London roads must 'make room' for cyclists


London mayor Boris Johnson should apportion more road space to cyclists to reduce casualties, according to a cross-party report published on Wednesday during national road safety week.

The London Assembly’s transport committee has urged City Hall to set more ambitious targets for the number of journeys made in the capital by bike, as cycle safety levels continue to decrease.

The report – entitled Gearing Up – calls on the mayor to double funding for cycling in Transport for London’s budget and timetable an action plan for the east-west cycle super corridor. Assembly members also recommended a cycling commissioner is appointed and a plan developed to ensure all children in London receive cycle training.

According to the report, the number of cyclists injured in the capital has increased year-on-year from 2,958 in 2006 to 4,497 last year.

The mayor wants 5% of journeys to be made by bike by 2026, but the committee says this should be doubled to 10%. Copenhagen has an ambition for 50% of journeys to be made by bike by 2015.

The investigation showed that as cycling participation increased in other European cities, so did the safety of cyclists. However, such a trend has not occurred in London, which has seen modest rises in the number of journeys made by bike in recent years.

Committee chair Caroline Pidgeon said: ‘Our report shows measures such as doubling cycling funding, making more space on our roads for cyclists and improving junction design, and trialling creative ideas to improve safety could all play a part in encouraging more journeys in London to be made by bike. A more ambitious vision backed by real political will and safer conditions could help London reach the high levels of cycling seen in other European capitals.’

Local authorities were this week urged to adopt 20mph speed limits in built-up areas.
A coalition of campaign groups – including Brake, Living Streets, Sustrans and the Campaign to Protect Rural England – marked the beginning of road safety week by launching a campaign calling for a national 20mph speed limit on built-up roads.

It is currently down to individual authorities to reduce speed limits on their local road networks. Many councils – including Birmingham, Bristol and Portsmouth – have already lowered limits in urban areas but campaigners say the Government must act to encourage more to follow suit.

Sustrans' chief executive, Malcolm Shepherd, said: ‘A 20mph is already in place in many parts of the country, but a postcode lottery where children are safer in some areas than others is not acceptable. A new national limit would save money for public health, education and transport budgets, and the Government should now act to lower speeds on streets where we live, work and play.’

Register now for full access

Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

comments powered by Disqus