Cyclist killed on stretch of Clapham cycle route identified as dangerous in 2008

The death of a cyclist in Clapham has prompted campaigners to ask why a dangerous cycle route wasn't improved when major problems with the road layout had already been identified by Transport for London.

A 49-year-old female cyclist died instantly after being hit by van on Cavendish Road at around 11am on Sunday 31 July 2011.

An inspection ride that took place in 2008, attended by local London Cycling Campaign members, identified the section of London Cycle Network+ Route 5 (LCN+ 5) between Poynders Road and Abbeville Road as a major problem.

A full review "to determine how the junction should be redesigned" was recommended (CRISP, 24 June 2008).

LCC's Mike Cavenett lives nearby: "This is a junction I avoid because it includes dangerous right turns in both directions. It's long needed a major redesign to reduce danger for cyclists."

The London Cycle Network+ was a project to create a 400-mile citywide network of safe cycle routes.

It was only around 60% finished when cut by Mayor Boris Johnson in 2008, with the incomplete 40% comprising a large number of major barriers to safe cycling.

Anyone with information about the fatal crash should contact the police via AskLambethBoroughCommander@met.police.uk or call 101.

Replies

  • By Austen at 08:42pm 05 Aug 2011

It isn't clear to me where exactly Johannah Bailey died tragically on this stretch of road and whether its design was a key factor - but if it was on the part identified in the TfL report and the layout was a major cause then I wonder whether TfL's inaction could result in key staff facing Corporate Manslaughter charges.

 

Does anyone know the answer to this?

 

  • By carolyn at 08:29am 06 Aug 2011
I cycle this route, and although not sure where the fatallity happened, have found it  dangerous when turning right into Abbeville Road, as there is a nasty bend in Cavendish road that limits the view of on coming traffic, which often travels at speed. 
I agree with Austen, TFL should be held responsible for not making all road layouts safer and stop trying to smooth out traffic flow! 

It's not clear where Johannah Bailey died. There are markings on the road, but I wouldn't want to speculate from them what happenend.

@Carolyn The report in 2008 recommended putting a traffic island on the bend near Abbeville Road to protect cyclists waiting there to take a right turn.

Coming south, there is also a very dangerous manoeuvre, where cyclists going straight on along Cavendish Road have to navigate sometimes VERY fast-moving traffic turning left into Poynders Road. If the lights there are green, it's very unpleasant, and observing it during rush hour last week I remembered clearly why I don't go near this place if I can help it.

There is an off-road cycle track between Abbeville Road and Cavendish Road but I noted that a lot of southbound cycle traffic doesn't come from Abbeville Road, with most of it coming around the A205, from where you're unlikely to see the off-road track.

It would also significantly slow you down if you tried to use it, and possibly put you in conflict with cars exiting Abbeville Road.

In short, this short section of LCN+ 5 is a very dangerous mess that no-one's been prepared to fix.

The truth is there are hundreds of sections of LCN+ route like this that have been surveyed, criticised, but not improved. I don't know enough about the law to know whether that makes TfL or the relevant borough (if it's the latter's road) responsible.

Linda, the cyclist who witnessed the aftermath of Johannah Bailey's fatal crash on Cavendish rd. and posted information on the web has begun a campaign for improvements to the cycle provision here.

She suggested that an off carriageway cycle track would improve contditions. She was astounded to be told that a track already existed!  The routeing is obscure, the surface is not well marked and the signposting is misleading. All this was noted in the 2008 CRISP study mentioned above. She and 80% of the cyclists using the route had no idea that an alternative was available.

She has been in touch with local councillors and Caroline Pidgeon, chair of the London Assembly transport committee.   They have heard from Transport for London who are not planning to do anything as there have not been enough crashes on Cavendish road in the last 3 years. The TfL letter concludes:

"...We found that in this section of Cavendish Road there had been 11 collisions in the last three years (up to 30 April 2011; collision data is supplied to us by the Police, and this is the most recent data available).  None of these collisions involved cyclists and two resulted in serious injury.  This particular section carries a large volume of traffic, more so in fact than the majority of other A roads in the borough.  Given the volume of traffic and when compared to other, similar roads there have been a relative low number of collisions on this section of Cavendish Road.  As I said, TfL is data led in its approach to progressing schemes on the Transport for London Road Network.  We could not progress a safety scheme at a location at which there had been fewer collisions than at other areas.  For this reason, we have no plans to progress a scheme at this section.  I appreciate that this is a sensitive issue, and would be happy to discuss further..."

 If you cycle this route regularly and would like to help with the campaign for improvements please contact me at info@lcc.org.uk         

This post was edited by charlie@lcc at 04:00pm 10 Aug 2011.

  • By Jim at 04:34pm 10 Aug 2011

I think that response just about sums up how totally wrongheaded TfL's approach to cycling and safety is. They quite openly say that they will not consider trying to make a road safer for cyclists until a sufficient number of them are killed or injured on it. The obvious problem with this is that people tend to avoid cycling on a road if it seems unsafe or threatening, but by TfL's logic a road with no cyclists must be a road that is perfectly safe to cycle on. 

As long as this attitude prevails we will never get anywhere because most people will not want to cycle on most roads. If TfL were actually interested in promoting cycling they would be seeking to proactively redesign roads to make them safe and attractive. I hope LCC will try to push them in this direction.

TfL's behaviour leading up to this incident seems to be very similar to that which led to Paula Jurek's recent death on Camden Road: http://www.camdencyclists.org.uk/newsitems/ccc/camden-road-danger

This post was edited by George Coulouris at 05:53pm 10 Aug 2011.

  • By Austen at 08:04pm 10 Aug 2011

This content was deleted by Austen at 06:58am 11 Aug 2011.

  • By gegi at 06:59am 15 Aug 2011

I don't know the location, but TfL's reasoning that there haven't been enough crashes is all too familiar. This logic is just sickeningly cynical. It's another issue where decisions are made purely with motorists in mind, where it may be ok to observe a few minor crashes first. For unprotected road users there are no minor crashes.

I can't understand why improving streets for walking and cycling can't be a desirable taeget in itself without the need to wait for 'enough' casualties first.

This content was deleted by London Cycling Campaign at 11:39am 24 Aug 2012.

The response by Austen is interesting. And needs further investigation. If we could force local authorities and employers to take legal repsonsibility for their (in)action then we might start to make changes. But this will cost (a lot) of money to take the necessary legal advice and action - even if it fails in the early days. For instance, a case against TfL might be put tgether but also against the employers of the van driver whose company is not revealed here. 

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