"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.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.