London Assembly calls on Boris to sort out Cycle Superhighway safety issues as soon as possible

Motion applauded new segregated lanes but called for action on 'blue painted lines' across rest of network

by Sarah Barth   November 9, 2013  

Boris Johnson on CS2 extension Nov 2013 (source MayorofLondon on Twitter)

The London Assembly has unanimously voted in support of a motion calling on Mayor Boris Johnson to take swift action to make cycle routes in London as safe as possible, including responding fully to criticisms made during the inquests into the deaths of cyclists Brian Dorling and Philippine de Gerin-Ricard.

Following criticism from police and other witnesses, Coroner Mary Hassell expressed concerns over the safety of Cycle Superhighway 2 in a Prevention of Future Deaths report, which stated that she felt “there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken”.

The report also stated: “Cyclists wrongly assume (as Mr Dorling may have done) that they have priority, and are lulled into a false sense of security”.

We reported the findings of the report in full here.

The motion, proposed by Caroline Pidgeon AM, comes as the Mayor announced a full review of the capital’s cycle superhighways at the launch of a segregated extension section of Cycle Superhighway 2.

The new section of CS2, between Bow and Stratford, has just under 2 miles of new cycle track, almost entirely physically separated from traffic, along with “bus stop bypasses” to protect cyclists.

The Assembly decided to focus on three main concerns highlighted by the Coroner:

  • confusion over the status of un-bordered blue strips of paint forming part of Cycle Superhighway 2
  • need for more education for road users about cycling
  • difficulties faced by those cycling around the Whitechapel High Street and Commercial Street junction on Cycle Superhighway 2

Caroline Pidgeon said: “Recent moves by the Mayor to introduce segregated lanes for cyclists are welcome, but it is clear that many London cyclists do not feel safe and the blue painted lanes on traffic-heavy cycle superhighways can give a false sense of security.

“The recent Coroner’s report into the tragic deaths of Brian Dorling and Philippine de Gerin-Ricard highlights future risks to life unless action is taken by the Mayor and Transport for London.

“We’re concerned to see that the number of collisions have increased significantly – those causing death or serious injury rose by 18 per cent between 2011 and 2012.

“If the Mayor wants to see a true “cycling revolution”, he must urgently reflect on the design and layout of cycle superhighways to ensure cyclists can get around London without putting their lives at risk.”

John Biggs AM, who amended the motion, said: “We welcome the Mayor’s announcement today to review safety on his cycle superhighways, but swift action – as requested in the recent Coroner’s report – is needed to ensure London roads are made safer for all.

“The Mayor has boasted of his significant cycling budget, so it is vital he uses this funding sensibly to improve cycling provision on the capital’s roads, including reviewing cycle superhighways safety, segregating vehicles and bikes where appropriate and educating road users.”

The full text of the motion agreed at today’s meeting reads as follows:

This Assembly notes that inquests into the deaths of cyclists Brian Dorling and Philippine de Gerin-Ricard, have reported. The Assembly sends its condolences to their families and friends following this tragic loss of life.

The Assembly notes with concern the criticisms made at the inquests of design and layout of Cycle Superhighway 2 by police and other witnesses who had advised Transport for London against parts of the road layouts on the first Cycle Superhighways.

The Assembly also notes the formal “Regulation 28” report from Senior Coroner Mary Hassell entitled “Prevention of Future Deaths”, which says in part, “During the course of the inquest the evidence revealed matters giving rise to concern. In my opinion, there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken.

In particular the Assembly notes the three areas highlighted in the report: confusion over the status of un-bordered blue strips of paint forming part of Cycle Superhighway 2; the need for more education for road users about cycling; and the difficulties faced by those cycling around the Whitechapel High Street and Commercial Street junction on Cycle Superhighway 2.

Following the Mayor’s announcement today (06.11.13) that his Cycle Superhighways will be reviewed, this Assembly calls on the Mayor to take urgent action to ensure these routes are made as safe as possible for cyclists, taking fully in to account the criticisms made during the inquest and in the Coroner’s report.

Further, recognising the extensive cross-party work that has been carried out on this important issue to Londoners, this Assembly requests that the matter be considered in detail by the London Assembly’s Transport Committee at its 10 December meeting, which will be attended by the Mayor’s ‘cycling tsar’, Andrew Gilligan.

This Assembly is disturbed to receive reports that another cyclist has been killed in collision with a HGV on Cycle Superhighway 2 on the night of 5 November 2013. The Assembly records its condolences to the family and friends of the cyclist and calls on the Mayor to recognise the urgency needed to review this and other dangerous routes in London.