London Cyclist

Subscribe to London Cyclist feed
Latest news from the LCC
Updated: 1 hour 18 min ago

Campaigner Awards Winners 2018

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 14:46

Thank you to everyone who attended LCC’s 2018 AGM on Thursday 18th October. One of the highlights of the evening was our Campaigner Awards – an opportunity for us to recognise all the hard work put in by our brilliant campaigners over the last year.

We received a long list of wonderful nominations – testament to the passion and dedication of all the nominees – and choosing just one winner for each category was extremely difficult.

A big thank you to Amy Foster, Chair of CAMS, who helped judge this year’s awards, and Terry Patterson, Chair of LCC’s Board of Trustees, who helped present the awards on the night. 

1. Best Rides and Ride leader

Highly Commended:

Keith Jones - Tower Hamlets Wheelers

Keith has organised a range of well-attended rides, including a full-day ride to Thamesmead, the East End Suffragette history ride, and the revival of Tower Hamlets Wheelers’ summer evening Afterworker Rides. 

Oliver Bruckauf and Enfield Easy Riders – Enfield Cycling Campaign

Oliver is Enfield Cycling Campaign’s ride leader hero. He diligently organises the new and hugely popular Easy Riders programme, planning routes to interesting places which are suitable for all abilities, and leading many of the rides himself.

Arnold Ridout – Newham Cyclists

Newham Cyclists help repair donated bikes and organise rides for children as part of the Ambition, Aspire, Achieve cycle group. The rides are popular with children aged 8 to 13, who get the chance to learn bike handling skills and enjoy seeing new parts of their borough.  

Roger Mace & John Dunn – Kingston Cycling Campaign

Roger and John are a dedicated team who schedule, promote and lead Kingston Cycling Campaign’s 'Bread Pudding' rides, as well as feeder rides for FreeCycle. With 28 rides in the past year, catering for a range of abilities, they consistently attract a large and diverse group of participants.

Winner: Harry Clark – Bexley Cyclists

Harry has organised and led a programme of weekly Healthy Rides for Bexley, with an estimated 100 people taking part so far. 20 different routes have been developed for the programme, all starting in Danson Park in the centre of the borough. All the routes are designed to take in areas of local interest, taking place mainly on quiet roads and cycle paths. The rides have received lots of positive feedback, and inspired several other people to get involved with the programme.

2. Best infrastructure campaign

Highly Commended:

Boston Manor Road Cycleway - Hounslow Cycling Campaign

This is a mile length of dedicated bidirectional cycle path, running from the Hounslow boundary in the North most of the way down to the Great West Road in the South. Against fierce opposition, Hounslow Cycling Campaign were instrumental in improving the detailing of this project and making it fit for purpose.

The A105 in Enfield - Enfield Cycling Campaign

The A105 route was officially completed in March. Enfield Cycling Campaign provided a strong voice of support for the project on social media and in the local press, and also helped organise a hugely successful community ride and launch event in March.

Winner: Stratford Gyratory – Newham Cyclists

Following the London Borough of Newham's successful bid for funding to improve this notorious junction, Newham Cyclists have been involved at all stages of consultation. They have met regularly with council officers to ensure that cycling infrastructure has been a key part of the improvements, as well as working with TfL to ensure that the safety of pedestrians and cyclists was considered whilst the works took place.  The scheme is partially open as of 17th September, with full opening scheduled for 22nd October.

3. Best campaign initiative

Highly Commended:

CS9 (‘Cycle Safely’ Highway 9) – Hounslow Cycling Campaign

Hounslow Cycling Campaign have taken the initiative in calling for better cycling infrastructure in West London, pressing the council and MPs at every opportunity and also helping to campaign over the border in Hammersmith and Fulham.

‘Air Pollution in Sutton’ film – Get Sutton Cycling

John and Ben from Get Sutton Cycling researched, edited and produced a short film entitled 'Air Pollution in Sutton: How it affects you and how cycling can help' and aimed at councillors in the borough. The film received positive responses from a number of councillors, and John and Ben hope to produce a follow-up on the benefits of active travel in the borough.

