Cycling News

London's Transport Commissioner to head up Network Rail

Sir Peter Hendy, London’s Transport Commissioner,(third from left)  is moving to head up Network Rail as it’s chair. LCC thanks Sir Peter for his support for cycling and for his determination to reduce the danger from HGVs in particular.

We urge his successor as head of London Transport to sustain the declared commitment Sir Peter  made: “to commit TfL to funding and delivering them (new cycle routes and infrastructure) as one of its highest priorities.”

As Sir Peter stated in the introduction to the Mayor’s Vision for Cycling “this is about so much more than routes for cyclists. It is about the huge health and economic benefits that cycling can bring. It is about improving London’s streets and places for everyone, including those with no intention of getting on a bike. And it is about helping the whole transport system meet the enormous demands that will be placed on it.”

 

Sir Peter was personally committed to reducing road danger from lorries in London and under his direction Transport for London will introduce a new ban on lorries that do not meet safety standards as of September 2015. Lorries without full safety equipment and without drivers who have completed Safer Urban Driving courses are already excluded from TfL contracts. Following research on construction lorries and collisions with cyclists by the Transport Research Laboratory Sir Peter promoted the creation of the industry led Construction Logistics and Cyclists Safety initiative which developed a CLOCS standard to which more than a hundred firms are now subscribed. 


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Hundreds of cyclists join protest at fatal Bank crossroads

 

Hundreds of cyclists gathered at Bank junction in the City of London this morning to pay tribute to Ying Tao, the 26 year old cyclist killed by a tipper truck at the junction on Monday, and Clifton James, the cyclist killed in Harrow on Sunday evening.

The protest, organised by the London Cycling Campaign under the Space for Cycling banner, called for reduced road danger especially at extremely hazardous junctions like Bank and called for the removal of lethal lorries.

In an article for City AM today Ashok Sinha, LCC's chief executive, said: "three things really need to change.

"The first is a complete redesign of major junctions to create safe space for cycling. Second, high quality cycling lanes that physically separate cyclists from motor vehicles (but which are wide enough for the faster commuter cyclist to overtake others) should be the norm on main roads. Third, only the best equipped HGVs should be allowed on London’s streets."

Traffic at this complex junction in the heart of the City of London was brought to a halt while everyone observed a minute's silence and heard tributes and a call to action from Ann Kenrick OBE, chair of London Cycling Campaign.

Bank junction, one of the busiest in London, is currently the subject of a major review, commenced in 2011 by City of London authorities. The City consultation concluded that the top priorities are simplifying the junction to reduce conflict, improved provision for pedestrians and people on bikes, better air quality and improve the perception of "place".

The original consultation, completed in 2013, planned improvements to the junction that would be executed in 2013 -2017. In its latest Press Release the City now anticipates that works will commence in 2019. Any such works must first be approved by Transport for London which, together with the City of London, shares responsibility for roads and traffic at the junction. 

Michael Welbank, Chairman of the Planning & Transportation Committee at the City of London Corporation says: "Casualty numbers have not risen despite the three fold increase in cyclist injuries but we must redouble our efforts. This is no time for complacency".

LCC wants to see improvements at Bank junction to be progressed with utmost urgency to prevent further collisions involving pedestrians, cyclists and all other road users.  The responsible highway authorities must prioritise what is acknowledged as a highly hazardous location. 

The incident at Bank is the eighth cyclist death in London in 2015 with seven of them involving lorries. LCC continues to campaign for safer lorries and safer drivers.  We do not accept that so called 'blind spots' should be accepted as a necessary defect of urban lorries. Neither buses nor most new refuse lorries have 'blind spots' around the front of the vehicle and that should be the case with all lorries used  in dense urban areas. LCC welcomes the Mayor's requirement, as of September , all lorries used in London have to have to be fully equipped with basic safety features but we want to London to work towards having only lorries that are blind spot free. Such lorries are now available for the construction sector.

Read our Storify of the protest 

Ann Kenrick OBE, chair of London Cycling Campaign leads to the tribute to Ying Tao and the other victims killed in 2015.

A mourner studies the floral memorials placed around the traffic light at the centre of Bank junction.

