London Assembly urges Mayor to publish list of London's most dangerous junctions for cyclists

News comes as MP at Ellie Carey vigil urges politicians to work with bodies such as LCC ahead of mayoral elections

by Simon_MacMichael   December 15, 2011  

City hall london.jpg

Yesterday, as the Green Party’s Jenny Jones posed the question of whether cycling in the capital really is becoming safer as Transport for London (TfL) and Mayor Boris Johnson claim, members of the Greater London Assembly called on the Mayor to publish a full list of London's most dangerous junctions and specifically to list any where a cyclist has died. The call was part  the cycle safety motion that was finally debated after being postponed when Conservative Assembly Members walked out last week. As it turned out, the amended motion (below) was unanimously passed by the 20 Assembly Members present.

“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:

  • Provide a comprehensive list of dangerous road junctions across London for cyclists, to include any where a   cycling fatality has happened.
  •  Carry out a full review of each of these junctions, considering any proposals made by cycling and road safety groups on how to redesign these junctions to make them safer.  These reviews should be publically available and include details on why any suggestions have been rejected.
  • Secure an agreement with the Department for Transport to roll out Trixi mirrors at all major junctions across London, to help ensure cyclists are visible to drivers.
  • Look into expanding cycle training across London Boroughs.    
  • Bring forward proposals to improve cycle safety at Bow roundabout, King's Cross and the junction of Tower Bridge Road and Abbey Street where recent cyclist fatalities have occurred.”

The cycling safety motion was debated after a Mayor’s Question Time session in which there was no time to address a number of questions relating to the safety of cyclists that had been tabled; instead, those issues will be addressed in written answers from the mayor, due to be given by next Monday 19 December.

The original motion, proposed by Ms Jones and seconded by Labour’s Val Shawcross, had called for, among other things, “a list of the ten 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.”

The amended motion voted on yesterday (full text at the end of this article) now asks the mayor to produce “a comprehensive list of dangerous road junctions across London for cyclists,” and that reasons should be given as to why any suggestions for road redesign made by cycling or road safety groups were rejected.

It also calls for Trixi mirrors to be rolled out at all major junctions in the city, that the mayor should consider expanding cycle training across all of the capital’s boroughs, and that proposals to improve the safety of cyclists at three junctions where four bike riders have died following collisions with lorries recently should be brought forward.

Ms Jones said: ““There can be no higher political priority than saving lives. I am convinced that a thorough review of safety at junctions that listens and, more importantly, acts on the concerns of cyclists and pedestrians will result in fewer deaths and casualties on our roads.”

With the reaction to the recent deaths of cyclists in London casting a long shadow over Mr Johnson’s promised ‘cycling revolution,’ Ms Johnson said that efforts to get more people on their bikes must be accompanied by initiatives to make conditions safer for them.

“If we are to achieve a truly sustainable cycling revolution in London we must provide safe passage for cyclists across our city,” she said. “Every extra person who decides to get on their bike adds more weight to the responsibility of London's politicians and transport bosses to make cycle safety an urgent priority.”

The amended motion had been proposed by the Liberal Democrats, whose leader in the Assembly, Caroline Pidgeon, said: “Every death on our roads is a tragedy for the families concerned, but one which could be avoided by designing a better junction is a stain on our transport system. We owe it to all Londoners to ensure every sinew is strained to make cycling in London as safe and pleasant a way to travel as it can and should be.”

Initially, the Conservative Assembly Members had given the impression that they intended to oppose the motion, which Andrew Boff described as “reactionary” and he warned that it would send the signal out that cycling on the city‘s streets was not safe. 

He also said that he supported Mr Johnson and TfL’s aims of trying to smooth traffic flow, saying that it actually made conditions better for cyclists by reducing causing fewer stops and starts at junctions.

Yesterday evening, a few hundred metres from City Hall, a candlelit vigil was held in memory of 22-year-old Ellie Carey, who was killed a fortnight ago at the junction of Tower Bridge Road and Abbey Street in Bermondsey, reports the London SE1 website.

Ms Pidgeon and Ms Jones joined family and friends of the young woman, with the assembled crowd listening to an address from local MP, Simon Hughes, who said that politicians from across the spectrum needed to work alongside groups such as the London Cycling Campaign to make sure that the issue received prominence during campaigning for next year’s mayoral elections.

