London Cycling Campaign urges cyclists to get involved with discussion
London Cycling Campaign (LCC) is asking cyclists to respond to Transport for London's Cycle Safety Action Plan by asking for more effective solutions to the problem of cyclist fatalities and injuries in London.
The deadline for responses is Friday 11 December 2009. You can either email CSAPreplies@tfl.gov.uk or respond via the TfL website at www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling
The draft plan can be viewed here (pdf)
The plan has a strong focus on reducing the danger from HGV lorries, which are involved in over half the cyclist fatalities in London, yet they are only involved in a small proportion of the serious injuries.
If casualty targets are to be met then action to reduce injuries caused by other motor traffic needs to be taken according to LCC.
Chief executive Koy Thomson said, "There's no detail about speed reduction, which is known to be a key contributor to road danger. TfL must expand, not axe, the Commercial Vehicle Education Unit, the specialist police section that enforces lorry safety laws on London's streets.
"LCC is also strongly in favour of widespread implementation of cyclist-awareness training for all lorry drivers in London, like the programme being run by Lambeth Council currently."
The seven proposed safety measures in the Action Plan are:
1. TfL says:
Promoting the cycling safety message to all road users.
We support improved education for cyclists and in-service cycle-awareness training for professional drivers.
2. TfL says:
Delivering new, safe cycle routes and facilities – such as the proposed new Cycle Superhighways routes and the central London Cycle Hire scheme with its 6000 bikes.
We welcome both these major schemes.
(i) However, the mayor has yet to sign LCC's Superhighways manifesto, which lays out what cyclists expect from a Superhighway.
(ii) Even more work needs to be done to increase permeability and safety for Cycle Hire riders navigating central London streets
3. TfL says:
Confidence-boosting training for cyclists, and other road users – £3 million has been invested in cycle training this year.
Providing cycle training has become discretionary for the boroughs. TfL needs to incentivise every borough to provide training for every child and on demand for adults
4. TfL says:
Encouraging HGV operators in London to take cycling safety seriously by engaging with 7000 London companies encouraging them to join TfL's Freight Operators Recognition Scheme.
Less than 5% of operators have joined the scheme. The mayor could use his power to only award public contracts to companies that are signed up to FORS, but he hasn't.
5. TfL says:
Working with over 300 freight companies which operate construction vehicles which may be exempt from side–guards and encouraging them to install side-guards or other safety devices on HGVs which are currently exempt;
Again, the emphasis is on encouragement. Lorry companies are profit-making organisations, and often must be compelled to take action. Sideguards are not the major priority for reducing casualties.
6. TfL says:
Calling for Government action to improve HGV safety by removing the current exemption for some construction vehicles to have side-guards and requiring cycle safety awareness as a mandatory part of HGV drivers' Certificate of Professional Competence periodic training requirement;
The mayor has no power to deliver this. Mandatory cycle-awareness training is an excellent idea, TfL could initiate this for all their own staff. Lack of sideguards is only one element of the danger created by large construction lorries.
7. TfL says:
Championing the need for trials of innovative safety measures, such as Trixi mirrors in London to examine their potential benefits for cycling safety.
Though LCC welcomes innovation, this is a site-specific application that can only have limited application.
November 10, 2009