 

 


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Cyclist fatality involving tipper truck at Bank

Image taken from the Evening Standard

 

A second cyclist has been killed in a collision less than 24 hours after a man was killed in a crash involving a car in Harrow. Hit by a tipper truck at Bank, the female victim was treated at the scene but died of her injuries. London Cycling Campaign extends our sympathies to the bereaved.

LCC CEO Ashok Sinha said “The six-way junction at Bank is dreadful throwback to a past, car-dominated era. Without knowing the precise circumstances of today’s tragedy, fatalities like this underline how urgently we need proper, protected space for cycling, especially at junctions.”

About half of all cyclist deaths in London are caused by collisions with lorries, with construction lorries being the main vehicle type involved. LCC is calling for protected space for cycling at junctions and on main roads and for safer lorry designs to be adopted across the industry.

This woman is the eighth cyclist to die on London streets in 2015. Six of the previous fatalities involved heavy goods vehicles.

 


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Cyclist fatality after midnight crash on Harrow rat-run road

 Crash location from www.openstreetmap.org

London Cycling Campaign is very saddened to hear the news of a cyclist's death in the early hours of Sunday morning, 21st June.  Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

 

Press reports say that the cyclist, a man in his 50s or 60s died at the scene of the crash on Forward Drive, Harrow shortly after midnight.  As yet we have very few details of the crash. The Metropolitan Police have called for witnesses, asking people to contact detectives on 020 8991 9555 if they have any information that could help.

The driver of the car involved stopped at the scene and a 31 year old man has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

LCC Chief Executive Ashok Sinha said '“Without commenting on this particular, case speed, and poor road layout, are major contributions to deaths and serious injury to cyclists and pedestrians. As well as protected space for cycling on major roads, a 20 mph speed limit – properly enforced – must be made the norm on London’s streets, with heavy sanctions against those who break it".

Forward Drive forms part of one of the few East-West link roads through this part of Harrow. It is popular with cyclists but is also notorious for rat-running motor traffic. The layout of the road has been criticised by a local cycling campaigner and infrastructure expert on the Vole O'Speed blog.

Forward Drive was built some 50 years ago after the railway link from Stanmore Village was closed in 1964. The Belmont Tail cycling and walking route runs on the old rail alignment and joins the busy road just east of Forward Drive.

The road is signposted as a cycle route but there is no provision for safe cycling. The carriageway width varies alarmingly and there is a successions of nasty roundabouts designed to speed up through traffic rather than enable safe crossing points.

This man is the seventh cyclist to die on London streets in 2015. The previous six fatalities all involved heavy goods vehicles.

 


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Islington Cyclists launch petition to ensure Quietway route is safe for cycling

Our local group in Islington; Islington Cyclists Action Group, have launched a petition calling on the local council to restrict through traffic on a planned Quietway running north to south through the Inner London borough from Finsbury Park to Clerkenwell.

 

Sign the petition

Islington has secured money from TfL to implement a Quietway route from Finsbury Park to Clerkenwell. The proposed route takes in roads including Drayton Park, where it passes Arsenal FC’s Emirates Stadium, Westbourne Road, Thornhill Road and Amwell Street.

The route is already hugely popular with cyclists and avoids busy main roads, including Highbury Corner, currently the site of major roadworks.

 But the route is also used heavily by motor traffic using the route as a rat-run to avoid other, more congested roads, like nearby Holloway Road. This video highlights the problem

 

 

Islington Cyclists Action Group would like to the council to remove the majority of traffic from this route by only providing local access and cutting of the route to through traffic. This is a great opportunity for cycling money to be used to benefit local communities. 

 

Sign the petition 


Installing bollards, to restrict access to vehicles on Thornhill Road, Barnsbury Road and Amwell Street will reduce pollution and traffic noise for those living and working there. At the same time, it will create a truly quiet route along which people of all ages and abilities, can feel comfortable cycling along. Measures to remove through motor traffic from residential streets, to help create safe cycle routes is a key demand of our Space for Cycling campaign.

Filtering out through traffic by using bollards, gates or planters can help to create safe, quiet routes for cycling and walking.

 

Live locally and want to help? To get involved with the group, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , follow them on Twitter, or take a look at their website.

 

 


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Old Street plans not good enough to create safe #space4cycling

Old Street currently

Transport for London has published its report in response to the consultation on Old Street - but LCC is concerned the plans aren't going to provide the safe space for cycling (or walking) that this location needs.

