Boris: ‘Every single death or serious incident involving a cyclist on our roads is a tragedy’

TfL and Boris Johnson step up focus on cyclist safety

Mayor of London Boris Johnson and London Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy are today outlining how London is attempting to improve safety for its growing numbers of cyclists.

A 150 per cent increase in the number of cyclists has been seen in London since 2000.

All highway maintenance firms working on London’s roads are to fit blind spot mirrors and detection equipment by the end of the year, while Hendy is urging the haulage industry to urge further safety boosting action.

At the London Assembly’s Functional Body Question Time at City Hall today, Johnson will urge cyclist to avoid cycling on the inside of a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV).

“Every single death or serious incident involving a cyclist on our roads is a tragedy,” said Johnson. “And while we have made a great deal of progress over the last ten years to reduce these very sad occurrences, we are determined to make London’s roads even safer. This is not just about delivering the vast array of improvements we have committed to, but it is also about drivers and cyclists taking extra care.

"So, I urge every motorist, especially lorry and truck drivers, to please always look out for cyclists, and I implore cyclists to stay safe, don’t stay next to a HGV.”

During 2011 there have been 14 cycling fatalities in London. Seven of those involved HGVs or tipper trucks. One of those tragic deaths took place on one of the new Cycle Superhighways last month, leading to criticism of the paths, and cycle safety policy in the capital.

London’s Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy, said: “Improving cycle safety across London is something that the Mayor and TfL is working flat out to deliver. However, despite strong progress, this is something that the whole of London needs to help with to ensure significant change is delivered.

“Every London business, whether they are manufacturing, delivering or selling goods and services in London, has a role to play in ensuring that the vehicles they use adhere to best practice and that their drivers get the message to take care around cyclists.

“By ensuring safety technology and additional driver training are written into company guidelines, we can all work together to further reduce accidents on the capitals roads.”

TfL said it has delivered against 31 (of 52) actions identified in the Cycle Safety Action Plan last year. They are listed below (in TFL’s own words):

  • A £100 million investment during 2010/11 in cycling schemes, which included a range of safety action such as the provision of cycle safety programmes, new cycle lanes, advance stop lines at traffic junctions across London and blind spot safety mirrors at key locations along the Barclays Cycle Superhighways.
  • All of TfL’s highway maintenance contractors working on London’s major roads have now agreed to ensure that their entire fleets have blind spot mirrors, detection equipment and that drivers undergo a cycle awareness training course by the end of 2011. TfL has also ensured that the contractors also agreed to work with their supply chain to introduce similar measures and encourage them to sign up to TfL’s Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS).
  • London’s Transport Commissioner has written to key freight associations including the Freight Transport Association, Road Haulage Association and Construction Excellence, calling for more to be delivered by the freight industry. All fleet operators in London need to ensure that they are training drivers to look out for cyclists, as well as ensuring that their vehicles are installed with adequate safety equipment.
  • TfL provided cycle training to 735 employees at 194 businesses as part of the Barclays Cycle Superhighway business offering, and have provided funding for the boroughs to train more than 48,000 people during 2010/11.
  • TfL worked with the Freight Transport Association to develop a Cycling Code for its members in partnership with the London Cycling Campaign, Met Police and the Institute of Advanced Motorists.
  • Additional guidance for highway contractors is currently being produced by TfL on providing sufficient space for cyclists at roadworks. This new guidance will ensure better consideration is given to vulnerable road users while street works are taking place across London and forms a key part of the Mayors new Roadworks Pledge.
  • TfL is also providing detailed guidance to help fleet operators identify and compare different HGV safety technologies, including CCTV monitors, in-cab alerts and audible blind spot warning systems. A number of discounts have also been negotiated by TfL to enable operators to install the new safety equipment at the best possible price available.
  • TfL has created a new Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) training module specifically written for freight drivers in London. The new Safe Urban Driving course, which builds onto TfL’s previously accredited Safe London Driving course, combines classroom based lessons with on-bike cycle training to allow drivers to understand and anticipate the risks facing cyclists when driving in London. More than 1,000 drivers have undertaken TfL’s Safe London Driving course to date and funding has been secured to train a further 3,000 drivers across London during 2011/12.
  • TfL has also carried out a number of road safety awareness campaigners in recent years, specifically targeting both cyclists and drivers across London.
  • A central message of TfL’s awareness campaigns is that all drivers, especially drivers of heavy goods vehicles, have blind spots where cyclists are invisible. Cyclists should take a visible position well in front or well behind a vehicle at traffic lights and ensure the driver has seen them.

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