Update: Another tragedy. Cycling and walking schemes only way forward says LCC, following series of fatalities

Just two days after the blog below was written we learned, with great sadness, of yet another cycling fatality on London's roads in the same week. In this case the death took place on the North Woolwich Road and involved a lorry. This brings the number of cycling deaths this year to three and the number of pedestrian deaths to eight. This new tragedy reinforces the statement made by Dr Ashok Sinha LCC's CEO: 

“Too many people die in collisions with motor vehicles when cycling or walking on London’s streets and our thoughts are with the bereaved. Urgently accelerating programmes to make cycling and walking safer are the only solution. We look to the Mayor, the boroughs and TfL to ensure such tragedies are a thing of the past so that everyone, whatever their age or ability, feels able to walk and cycle safely.”

Monday morning saw three fatalities on London’s roads within hours of each other – three sets of families and friends devastated by these tragic collisions.

In the early hours of the morning, Anita Szucs, 30, was killed cycling home from work in a hit and run collision such that her bike was “sliced in two”, on Bounces Road, Enfield. Hours later in the morning rush, Karla Roan, a second woman, also cycling, aged 32, was hit by a coach in Whitechapel High Street. Less than a quarter of an hour later, an 80-year-old man, a pedestrian, was killed by a tipper truck on the A13 Commercial Road nearby.

These collisions underline the need for the Mayor and boroughs to urgently prioritise the highest-quality cycling and walking infrastructure to protect those most at risk of death and serious injury on our roads.

The Mayor has promised to triple the extent of high-quality cycle tracks on main roads; demonstrated already to massively boost cycling numbers, these tracks do not impact heavily on congestion where designed well. These should form a network to enable far more direct end-to-end cycle journeys. Also, vitally, these should include junctions designed to be safe and feel safe for cycling and walking, protecting those from motor vehicle turning movements across them. Not all current Cycle Superhighways feature such junction designs.

As well as cycle tracks with better junctions, one of the other key pieces of cycling and walking infrastructure are low-traffic residential neighbourhoods where through traffic is removed – these are already evident all over London and not only enable safer and safer-feeling cycling networks for very low cost, they also are shown to boost walking rates and community cohesion and interaction, without causing much extra congestion.

The Mayor, TfL and the boroughs must embrace these ideas and more if they want London to keep moving. TfL estimates the vast majority (75%) of congestion is caused by “excess traffic”, while collisions account for 9% of congestion and road and street works such as the construction of new cycling schemes accounts for just 7%. The only way to deal with congestion in London, and attendant inactivity and pollution health issues, in a growing city, is more cycling and walking. The Mayor, TfL and the boroughs must be bold and embrace cycling and walking, while being clear in rejecting the motoring agenda in London.

Another of the Mayor's pre-election promises was to make safer lorries the norm on London's streets. Of the four fatal collissions this week two involved lorries  and one involved a coach. LCC has welcomed the Mayor's consultation on reducing the blind spots in HGVs and his plans to improve bus safety and  we trust that resulting programmes will help cut the number of tragic incidents on our roads