Old Street roundabout should be a London landmark with a distinct sense of place, but it’s currently an inhospitable environment for cycling and walking. There have been numerous collisions in the vicinity of the roundabout. Despite the hostile road conditions Old Street junction is one of the busiest for cycling in London, with cyclists making up almost a third of all traffic in the morning rush hour.

We welcome the ambition to make it safer for cycling, but we have concerns that the plans are not safe enough and will not provide the safe and inviting space for cycling that this location should offer. Current levels of motor traffic are unacceptably high, and the proposals make no attempt to address this. At the same time, the planned cycle tracks will not offer enough space to accommodate current numbers of cyclists, let alone future. Cycle tracks that don’t offer sufficient capacity will force cyclists onto the busy road - a daunting prospect for the majority of cyclists. 

The proposals are also bad news for pedestrians: they'd mean a reduction in pedestrian space, potentially leading to people choosing to walk on the cycle lanes because the pavements would be so narrow. The absence of pedestrian crossing on the east side of the junction will also drive pedestrians to cross using the cycle lane across the road or make other risky crossing choices. The relocation of bus stops will also inconvenience the numerous bus users wishing to access Old Street station. 

We'd like to see the roundabout replaced with crossroads, with more space for cycling reallocated from the road, not the footway. Crossroads would make it a much simpler layout and make it easier to provide protected space and improve the area for pedestrians and cyclists.

Download our response to the consultation.

 


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Near Miss project finds women bear the brunt of bad driving and harassment

Near Miss project

The Near Miss project, led by LCC trustee Rachel Aldred, has found that female cyclists are almost twice as likely as their male counterparts to be subject to harassment or bad driving. 

The study involved more than 1500 cyclists completing an online diary of their cycling experiences during one day of a two week period last October, answering questions about frightening events. On average, women reported about 0.42 ‘near miss’ or harassment incidents per mile, compared with 0.24 per mile for men.

One of the reasons for this could be that women are more likely to be subject to harassment in the street no matter what their mode of transport. A recent report showed that 90% of British women reporting experiencing street harassment for the first time before the age of 17.  

When it comes to near misses rather than verbal harassment, it’s likely that speed is a factor too – the study found that on average, women reported slower speeds, and there seems to be a correlation between this and the frequency of near misses. People completing a journey at an average speed of below 8mph experience three times as many near misses as people completing a similar length journey at an average speed of over 12mph.

It’s possible that faster cyclists experience fewer overtakes because they are on the road for a shorter time over a given distance.  

Regardless, it’s clear that these experiences are symptomatic of a road environment that can be very hostile for cyclists – and that redesigning our streets to provide space for cycling is the way to eliminate this kind of conflict. Provision like the new cycle superhighways - as long as they offer dedicated, protected space on roads with fast moving or heavy traffic - will offer a much safer and inviting environment for cycling.

Equally, lowering the speed and volume of motor traffic on back streets routes would go a long way towards improving our streets for cycling. Residential roads that suffer from rat running are often locations for near miss incidents - closing these roads to through motor traffic would both lower the likelihood of this type of incident taking place, and create a more pleasant environment for everybody.

 

 

 


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Partial success for CS1 plans

Transport for London has published its response to the consultation on Cycle Superhighway 1, which is due to run from White Hart Lane in Tottenham to Liverpool Street station.

Image 1

Image 2

TfL consulted on plans for the route back in February, with proposals that showed the majority of Cycle Superhighway 1 routed down residential roads running to the west of the A10, with segregated cycle tracks on just a few sections where the route passes along busy roads. As we noted in our response to the consultation, the route seems to better fit Transport for London’s definition of a Quietway – and should therefore meet expected standards for Quietway routes, while being capable of carrying high volumes of cyclists. 

We and others highlighted many reasons why the current proposals for CS1 fail to meet these standards. A key reason was that over large sections of the route more needs to be done to reduce and calm motor traffic. So we’re pleased to see that Transport for London have taken these comments on board. They say “in response to feedback during consultation, we are working with Hackney Council to close additional junctions to through motor traffic, with a view to improving safety for cyclists and pedestrians, along with environmental benefits”. TfL say they’ll investigate reducing through motor traffic from roads surrounding Wordsworth and Boleyn Rds in Hackney, and that they’ll work with the London Borough of Haringey to investigate the feasibility of closing the junction of Broadwater Road and Linley Road to through motor traffic. 

