As a result of Covid-19 we have seen many more cyclists on the road.
In Greater Manchester however there have been reports of an increase in road fatalities and there have been reports of similar increases nationally.
For cyclists and pedestrians the Government has produced a report ‘Gear change: a bold vision for cycling and walking‘ with the hope of bringing in actions that can be taken nationally to improve conditions for both pedestrians and cyclists.
But what is London doing to prevent road traffic accidents from occurring?
According to data released in September 2020 by Transport for London in 2019, 25,341 collisions were reported, resulting in 125 deaths, 3,789 serious injuries and 26,102 slight injuries. Whilst these figures show a decrease from previous years, there is still much to be done.
With a view to increasing road safety in 2018 the Mayor and Transport for London published a Vision Zero Action Plan which has been adopted as part of the City of London’s Transport Strategy.
The aim is for “80 per cent of all journeys in London to be conducted by walking, cycling or using public transport by 2041” The policy is being carried out with the cooperation of the London Boroughs, the police, the government and other agencies in London.
At that time the Mayor Sadiq Khan commented:
“Every year more than 2,000 people are killed or seriously injured on London’s streets. People from more deprived areas, some ethnic minorities, disabled people, children and older people are disproportionately affected by road danger. I am determined to make London’s streets safer and reduce these road traffic injury inequalities.”
He goes on to say:
“Our Vision Zero ambition – the elimination of all deaths and serious injuries from London’s streets by 2041 – will see a radical change to how London approaches road danger. We will focus on reducing the dominance of motor vehicles on our streets and ensuring that road danger reduction is central to all transport-related activity.”
“The Vision Zero approach is based on the fundamental conviction that loss of life and serious injuries are neither acceptable nor inevitable”
Some of the challenges noted in that report are:
- People are more at risk when cycling, walking or riding a motorcycle;
- Some vehicles such as HGVs were a greater danger than others
- Junctions were the cause of the majority of fatal and serious accidents
- Travelling at inappropriate speeds and making risky manoeuvres accounted and human error accounted for 90% of collisions for
The aim is to make London streets safer by:
- Lowering speeds so that 20 mph become the default speed limit within the central London Congestion Charging zone;
- Improving dangerous junctions
- Delivering high quality cycle routes
- Introducing a Bus Safety Standard
- Improving the safety of HGVs in London.
The safety of HGVs is due be implemented this month (October 2020) and a Direct Vision Standard for HGVs requires operators of lorries over 12 tonnes gross vehicle weight to apply and obtain a permit to enter or operate in Greater London.
In London, TfL’s Streetspace programme has brought in upgrades/construction of cycle lanes , increased pavements for pedestrians and more 20mph limits such as those already in place in the Congestion Charging Zone and for example on Edgware Road, Park Lane and Hampstead Road. In addition Low Traffic Neighbourhoods have been introduced to help reduce road danger on residential roads.
In June 2020 TfL allocated £22m for emergency cycling and walking schemes to be used for example for strategic cycle routes, school streets, low traffic neighbourhoods and improving pedestrian space in town centres. The hope is that this, together with proposals such as a changes to the Highway Code will produce the reduction in accidents hoped for.