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London cyclist deaths and injuries up as TfL commissioner Peter Hendy suggests flashing lights for all cyclists

"Worrying gap between Mayoral rhetoric and reality" says London Assembly member...

A Transport for London report indicates that the capital became a more dangerous place to be a vulnerable road user in 2012, but Transport for London commissioner Peter Hendy thinks Boris Bike-style flashing lights will protect cyclists.

Transport for London will examine the latest report on London transport safety on November 6. The report contains some disturbing figures if you’re a cyclist, pedestrian or other vulnerable road user.

Road fatalities in London fell from 159 to 134 between 2011 and 2012, but because the number of deaths is small, year-on-year variations are not considered to be a useful indicator of trends. Instead, TfL uses the number of deaths or serious injuries (KSI).

There were 3,018 KSI incidents in London in 2012, up 8 percent from 2,805 in 2011.

Pedestrian and cyclist KSIs make up a substantial part of that increase. Pedestrian KSIs rose 15 percent and cyclist KSIs were up 18 percent.

It’s not all bad news. All London KSIs are down 17 percent compared to the 2005-9 average that TfL uses as a baseline, and collisions were down 2 percent from 2011. But it’s perhaps even more worrying that 2012 didn’t follow the overall trend despite fewer collisions.

Clearly something needs to change in London to protect vulnerable road users.

Sir Peter Hendy, the Commissioner of Transport for London was interviewed by LBC radio’s Nick Ferrari this morning and the discussion turned to the safety record of London’s Boris Bikes.

Sir Peter said: “I think the interesting thing is the safety record of the Barclays cycle hire bikes is very, very good and I'll tell you why. Because they're big, they're quite slow and they've all got lights on the front and the back and the lights flash all the time – and actually, I wish every cyclist in London had decent lights on the front and the back.”

According to RoSPA, around 80 percent of cycling accidents occur during daylight.

On the Mayorwatch website, London Assembly Member Darren Johnson called on TfL’s board members to ask “serious questions about why vulnerable road users have been so badly affected in recent years” at next week’s meeting.

Mr Johnson said the TfL report demonstrated a “worrying gap between Mayoral rhetoric which plays down the dangers on our roads, and the reality of more pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists being killed or seriously injured.”

He said to improve the situation it was necessary for the the mayor to recognise “what the problems are and what part his policies have played in the rise in the numbers killed or seriously injured.”

The TfL board will examine the report at a meeting at City Hall on November 6 at 10 am. The meeting is open to the public.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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allez neg | 10 years ago

Lots of people drive like arseholes in london, many people cycle like arseholes in london, traffic density is high and there are many people who are from countries and cultures where driving tests are of a lower standard and/or where attitudes to road safety are different.

I guess he's seen the stats and as an official, he's expected to ''say something''

jacknorell replied to allez neg | 10 years ago
allez neg wrote:

"many people who are from countries and cultures where driving tests are of a lower standard and/or where attitudes to road safety are different. ''

I seriously haven't seen any difference in attitudes based on nationality, what a bullshit statement.

Now, middle-aged black cab drivers on the other hand...

allez neg replied to jacknorell | 10 years ago

Seems a bit impolite and rude to call it a bullshit statement purely because you may not agree with it, but no hum I'm new here and maybe its the norm. Hope not.

Having driven abroad ( albeit not particularly extensively, just various bits of Greece and SA) I'd say that their driving is different to the driving I tended to see in my bit of the UK.

Like many other aspects of multiculturism I can't help but think that different attitudes to road use and vehicle safety remain with people when they come to another country.

squired | 10 years ago

What is more worrying for me is the increase in pedestrian KSIs. Should they be getting flashing lights too? The simple fact is that a double digit percentage increase in KSIs for both cyclists and pedestrians shows that something must be done to police the roads better and clamp down on dangerous drivers. Getting daytime lights on cyclists is unlikely to make a huge difference as that is not the cause of the problems. If all bikes had flashing lights all the time car users would soon stop paying attention to them, much in the same way that fluorescent clothing makes very little difference now so many people wear it on bikes.

a.jumper | 10 years ago

What a flashing idiot!

Give us space for cycling and give it now!

step-hent | 10 years ago

The rise in KSIs for cyclists seems to be based on absolute numbers, rather than as a proportion of total journeys or miles travelled. We keep being told that cycling participation in London is increasing (and it certainly seems that way out on the road). So is it possible that the rise is simply related to the rise in the numbers of cyclists out there?

northstar | 10 years ago

Another distraction tactic it seems?

Build the exact same paths as they have in the Netherlands and a lot, close to all problems will be solved.

Joeinpoole | 10 years ago

I think flashing lights are a far more effective safety measure than helmets (at least Hendy didn't go down the 'mandatory helmet' route).

If a driver actually sees you then you shouldn't need the helmet to assist you in the collision ... because there shouldn't be a collision.

zanf | 10 years ago

Flashing lights certainly will help with reducing incidents that are a direct result of drivers not seeing cyclists because of saccadic masking but considering Hendy's incorrect and frankly, irreconcilably stupid comment after the inquest into Brian Dorlings death, I wouldn't really expect him to say anything of any value, or beneficial consequence to all Londoners.

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