Winner: Election campaign - Tower Hamlets Wheelers

For the May 2018 Mayoral and local elections, Tower Hamlets Wheelers produced a detailed cycling manifesto setting out what they would like to see achieved in the borough by 2022. This included three main asks for the council: significant new cycle routes, low traffic neighbourhoods, and bicycle parking. Copies of the manifesto were distributed to all mayoral candidates and current councillors, and the content received an overwhelmingly positive response. The culmination of Tower Hamlets Wheelers’ local election campaign was organising the Tower Hamlets Cycling and Walking Mayoral Hustings at Limehouse Town Hall in April.  Five of the six mayoral candidates, representing all the major parties, attended the event and publicly signed up to the manifesto. Since the election, the group's interaction with local councillors has increased markedly, and the positive response to the manifesto has increased the group’s focus on political lobbying.

4. Best family-friendly event

Highly Commended:

Walthamstow Family Bike Club Newcomers Ride - Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign

The Newcomers ride is a new initiative from Walthamstow Family Bike Club, designed for new riders and those who want to gain more confidence. The rides are fully-marshalled and take advantage of some of the quiet streets created by the Waltham Forest Mini-Holland. The Bike Club has also worked with the council to ensure that participants can borrow cycles from the council if they don’t have their own.

"Back in the Saddle" - Hounslow Cycling Campaign

Hounslow Cycling Campaign were approached by a resident asking if there were any courses to help parents cycling with their children to school. Realising there was a gap in the training, they worked with the council to create 'Back in the Saddle', a course designed to help parents cycle with their kids. They have already run one course, with second planned for November. 

Biking Belles - Hounslow Cycling Campaign

This is an initiative run by activist Fatima Ahmed with a little help from Hounslow Cycling Campaign and the London Bike Hub. The group meets for twice-weekly cycle training at Hounslow Civic Centre, where more than sixty people, mainly women, have been taught to cycle. Community leaders from the local mosque have also got involved in the training sessions. 

Bike from Boleyn – Newham Cyclists

This event was developed with supporters of West Ham and a Boleyn ward councillor, with the intention of maintaining links between the original home of the team and the new home at the Olympic Stadium. Newham Cyclists provide the leader and the marshals for the event, making sure everyone has a good time and arrives safely. The ride is an extremely positive community event, attracting a large and diverse group of participants. 

Winner: Try-a-Bike at Palmers Green Festival – Enfield Cycling Campaign

This is the third time that Enfield Cycling Campaign, along with Better Streets for Enfield, has run a try-a-bike event at the ever popular Palmers Green Festival, and this year was the most successful yet. The cycles on offer included an adult trike, a cargo bike, a cargo trike, Circe Helios duo and trio tandems (designed for families), e-bikes, folding bikes, and many more. The event was one of the most popular at the festival, with hundreds of people trying out cycles and lots of positive feedback. The council were highly impressed, and are keen for Enfield Cycling Campaign to run similar events around the borough, and are also open to considering running a family cycling library as a result.

5. Campaigner of the Year

Dan Kelly and Gen Ford – Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign

Dan has been one of Waltham Forest Mini-Holland's greatest cheerleaders, playing a central role in mobilising his local community to back the proposals for the Blackhorse Village scheme, and continuing to liaise with councillors and officers to ensure that Mini-Holland keeps progressing. Meanwhile, Gen has been integral to the mobilisation of local residents in Markhouse Village, which was the last “village” in Waltham Forest's Mini-Holland scheme to be consulted on, and also the area with the most organised opposition.

Nick Moffitt - Ealing Cycling Campaign

Nick has made a remarkable contribution to cycling in Ealing and Hounslow. He has played an instrumental role in the CS9 campaign, as well as leading the organisation of the David Eales Memorial Ride for the past three years and helping to fundraise for LCC.

Selena Calder and Grant Gahagan – Haringey Cycling Campaign

Since taking over as joint coordinators of Haringey Cycling Campaign in Spring 2017, Selena and Grant have built the group up into an effective advocate for active travel in the borough. As well as noticeable improvement for cycling delivered on the ground via the Quick Wins programme, they have also built up good working relationships with officers in the local council and influenced Haringey's 2018 transport strategy.   

