Mayor must explain why consultants’ recommendations to make Bow roundabout safer were rejected

Transport for London received clear advice from Jacobs Consultancy that Bow roundabout must be made safer for cycling more than a year before the two recent deaths took place at the junction.

The recommendations, contained in a Cycle Superhighway Implementation Plan (CHIP), state that traffic signals specifically for cyclists and pedestrians (toucan crossings) and separate cycle tracks should be installed. 

LCC chief executive Ashok Sinha said, “Documents show that Transport for London was clearly advised by its transport consultants, as well as by the London Cycling Campaign, to provide safe signalised crossings and off-carriageway cycle lanes at Bow roundabout.

“The Mayor has to explain why these measures were not carried out. We’re calling for an immediate redesign of the junction to reduce the road danger and prevent any more tragic deaths.”

LCC advised TfL of the dangers of the junction in 2009, well before any consultation on proposed designs took place, and we also contributed to the consultants’ report, which recommended toucan crossings and off-carriageway lanes should be provided.

LCC also wrote to TfL in February 2011, after seeing the designs for the Cycle Superhighway, to highlight that the Bow roundabout still posed a serious danger to cyclists and must be addressed.

Family and friends of recent Bow victim Brian Dorling will unite with local cycling groups tonight at a 6pm vigil at the roundabout in memory of the two recent deaths.


I'm deeply saddened by both unnecessary deaths. I'm also very sorry to say that I'm not surprised at all that TfL ignored recommendations on making the junction safer. 

I worked on the superhighway consulation as a local cyclist on behalf of my local LCC group. I met with the engineers, TfL, Sustrans and rode the proposed superhighway route (in a different borough). The TfL project managers were not regular cyclists, or even very confident ones. The engineers simply didn't listen to the concerns of people like me who knew the area and used the route and others nearby. The TfL guy was quite high up in the communications department and basically told me that the superhighway was going through no matter what anyone thought. It was a done deal and this consultation was a formality. 

It was a huge missed opportunity for that budget to be spent on blue paint rather than really good, safe cycling facilities. Now it's a tragedy too. 

  • By peter39 at 10:39pm 18 November 2011
Time for Barclays Bank to take a view. Corporate sponsors normally take a dim view od being dragged into bad news stories, and they should pressure TfL...
  • By d_c at 12:52pm 25 November 2011

From The Guardian newspaper 25.11.11:

Network Rail, which owns and operates the Elsenham station footpath crossing, faces two charges under The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and one charge under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. ORR alleges that Network Rail failed to carry out proper assessments of the risks to the safety of people using the crossing or to have in place adequate arrangements to underpin assessments that were carried out. The first hearing is scheduled for Chelmsford magistrates' court on 31 January 2012.

Surely at least one if not both of the reasons given for a prosecution being launched against Network Rail would also give grounds for prosecutions to be launched against TfL for the deaths at King's Cross and Bow Roundabout if not many others, to wit that they:

- failed to carry out proper assessments of the risks to the safety of people using the crossing

- failed to have in place adequate arrangements to underpin assessments that were carried out

Just a thought.

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