Merton Cycling Campaign says London's Road Safety Audits fail to reveal danger to cyclists

detailed report prepared for Merton Cycling Campaign describes Transport for London's current Road Safety Audit procedures as "diseased" because they're incapable of identifying dangers, including those posed by one of Greater London's worst ever cycle facilties.

"A Review of London’s Road Safety Audit Procedures and the Cyclist with Reference to Martin Way" was written by retired architect and long-time Merton campaigner Hugh Morgan. 

The report was written after a three-year campaign by local campaigners, which involved a complaint to the Local Government Omsbudsman, finally convincing Merton Council to partially remove a road layout on Martin Way (B286), which had put cyclists in serious danger.

The cost to Merton taxpayers of fixing the flawed design was £500,000.

Local campaigners were shocked that the traffic-calming chicanes (see video above), installed by Merton Council in 2007, had passed a Transport for London 'Road Safety Audit'.

LCC's road danger expert Charlie Lloyd said, "The video shows how appalling these cycle 'facilities' were, needlessly pushing cyclists into the path of fast-moving motor traffic.

"When our local campaign group complained the council defended the design, saying that it had passed a 'safety audit' carried out by Transport for London.

"What became clear to everyone, except the council engineers, was that the safety audit process had failed."

The report produced for Merton Cycling Campaign says, "Road Safety Audit procedures used in London underemphasise the safety problems associated with cycling on the carriageway and tend to invite discrimination against cyclists." 

It's now clear that the audit process recommended by Transport for London isn't capable of competently assessing the risks of road layouts for cyclists.

The process appears to be flawed because it's not necessary for auditors to refer to any government or Transport for London guidance on designing roads that are safe for cyclists.

The Merton Cycling Campaign report's recommendations include:

  • Transport for London must immediately revise its Safety Audit procedures
  • Audit guidelines should include a checklist for cyclist safety issues
  • Safety auditors should be informed when a design doesn't follow government standards.

As a result of the debacle on Martin Way, Merton Council has declared its intention to improve its procedures when implementing new road layouts.