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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 Farelly, 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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