he 15th of November is the United Nations World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims. Shockingly, being killed in a collision involving a motor vehicle is the global leading cause of death for people aged 5-29. Approximately 1.3 million people are killed in these preventable and tragic incidents every year, worldwide.
Road danger in London
Some 60% of people in Britain, when polled, respond that they do not feel the road network is safe to cycle on. Though surveys by TfL show cycling has increased, especially in 2020, the deep-rooted perception that roads are not safe remains a fundamental barrier to cycling for many. In 2019, road deaths in London increased by 12% to 125, with many others injured and traumatised. This is not acceptable.
This year’s changes in London, such as the TfL Streetspace Programme, are making a difference. This mirrors programmes around the world, from Bogata to Paris, which has allocated millions of euros to expand protected cycle infrastructure on an urgent basis. Our campaigning has continually pushed for projects and schemes that have been proven to reduce road danger, and that has informed the response from highway authorities we’ve been seeing. But we also know that the pace and financial investment needs to be significantly intensified to tackle road danger, as well as inactivity, pollution and climate change.
LCC’s work on this subject
Promotion and advocacy of ‘designing out’ road danger
Protected cycleways such as this new one in Rotherhithe 'design out' road danger for cyclists. Image credit: Crispin Hughes
We strongly believe that all road danger is preventable, and our policy draws on input from experts on specific subjects, as well as the broader perspectives of the diverse groups of people who cycle, or want to cycle.
Our policy directory sets out some of the principal ways in which London’s leaders can most effectively protect Londoners from road danger. Our key recommendations are:
- A city safe for cycling: ensure London is safely and enjoyably cycle-able, including the useof cycle freight, by rapidly delivering a high-quality cycling network across the city. Our proposals on how to do this are set out in our Climate Safe Streets report
- Ending lorry danger: lorries and other heavy vehicles are disproportionately involved in deadly preventable incidents accounting for half of cyclist roads deaths, though only 4% of vehicle mileage in the capital. Lorry movements must be re-routed and time-restricted to protect cyclists and pedestrians during the rush hour and school arrival and departure times. HGVs must be made safer vehicles that have no blind spots and are ‘safe by design.’ Drivers must all be trained in Safe Urban Driving, in which HGV drivers experience for themselves how it is to cycle near them, and rogue HGV operators must be held accountable.
- Justice system reform: We recognise that the justice system itself is failing to protect cyclists. We are grateful to LCC Patron Federico Cosulich for starting the LCC Fico fund, that will help lobby for greater victim support and for a reduction in road danger, with more news on this to come.
How we are getting results
'Direct vision' lorries, combined with trained operators, restricted routes and movement hours, are significantly safer than normal vehicles for cyclists and pedestrians alike
Our campaigning has contributed to several key successes in preventing road danger in London.
- We have successfully influenced the Mayor and TfL to roll out a network of protected cycle tracks and low traffic neighbourhoods across London, and central government in drafting their ‘Gear Change’ strategy, published this year, which makes, on the whole, strong changes to the ways in which cyclists are protected from motor danger
- The adoption by TfL of more robust safety standards for HGVs, including a new Direct Vision Standard to eliminate blind spots, as well as changes at the European level to ensure that future heavy vehicles are designed from the outset to eliminate the blind spots that can lead to collisions.
- Local introduction of lower default speed limits in many boroughs including virtually all of central and inner London (both the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster are now committed to a 20 mph speed limit on their roads and TfL is introducing 20 mph on a large proportion of its red routes.)
- Our community borough groups represent cyclists’ safety concerns to local government. LCC supports local groups with strategy, and with coordination across boroughs to ensure our influence on the relevant decision makers is maximised. We recently recognised some of our valuable community campaigners in our annual awards
How you can help
Please publicise that it is World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims on Sunday, and share this article. You can use the hashtag #WDoR2020.
If you aren’t a London Cycling Campaign member, please join. We’re running a special offer for a free set of cycle lights to all new joiners, or if you’re already a member, refer a friend and you’ll receive the lights too.