John Chamberlain – Camden Cycling Campaign

John has been a highly committed and valued member of LCC for many years, and this year, he was the main supporter at the Tavistock Place Public Inquiry, preparing and organising witnesses and skilfully representing the organisation, the result of which is that the with flow tracks are now permanent. John has also been instrumental in the upcoming two-way Midland–Judd cycle route across Euston Road. 

Matt Stephen – Kingston Cycling Campaign 

Matt has stepped into the role of council liaison for the mini-Holland projects in Kingston, effectively managing the “critical friend” relationships with the officers there. His dedication in driving for improvements on schemes are bearing fruit, with reviews and improvements seen on schemes across Kingston. 

Winner: Michael Robinson

Michael has played a key role in running the Hounslow CS9 campaign. A major scheme like this can be a trying time for a local group, requiring somebody to manage the difficult task of liaising between the borough, TfL, and activists old and new. Michael has stepped up and proven himself a tireless organiser, unflappable strategist, and friendly leader, setting a fantastic example for other campaigners.

Categories: London

Westminster’s Oxford Street area plan too weak

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 13:06

After rejecting Mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street, Westminster Council pledged to present plans later this year, stating that “doing nothing to improve the area is not an option”. 

On Wednesday, they finally released their vision for the area. But their strategy amounts to little more than a collection of potential schemes that are wholly inadequate in addressing the primary issue facing Oxford Street, the west end and indeed central London – too much motor vehicle traffic.

The proposed measures to reduce or curb unnecessary motor vehicle journeys are insufficient to deliver the scale of improvements that cramped pedestrians, struggling businesses, cyclists facing road danger and residents suffering illegally poor air quality deserve. Westminster Council is proposing spending at least £150 million on a do as little as possible option.

Most tellingly, the key recommendations to reduce motor traffic include vague statements such as “encouraging use of public transport, walking and cycling” and to “improve and address existing traffic congestion issues on the surrounding road network to provide less incentive for rat-running”. Such blandishments alone will do little to actually reduce motor traffic volumes. “Encouraging” more people to walk, cycle and use public transport, without meaningful reductions in the dangers presented by an excess of motor vehicles is an approach proven to fail. And the latter recommendation, also known as “smoothing traffic flow” is actually likely to increase motor traffic volumes, given evidence around “induced demand” and “traffic evaporation”.

Westminster is only giving lip-service to measures such as traffic restrictions, modal filters, 20mph and lower speed limits. This strategy gives no commitment to actually use these tools to the extent needed to effect genuinely transformative reductions in motor traffic speeds and volumes. Contrast this with the bold and ambitious transport strategy, just published by the City. Westminster’s leadership could learn a lot from their neighbours.

Pollution, congestion and road danger threaten Oxford Street’s position as a world-class destination. These plans show a complete lack of ambition from Westminster Council to stop the rot. Residents, businesses and all of London deserve much better.

Categories: London

Don’t weaken planned vehicle safety measures – say leading academics and safety experts.

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 11:56

Don’t weaken planned vehicle safety measures – say leading academics and safety experts.

Leading road danger reduction and safety organisations and academics have written to key committees of the European Parliament and to national delegates asking them not to weaken EU Commission proposals to improve vehicle safety, including designs to remove blind spots in lorries.

See below for how you can ask your MEP (Member of European Parlaiment)  to support the safety measures and not allow them to be weakened.

The letter is a response to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA)’s attempts to weaken the European Commission’s proposals on new vehicle safety measures.

