to the installation of Barclays Cycle Superhighway CS7, which finishes at Bow roundabout, had been ignored, as had safety concerns expressed by LCC.
At a meeting with the Dorling family earlier this week, Mr Johnson, who has revealed that Bow is the first junction to be assessed in a review he has ordered, said that he had been unaware of the report’s existence.
Safety features included in the design produced by LCC include traffic lights at all pedestrian and cycle crossings, off-carriageway bike lanes, wider pavements with a smaller roundabout, and requiring motor vehicles to execute sharper turns, thereby reducing their speed.
The mock-up doesn’t show the Bow flyover, which would run bottom left to top right, presumably because doing so would obscure the view of the featured proposals on the roundabout itself, nor the A102 which runs underneath.
According to LCC chief executive Ashok Sinha, “Our diagram shows there’s space for providing both cycle tracks and pedestrian crossings at Bow.
“The Mayor must explain to Londoners why these cost-effective safety measures at Bow were rejected resulting in two avoidable cyclist deaths.”
Meanwhile, an East London-based charity that won a London Cycling Award last year for its Re-cycle project working with young people in Tower Hamlets, says it has always warned the disadvantaged youths aged 12-22 it works with to steer clear of the roundabout when on their bikes.
Poplar-based Streets of Growth acknowledges though that for some, the roundabout is unavoidable, and is therefore now giving specific advice on how they should deal with it on their bikes if they have no other choice but to use it.
Darren Way, founder of the charity, told the East London Advertiser: “That roundabout has always been dangerous.”
“When I was a kid it was known as the risk and run. From day one the whole set-up there was dreadful.
“It’s so bad we have to say to our young people don’t cycle there. I think the blue lines have simply done one thing – give cyclists a false sense of safety and priority.”
Politicians, too are keeping the issue of the safety of cyclists high on the agenda. London Assembly members Jenny Jones of the Green Party and Labour’s Val Shawcross have tabled a motion for 7 December which urges Mr Johnson to draw up a list of junctions where cyclists have been killed over the past three years.
It also calls upon him to provide an explanation of why any proposed safety measures at such locations, such as at Kings Cross where student Min Joo Lee died underneath the wheels of a lorry last month, were not put in place.
The motion reads:
Safety of cyclists on London’s road network
Proposer: Jenny Jones
Seconder: Valerie Shawcross
This Assembly deeply regrets the deaths of cyclists on London's road network and wishes to express its condolences for the loss felt by their relatives and friends.
We are concerned that some cyclist deaths and injuries could have been avoided if the road network designs for the locations where these deaths and injuries occurred had been safer.
We therefore call on the Mayor and Transport for London to:
- produce a list of the 10 most dangerous locations for cyclists on the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN) and all locations in London where a cyclist has died in the last three years;
- report on any proposals that were put forward by cycling and road safety groups as part of official consultation processes for redesigning roads at those locations; and
- provide the reasons why such proposals were rejected.
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.