Mayor ignores calls for immediate action at Bow roundabout with no action on promised safety review

Three weeks after promising a review of cyclist safety at Bow roundabout Mayor Boris Johnson still hasn't set a timetable for it to report, despite families and campaigners calling for urgent action. 

BBC London Transport Editor Tom Edwards tweeted today:

"Tfl say no date yet for when it will publish the safety review of cycling superhighways at Bow roundabout where 2 cyclists have died."

The news comes on the day that Conservative assembly members walked out of a key debate on cyclist safety, prompted by the two recent fatalities at Bow roundabout.

London Assembly member John Biggs says the Mayor’s officials made a commitment to him to deliver the report on Bow over a week ago.

In addition to the Bow roundabout review, the Mayor has formally asked Transport for London to review junctions on the Cycle Superhighways, and at all planned major traffic schemes.

The London Cycling Campaign and family members of Brian Dorling, the cyclist killed at Bow roundabout on 24 October 2011, have called for immediate action.

LCC's Mike Cavenett said, "The Mayor has failed to get a grip of this situation, and cyclist lives are still at risk.

"We're urging all Londoners to email the mayor, calling on him to make Bow safe."


Maybe the Mayor should wait to find out what actaully happened in the collisions in question rather than just have a knee jerk reaction that doesn't take any account of whether it was caused by a bad driver?

  • By paul at 9:40pm 2 December 2011

Sorry GiantKona - just how are you intending to eliminate all bad drivers ? Given that many drivers (and a few cyclists ) are idiots we need junctions made idiot proof.

  • By Austen at 11:48am 3 December 2011

GiantKona, your suggestion that "the Mayor should wait to find out what actaully happened in the collisions in question" ignores the facts that LCC and others had identified that this junction design was unsafe before it was actually installed, and as recent events have show, it is indeed unsafe, fatally so.

While it is important to get the right solution(s),  doing nothing while waiting for the results of two inquests and internal inquiries seems to indicate a degree of indifference and recklessness to road safety.

In the thread concerning the Bermondsey death on Friday 2 November we learn that "in response to worries from residents and councillors in Bermondsey, Mayor Boris Johnson said in March 2011 that he intended commissioning a study into the safety of vulnerable road users at the junction.  Eight months later, there’s no indication this investigation has reported its results or even taken place."

We shouldn't let the unwillingness or inability of some TfL staff to act quickly lead to more avoidable fatalities and serious injuries.






Hi Austen, I fail to see how some toucan crossings would have prevented an HGV turning left on a cyclist who would not have used the toucan crossings?

  • By Austen at 9:39pm 4 December 2011

GiantKona, How do you know that the cyclists killed here would not have used toucan crossings, had they been installed?  Have you an alternative solution in mind?

  • By Cyklops at 3:14am 5 December 2011

My sincere sympathies.

Too much emphasis on BLAME and not enough education about wearing bright colours.

DULL red is not a bright colour. A vest is not enough.

My own statistical analysis reveals FE MALE cyclists not wearing BRIGHT COLOURS.

IRRESPONSIBLE helmet manufacturers should make helmets in either WHITE,

flourescent YELLOW or flourescent ORANGE.

Backpack Manufacturers to make backpacks BRIGHT.

COLOUR is the KEY.

BE SEEN by CAR Drivers that are changing CD's, looking at SAT NAVS, texting,

peering through rainy windscreens,

lighting cigarettes, talking to passengers, tuning the radio, eating.

Irresponsible Cycling Campaign Posters featuring Cyclists wearing DARK colours,

have a look for yourself ?

Irresponsible leadership amongst cycling community !

So the mayor and now the conservatives stall on helping cyclists. Today at the London aAssembly plenary the conservative and independents walked out thus preventing the question being raised to the mayor about cycling. They may have walked out for some other reason but I now put the conservatives in the same boat as stalling on cycling safety as the Mayor.

The lack of action by Transport for London in response to recent events at Bow roundabout is completely unacceptable and disgusting! I have personally emailed the mayor (as above) from the point of view of a local pedestrian and in firm support of cyclists, but as yet I have had no response. I guess this should be no surprise given his lack of action taken so far. I have noted some recently introduced token signage warning cyclists and drivers, but this is nothing more than a laughable excuse for action (if that). This seems actually more of an insult than a service.

The proposed design by the LCC should be at least the minimum requirement and immediate action should be taken by TfL to implement this design before any more lives are lost. I believe TfL to be morally irresponsible otherwise and anything less demonstrates the mayors complete lack of respect toward Londoners and their right to be safe on our roads.

My sincerest condolences to those families of the cyclists who lost their lives needlessly.