So there’s some good news – but we still have concerns about a number of points on the route which fail to deliver a good cycling level of service, including potential conflict with pedestrians and parked cars, particularly in the Haringey section. 

The proposals also featured two options for a short stretch of busy Balls Pond Rd – option A, which offered advisory cycle lanes in both directions, and option B which offers segregated two way track. In our response to the consultation we highlighted that neither of these proposals will offer protection for cyclists using this route and for cyclists travelling east-west and for those joining or leaving the route at this point. TfL will progress Option B, which will provide protected space for cyclists on the route but greatly increase risk for cyclists travelling east or west along Balls Pond Rd, or looking to join or leave the superhighway at this point. Cyclists will be squeezed into narrow lanes with very heavy motor traffic. 

We believe there are other options that should be studied. Using protected crossings at each end there is no need for the protective median strip. It would then be possible to squeeze in a 1.75 metre cycle lane on each side of the road. This would be separated from the carriageway by being stepped up midway between carriageway level and pavement level. This is a common arrangement in Denmark and is also used in the Netherlands where there are width constraints. Currently the pavements are protected from parking with rows of iron bollards on each side. With a stepped cycle track this protection is no longer needed. If they are removed the effective width for pedestrian movement can be increased while releasing some 300-400mm extra width for the cycle and vehicle traffic. This would allow for 3.4 metres or more for the general traffic lanes. The protected crossings could be two signalised junctions as envisaged in Option B, or one signalised junction at Culford Road and a combined Zebra/Cycle crossing at Kingsbury Road.

The Haringey section is also seriously problematic. TfL say that they will work with Haringey and Hackney Councils to develop ‘proposals for improvements along alternative roads via East Bank/Hillside Road’ as per the recommendation in our response, but that they plan to deliver CS1 to the alignment consulted on. We believe that the provision on this alignment is so poor that many commuters will ditch the superhighway route at this point and choose to use the high road, where they’ll be forced to share with busy motor traffic. The Hillside Avenue alignment recommended in our response to the consultation would be a much safer route. With heavy congestion and narrow road width, the proposed alignment is simply not a safe route for a cycle superhighway.

Construction of the superhighway is due to start in July. 


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New technology for cyclists at traffic signals welcome

Traffic signals CS3

Transport for London is trialling a new technology to detect the volumes of cyclists at traffic signals – news which we've welcomed as long overdue. The new technology, which is being trialled along Cycle Superhighway 3 on Cable Street, will enable traffic signal timings to adjust in real time to cater for high numbers of cyclists at key junctions during peak times throughout the day.

If it works well, this technology could be great news for cyclists. On Cable Street in peak hour the number of cyclists is far higher than the number of motor vehicles. If the system can give cyclists a fair share of the green time then journeys will be made both safer and more enjoyable. As record levels of cycling in London are being reported, it’s clear that cyclists should have a fair share of the green time. If this new technology can deliver that, it’s great news all round. 

Infrastructure that makes cyclists feel that it’s better to break the rules is not just frustrating, but potentially dangerous. If a cyclist arrives at a junction and has to wait 120 seconds to cross, they’re more likely to jump the light. In Holland or Denmark, where a much greater percentage of the population chooses to cycle, infrastructure is designed to feel safe and inviting for cycling and favourable waiting times for cyclists are the norm.

Recent research from America shows that when infrastructure is designed to help people on bikes they are much less likely to break the law. A survey of 18,000 people has been conducted by a professor of civil engineering at the University of Colorado. The results indicate that cyclists riding through red lights or on pavements aren’t doing so because they want to break the law, but because they want and need good quality infrastructure.

Two types of new technology are being trialled – one radar based and one thermal based, which detects the heat profile of riders as they enter the detection zone. Transport for London say that subject to the trials, they’ll be looking to expand the use of the technology as well as integrating it into London’s traffic signalling system, SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique). 


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Fall in serious injury and fatal casualties welcome, but more must be done to create safe space for cycling

The Mayor's Office has released figures which show that fall in the serious and fatal casualty rate for people on bikes in London from 2013 to 2014. The figures also show cycling at a 'record high'.