"We have had far too many unnecessary cyclists' deaths in London," Mr Hughes said.

"Many of us cycle often and we know London needs to be safer.

"There's plenty of wisdom around us here; there's plenty of commitment. And now there's both emotion and passion – and love and concern as well," he continued.

"We cannot have more years in this capital city where so many young people have their lives ended – not by what they do but by what other people do which impacts on them."

6 user comments

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"There can be no higher political priority than saving lives."

Ms Jones has my vote.

"He also said that he supported Mr Johnson and TfL’s aims of trying to smooth traffic flow, saying that it actually made conditions better for cyclists by reducing causing fewer stops and starts at junctions."

Is this right? Can Mr Boff back that up? Sounds like nonsense to me.

posted by Coleman [329 posts]
15th December 2011 - 13:24

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Coleman wrote:
"...saying that it actually made conditions better for cyclists by reducing causing fewer stops and starts at junctions."

Is this right? Can Mr Boff back that up? Sounds like nonsense to me.

I don't know about solid facts & figures - but from a purely personal (anecdotal) level, I always feel more at risk on my commute through Glasgow if there are a lot of stopping junctions.

Drivers seem to have an insane need to reach the lights before cyclists - completely ignoring the fact there is an ASL - and will often overtake very dangerously to achieve it.

posted by mad_scot_rider [544 posts]
15th December 2011 - 13:49

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This is a massive step forward!

However, I'm slightly concerned by the current focus on junctions. I'm aware that the vast majority of fatalities this year have happened at junctions, but on my commute by far the most worrying thing is cars overtaking within inches at 50mph (on residential 20/30mph streets), or doing the 'half overtake' (i.e., overtaking you, realising there isn't space between you and the car in front, and then just drifting across to the left expecting you to brake and let them back in...), or people pulling out of side roads - either SMIDSY or SMIDGAF.

You just need to look on youtube to find out how prevalent these incidents are... On average, these things happen about 4 times each way on my 14 mile commute in north London.

Deaths are, thankfully, still quite rare, and more rare (per km) than for motorcyclists for instance. I'm not saying that we don't need to try to reduce deaths - we absolutely should - but we must also keep an eye on why there are so many major and minor injuries caused by poor driving/riding (exacerbated by car-centric road design)... I wonder if it is this which reduces people's willingness to cycle than the thankfully small number of deaths? And, afterall, on a bike the difference between a near miss and death can be an inch.

The deaths are the tragic tip of an iceberg of accidents driven by compromised road design, a lack of driver/cyclist education, and a lack of consideration and understanding of fellow road users...

Just my 2c.

But the bigger message is, however, that this feels like a major step forward - thank you to Jenny, Brian etc. for their passion and tenacity.

posted by jonboy0011 [5 posts]
15th December 2011 - 15:02

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jonboy0011 wrote:
Deaths are, thankfully, still quite rare, and more rare (per km) than for motorcyclists for instance. I'm not saying that we don't need to try to reduce deaths - we absolutely should - but we must also keep an eye on why there are so many major and minor injuries caused by poor driving/riding (exacerbated by car-centric road design)... I wonder if it is this which reduces people's willingness to cycle than the thankfully small number of deaths?

Fully agree with this. The problems caused by poor driving and riding are, I find, far more prevalent than those caused by poor junction design - in fact, if people drove (and, to be fair, rode) more carefully through even the worst junctions they could be a lot safer. It seems that both TfL and London's road users generally have a dangerous focus on speed over safety.

posted by step-hent [671 posts]
15th December 2011 - 17:22

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You know they could do both - make the dangerous junctions safer and crack down on dangerous road users.

The changes at Blackfriars have made the junction more dangerous for cyclists. This and many other junctions in London should be changed.

posted by Coleman [329 posts]
15th December 2011 - 17:59

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If you want to cut deaths in London, forget the junctions and do something about the lorries. If they were banned from London you would halve cyclist deaths overnight and there must be some answer that achieves the same end without going so far as to ban them. London operating licenses for example that can be removed for bad driver/operator behaviour.

But if they are focussing on junctions why is Blackfriars not listed there. Just because there hasn't been a death with the yet to be completed new scheme it doesn't mean its safe.

posted by Tony [66 posts]
16th December 2011 - 20:56

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