  • By Amoeba at 12:06pm 10 December 2011

Cyklops on 03:14am 05 Dec 2011 said: "BRIGHTCOLOUR is the KEY.

BE SEEN by CAR Drivers that are changing CD's, looking at SAT NAVS, texting, peering through rainy windscreens, lighting cigarettes, talking to passengers, tuning the radio, eating. Irresponsible Cycling Campaign Posters featuring Cyclists wearing DARK colours, have a look for yourself ?"

That's utter rubbish!  

a) How precisely can a cyclist be seen, if the driver isn't even looking out of the windscreen?

b) Or has defective eyesight, or was driving too fast.

c) Bright colours only work when there's adequate UV around, certainly not the case at night.

d) If drivers cannot see, they shouldn't be driving. If they can't see at night, they shouldn't drive at night.

e) it is not irresponsible to wear dark colours.

f) Good, road-legal lights and reflectors should be quite sufficient. If they aren't, then the driver must have been doing something wrong.

Drivers are not paying sufficient attention and do not receive adequate penalties when they kill or injure a vulnerable road user.

We need a level playing-field, the penalty for causing death or serious injury using a motor-vehicle needs to be a prison term, plus a heavy fine and a life-ban. Essentially similar to causing death or serious injury without a motor-vehicle, but te life ban is essential to prevent recurrence and thereby protect the Public.

Evidence why fluorescent colours aren't enough at least at night.

'Cyclist visibility at night: Perceptions of visibility do not necessarily match reality'


Visibility limitations make cycling at night particularly dangerous. We previously reported cyclists’ perceptions of their own visibility at night and identified clothing configurations that made them feel visible. In this study we sought to determine whether these self-perceptions reflect actual visibility when wearing these clothing configurations. In a closed-road driving environment, cyclists wore black clothing, a fluorescent vest, a reflective vest, or a reflective vest plus ankle and knee reflectors. Drivers recognised more cyclists wearing the reflective vest plus reflectors (90%) than the reflective vest alone (50%), fluorescent vest (15%) or black clothing (2%). Older drivers recognised the cyclists less often than younger drivers (51% vs 27%). The findings suggest that reflective ankle and knee markings are particularly valuable at night, while fluorescent clothing is not. Cyclists wearing fluorescent clothing may be at particular risk if they incorrectly believe themselves to be conspicuous to drivers at night.


This post was edited by Amoeba at 12:23pm 10 December 2011.

Here is the reply I received from TfL to our campaign, and below it my reply.


On 30/12/2011 11:23, Mayor wrote:

Dear Mr Imrie

Bow roundabout and cycle safety

Thank you for your email.

The Mayor is very concerned indeed by the recent fatal collisions at Bow roundabout and his thoughts and sympathies are with the friends and family of both victims.

The Metropolitan Police is investigating both collisions in order to determine the specific causes.  Alongside this, Transport for London (TfL) is urgently reviewing the operation of Bow roundabout.  In addition, TfL will review all major planned schemes on the Transport for London Road Network and all junctions on the Cycle Superhighways already introduced.  This builds on work TfL is already doing to improve cycling safety, for example by trialling blind spot safety mirrors through the Cycle Superhighways programme and developing Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) driver training courses to specifically address the safety of vulnerable road users.  TfL will widen this work by initiating an independent review of the safety of HGVs used in the construction industry.

The Mayor is determined to maintain and build upon the cycling revolution that is happening in London and, while overall road safety in London is improving, the recent fatal collisions at Bow have made clear the need for all organisations involved, including TfL, the Boroughs, the freight industry and the Police, to redouble their efforts to further improve cycle safety.

Thank you again for writing to the Mayor.

Yours sincerely

Raymond Peart
PLU Officer 

Thanks for your email. The problem for TFL is that you already have a consultants' report as to the risks plus advice from London Cycling Campaign, so you cannot claim ignorance of the risks. Therefore either family of the dead cyclists can sue TfL for negligence and you are left with no defence. Study the law of tort if you are not sure. The Cyclcists Defence Fund is well funded to pursue such an action, if a family could not afford to sue. 
Good luck! 
Bob Imrie 

Hi Bob, I must say that I received exactly the same generic reply to my email to the mayor. I've noticed that this still also ignores pedestrians! I know this site is about cycle safety but more broadly involves general road safety. Has anyone emailed their local MP about this? I'd be interested to know. If not I might and I'll keep you posted.

BTW I think it's disgraceful that this situation has not yet been resolved apart from some very token measures that still fail to ensure the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.

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  • By Tomm at 9:10pm 17 March 2015

This content was deleted by smsm1 at 11:40pm 12 April 2015.

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