Cycling mileage in London, and the UK, soared in 2020 according to the latest Department for Transport figures: up 46.2% in London and 45.7% across the UK. And the latest Transport for London data on injuries shows that while the number of serious injuries increased (from 773 to 862), the risk rate per mile fell by 24 % because of the sharp increase in the distance covered by cyclists. (LCC has long argued for provision of such rate-based collision data). Nonetheless TfL and the Met recognise that we are still well away from its ‘Vision Zero’ target of no road deaths or serious injuries by 2041.
Commenting on the data Chief Superintendent Simon Ovens from the Met’s Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: “Every life lost on London’s road network is a tragedy and only cements our action to achieve the Mayor of London’s Vision Zero aim of eliminating death and serious injury.”
Lilli Matson, TfL’s Chief Safety Health and Environment Officer, said: “Last year saw the lowest number of road deaths in London on record, but we know that we cannot slow down on our Vision Zero goal of eliminating death and serious injury entirely.”
TfL highlights the steep rise in speeding offences during the pandemic period saying: “Speeding remains the biggest risk to road users and the Met Police recorded increases in traffic speeds during lockdowns in 2020, dealing with 270,000 speeding drivers over the year with 160mph detected as the highest speed.”
LCC wants as the top priority for policing to achieve #VisionZero better enforcement against speeding and close passing. And boroughs and TfL must extend the number of 20 mph zones and enforce them. Wider use of mobile speed cameras can contribute and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) must be given increased powers to tackle speeding offenders. Widening of PCSO powers was proposed by the Met in 2020 but approval to the required measures has yet to be given.
Of course, there’s much more in terms of road danger reduction and roads justice – the police need resources and need to prioritise road danger far more effectively, we need more action on dangerous junctions, the law on criminal driving and the entire justice system’s approach to it needs changing, and more – but the police and TfL could and should prioritise the above right now in order to keep Londoners, particularly those who’ve only started cycling during the crisis, safer.