The rate of serious or fatal casualty per cycling journey fell by 16% across all roads in London. The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured (KSI) fell by 11.5%  to 432, while the number of trips rose by 5%.

London Cycling Campaign is heartened to that the serious casualty rate for cycling has fallen, but believes the figures are still unacceptably high. Better infrastructure is desperately needed to reduce the danger for the increasing number of people who cycle, or who would like to cycle, in London.

The figures also show that more people are cycling in London than at any time since current records began. Transport for London say that cycling on TfL main roads rose by 11 per cent last year. The total number of cycle journeys on all roads in London rose by 5% to around 610,000 a day - almost 223 million a year. This represents an increase of almost 25 per cent since 2008.

LCC says that this growth in cycling in London is welcome, but highlights the urgent need for London's streets to offer safe space for cycling for all. One journey in every 531,000 might end in a serious injury - the lowest rate ever recorded, beating the previous low of 2006 when it was about one journey in every 434,000. The risk of a fatal collision is very small at one journey in 17.2 million, yet that risk needs to be much lower to match the Dutch or Danish rate.

It is welcome that the Mayor's press release focusses on the rate of casualties per trip and not just the actual number. All too often the focus is on the changes in number and not the changes in casualty rates. Despite many calls for changing the system the Mayor and TfL still expresses policy targets in actual numbers rather than aiming for an improvement in the rate of casualties.

Rate analysis is more difficult and the apparently better performance on the 5% of roads managed by TfL needs to be treated with caution as it is calculated in a different way to other roads.

The serious casualty rate had been increasing from 2009 to 2012 and the 2014 data suggests that trend has been reversed. However the rate of slight injuries is still increasing it is up 8.5% on last year, even more than the 5% rise in the year before. This data alone should dispel any sense of complacency arising from the improved headline figures.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "These figures are tremendously encouraging and will, I hope, give even more people the confidence to get on their bikes. Operation Safeway, which we made permanent feature last year, has already helped improve driver and cyclist behaviour. But we need to do more.

"My new Safer Lorry Scheme, coming in less than three months, will ban all lorries not fitted with safety equipment from London. My new segregated cycle superhighways, better junctions and Quietway back-street cycle routes will further protect cyclists.

"The population explosion in London cycling shows why we need all this and why we need to go still further."

Cycling serious or fatal injuries ("KSIs" - the standard measurement) per journey have fallen by just under 80 per cent since 1989, an exceptionally bad year, when 33 cyclists were killed and 752 seriously injured on London's roads. Around 90 million cycling journeys were made in the capital that year. The KSI rate was about one in every 115,000 journeys.

The Mayor's office tell us that the £913 million investment programme announced in the Mayor's 2013 Vision for Cycling is now in delivery, with four segregated superhighways currently being built and a number of major junctions also under reconstruction. Building work is also underway on the Quietway network of back-street cycle routes. The first Quietways, the first sections of segregated superhighway and the first rebuilt junctions will open this year.

Leon Daniels, director of surface transport at TfL, said: "The increase in people cycling on the TfL Road Network, as well as the new insights into why people are cycling in London, is proof that the huge investment we are making in London is helping to encourage more people to take to two wheels. With new cycle routes, better cycle parking and easier access to Santander Cycles all taking place in 2015, we are confident that the next 12 months will see cycling levels rise even higher and help London maintain its place as a world-class cycling city."

The TfL Attitudes to Cycling surveys from 2014, also published today, showed that 72 per cent of those who cycle in London do so at least once a week - up from two-thirds in 2013.

Cyclists also said they felt safe when cycling in traffic, with 91 per cent of regular cyclists and 88 per cent of occasional cyclists feeling safe, up from 89 per cent and 75 per cent respectively in 2013.

The Attitudes to Cycling Report makes interesting reading but it is based on a mixed sample and the year on year variations are difficult to explain.


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Local Group News: June 2015

London Cycling Campaign has a network of over 30 Local Groups across London, one per borough.

Find out what they've been up to in their latest Newsletters.

 

If you're an LCC member, you'll recieve your borough Newsletter in your latest edition of the London Cyclist Magazine.

 

If your borough hasn't produced a newsletter this time, you can always find out what they are up to by checking their website and social media pages. Or sign up to receive email updates direct from your local group.

Want to do more? Find out how to get involved with your local group:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 


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