The full letter is here. It is signed by:

Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director, European Transport Safety Council

David Ward, President and CEO, Towards Zero Foundation

Prof. Oliver Carsten, Professor of Transport Safety, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds

Stephen Russell, Secretary General,ANEC, the European consumer voice in standardization

Paolo Cestra, President, TISPOL, the European Traffic Police Network

Bernhard Ensink, Secretary General,European Cyclists’ Federation

 William Todts, Executive Director, Transport & Environment

 Jeannot Mersch, President, FEVR, European Federation of Road Traffic Victims

 Karen Vancluysen, Secretary General,POLIS, Cities and Regions for Transport Innovation

 Geert van Waeg, President, International Federation of Pedestrians

 Prof. Pete Thomas, Loughborough University

It includes the following includes a paragraph about improving direct vision:

Direct Vision: better driver reaction times

The Commission proposal includes direct vision requirements for trucks and buses, which would mean automotive companies sell vehicles where the driver can see more of the road space around their vehicle. “Direct vision” is the term given to what drivers can see directly through the windows of their vehicle. This is different to “indirect vision”, which is what a driver sees on a monitor or in a mirror. ACEA claims that a sensor system that detects cyclists or pedestrians is more effective. Seeing something “directly” though has been proven to increase reaction speeds by 0.7 seconds. In practice, improving reaction speeds by 0.7 seconds means a reduction of 5 meters in stopping distance if a vehicle is traveling at 25 km/h. 5 meters of additional travel before stopping can be the difference between life and death.

Furthermore, surveys have shown that cyclists and pedestrians feel a greater sense of safety when they can make eye contact with truck drivers. This is a more effective safety solution than only having sensors, as sensors can be ignored or require time to identify the source of the alert. Sensors have a key role in improving truck safety, most importantly in areas of the truck where direct vision is not possible.

 

If you want to alert your MEPs (London has 8 MEPs) to the letter you can send this link https://etsc.eu/letter-aceas-attempts-to-weaken-the-european-commissions-proposals-on-new-vehicle-safety-measures/ to them.

The London MEPs are (with emails below)

Claude Moraes(Con), Syed Kamall(Con), Mary Honeyball(Lab), Gerard Batten (UKIP), Lucy Anderson (Lab), Charles Tannock (Con), Seb Dance (Lab); Jean Lambert (Green)

office@claudemoraes.com ;syed.kamall@ep.europa.eu; mary@maryhoneyball.net; gerard.batten@btinternet.com; office@lucyanderson.org; charles@charlestannock.com; seb.dance@ep.europa.eu; jeanlambert@greenmeps.org.uk

Full details of MEPs are here: 

Categories: London

Mayor launches three new Quietways, but where’s the quality?

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 12:21

(The video was shot with information that the Mayor would attend the launch, but he did not.)

Today, at the junction of Newcomen Street and Borough High Street, the Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, formally opened three new sections of Quietway on behalf of the Mayor of London.

The new sections are on the routes of Quietway 14 in Southwark, Quietway 22 in Newham and Quietway 6 in Redbridge. All three new sections have elements of high-quality cycling infrastructure to add to London’s growing list. However all three Quietways fail at key moments repeatedly and stand in stark contrast to the high-quality and continuous protected cycle tracks that are successfully increasing cycling rates in central London.

The current low quality of the Quietways programme stands in contrast to the Mayor’s commitment to make London a “byword for cycling”, in part by meeting the promise he made to LCC to triple the mileage of protected space for cycling on main roads during his first term – a commitment he is currently on track to dramatically undershoot.

We know quiet streets, and indeed Quietways, do increase the number of people cycling and will be a vital part of the cycling network – not all journeys will be on main roads. “Low traffic neighbourhoods” in Hackney, Waltham Forest and elsewhere demonstrate clearly what happens when you do it right by closing off through routes to motor traffic across an area – walking and cycling levels go up dramatically with a wider range of people doing both, the community flourishes and kids play out. And the same approach as in Hackney and Waltham Forest is now being advocated in the City of London’s amazing transport strategy, and indeed is used partially along Quietway 14.

The issue, however, is that the interventions and infrastructure that make a Quietway quiet (like the bollard stopping through motor traffic that Will Norman stood beside on Newcomen Street), aren’t along the whole of the routes. On Quietway 14, the genuinely quiet, filtered areas of the route are bookended by ratruns where taxis, mopeds, delivery vans and those cycling all mix together across complex junctions with poor sightlines. The same route, nearby, in both directions, is anything but quiet.

