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Boris Johnson aims to slash London road casualties by half in next 5 years

Number of bike riders killed in collisions involving large vehicles remains a huge concern, admits TfL

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has pledged to cut the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) on London’s roads by more than 50 per cent by 2020. With bike riders the second most vulnerable group of road users in the capital after pedestrians, measures to improve the safety of the city’s cyclists are at the forefront of his plans to reduce casualties.

According to road casualty figures published by Transport for London (TfL) for 2014 this week, KSIs among the city’s road users fell by 7 per cent compared to 2014, with a 12 per cent fall in the number of cyclists among those.

Last year, 13 cyclists were killed in London, while 419 were seriously injured. Those figures are higher than the numbers recorded from 2004-06, but given the rise of cycling in the city over the past decade, TfL insisted last week that the casualty rate per distance cycled is the lowest since records began.

But TfL said a particular area of concern remained the number of fatal incidents involving cyclists and large vehicles such as lorries, coaches and buses.

It said: “Of the 13 cyclist fatalities in 2014, five involved HGVs or commercial vehicles and all six to date in 2015 have also involved this type of vehicle.

“To help address this, a new campaign will be launched this summer to reiterate the warning for both drivers and cyclists of the risks of blind spots around large vehicles.”

It added: “TfL and London boroughs will be introducing the Safer Lorry Scheme from 1 September 2015, which will require all lorries entering the capital to be fitted with basic safety equipment including sideguards and mirrors.”

According to TfL, measures that will help meet that target include:

Major infrastructure improvements as part of the Mayor's £4bn Road Modernisation Plan, including safer junctions and extensive new segregated and partially-segregated cycle lanes

Road safety and cycle training across all 33 London Boroughs

Wide ranging marketing campaigns that target the main causes of death and serious injury on London's roads

Road safety operations with the Metropolitan Police Service Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC), where hundreds of officers are deployed to junctions across London to advise road users and enforce the rules of the road

Targeting the most dangerous commercial vehicles through the Industrial HGV Task Force, funded by TfL and the Department for Transport (DfT). The Task Force has already conducted over 200 roadside operations, stopped over 3,000 vehicles, and seized around 50 dangerous vehicles

Improving freight safety with the design of safer urban construction vehicles, reducing deadly blind-spots and improving drivers' direct vision to give maximum visibility of vulnerable road users

Earlier this year around a dozen vehicles with hugely reduced blind-spots were exhibited in London and are now being trialled by a range of companies.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: “Keeping people safe on our roads is one of the most important responsibilities local government has.

“Each death and injury brings with it significant human and economic costs and it is pleasing to see the capital taking the lead in reducing these.

“Targets for casualty reduction help focus people's minds on what needs to be done and in London the goals are backed by a concrete action plan.

“The marked fall in casualties in the capital is in large part a result of the effort TfL and the boroughs have put in working across organisational boundaries, and that must continue in order to achieve further reductions.

“In what is inevitably a crowded and congested city we particularly welcome TfL's work on reminding different groups of road users of their responsibilities to others.

“London faces the same financial pressures as the rest of the country and it is right that road safety interventions focus on those areas where there is the biggest need and largest benefit to be gained,” he added.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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