Boris says "more work" needed at Blackfriars, while Safety Audit reveals dangers

London Mayor Boris Johnson is resisting calls for 20mph limit on Blackfriars but says "more work" is needed to improve conditions for cyclists.

Responding to London Assembly member Jenny Jones, Johnson said, “More work needs to be done on cycling over Blackfriars Bridge and over the accessibility of cycling over Blackfriars Bridge. And speaking as someone who uses that route the whole time I am very much familiar with the problems of the cyclist.”

Johnson resisted calls for 20mph, arguing that speeds at peak times are below 20mph – missing the point that it’s when motor traffic is not heavily congested, outside of peak times, that car speeds become dangerous to walkers and cyclists.

The two cyclist deaths on Blackfriars in recent years both happened outside of peak flow locations.

Safety Audit says Blackfriars is dangerous

A Safety Audit, only released after lobbying from us, shows that Transport for London has concerns about the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists at the Blackfriars junction if the present scheme goes ahead as planned.

The internal document highlights the danger of head-on car collisions at the right turn into Queen Victoria Street and also the reduced space for people on bikes at the northbound approach to New Bridge Street: 

“Alignment through the [Blackfriars] junction may result in increased cycle collisions. The proposed build-out between the off and on slips for Victoria Embankment effectively pushes northbound cyclists 0.5m closer to the nearside running lane and may result in increased conflicts ...

"Furthermore, the long breaks within the cycle lane across both slip roads for Victoria Embankment present added vulnerability to cyclists from left turning vehicles (at the on slip) and traffic which may be approaching out of phase (queuing vehicles beyond the stop line or red light runners).

"The lack of cycle facilities at along these significant lengths, where cyclists are more vulnerable, may result in increased conflicts."

No solutions to the danger

TfL’s response to this criticism is that it will provide on-road cycle logos but no additional space or facilities for cyclists. 

Despite numerous comments about the hazardous nature of the proposed new right-turn arrangement (crossing two lanes of traffic) for riders from the bridge into Queen Victoria Street, the safety audit makes no reference to it.

Recently, prominent GP Clare Gerada was seriously injured while navigating this turn on her bicycle.

Nor does it mention the fact that TfL proposes increasing the temporary 20mph speed limit back up to 30mph. 

London Assembly members will be debating a motion to introduce 20mph at Blackfriars on Wednesday 20 July 2011.

Support 20mph on the 20th