Until Quietways offer long, continuous sections of quiet and comfortable riding, that do not involve long and excessive detours, they will not enable a wider range of people to cycle, nor will they enable London to become a “byword for cycling”. The City of London clearly recognises what is needed to make a street “quiet” enough for cycling going forward. Does the Mayor? Not on the basis of what we have seen announced today.

Not only are Quietways often not quiet, the quality of them seems to be dependent on the borough they run through. Quietways can be excellent as they pass through one borough, only to fall apart when they cross into a neighbouring borough. And that exposes another weakness in the Mayor’s plans: while the City of London, Waltham Forest, Enfield, Hounslow and others move forward on cycling and walking, other boroughs such as Westminster are dragging their heels or fighting against schemes. And this shows in Quietways – whose quality is more often than not decided by the borough’s ambition on cycling, rather than a common quality bar or design guide. That’s not directly his fault, but the Mayor needs to start playing hardball with boroughs who don’t step up.

We want more quiet routes such as Quietways. We want more protected cycle tracks on main roads, as we were promised. We don’t want more delays, or dodgy claims of hundreds of kilometres of cycling ”infrastructure”, when most of those kilometres don’t provide the traffic reduction needed to attract more people, and a wider range of them, to cycle.

Our press release on this issue, released today, is here.

 

Categories: London

Sadiq’s new Quietways a “substandard distraction” say LCC

Thu, 10/11/2018 - 10:41

Today, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced the opening of significant sections of three Quietways schemes in Southwark, Newham and Redbridge. But, says the London Cycling Campaign, these sections all exhibit significant flaws which highlight the ongoing failure of the Quietways programme to deliver continuous, end-to-end routes that are quiet and direct enough to encourage many more people, and a far wider range, of people to cycle.

LCC’s Infrastructure expert Simon Munk said:

“On current rate of progress the Mayor is already set to dramatically undershoot the promise he made to triple the mileage of segregated cycle lanes in London. Now it seems that TfL are offering a substandard Quietway programme as a distraction. A proper network of both segregated lanes and genuine Quietways are essential to meeting the Mayor’s promise to make London a ‘byword for cycling’. Unless the Mayor urgently gets a grip on this, his cycling legacy will be one of promises unfulfilled.”

Today’s opening also stands in stark contrast to the recent announcement of the City’s draft Transport Strategy, whose unambiguous commitment to international standard segregated lanes and genuinely traffic-quietened streets exposes TfL’s timidity and illustrates what the Mayor should be demanding.

The City’s Transport Strategy (full version here, our summary here) not only proposes a 15mph speed limit across the entire borough by 2024, but also aims to reduce motor traffic inside the City by 25% by 2030 and 50% by 2044. In part, the City says it will achieve this by introducing both a Zero Emissions Zone and road-user charging to replace the congestion charge, if the Mayor doesn’t do so himself. The City also proposes truly quiet cycle routes – making all roads in the borough either low traffic (less than 150 motor vehicles in the peak hour) or building 2m wide protected cycle tracks along them.

The timidity of TfL’s Quietways are also exposed by what Hackney and Waltham Forest have recently achieved - truly quiet cycle routes as part of what LCC calls “low traffic neighbourhoods”. The Mayor’s Transport Strategy talks of these approvingly; but the evidence is clear – when boroughs refuse to reduce motor traffic , TfL fund their Quietways regardless. It’s time for the Mayor to say enough is enough.

A blog with further detail on the Quietways announcment will follow shortly.

Categories: London

City Transport Strategy a major win on cycling

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 18:53

The City of London’s draft Transport Strategy, due for ratification by the Planning and Transportation Committee on 30 October, is quite a document.

You can read it in full here: http://democracy.cityoflondon.gov.uk/documents/s102969/Draft%20TS%20Local%20Plan%20Sub%20091018%20combined.pdf

This is a visionary strategy that clearly puts walking, cycling and public transport at the top of the transport hierarchy, to both keep the City moving and also keep it globally competitive, as cities strive to attract the best talent by increasing the quality of urban spaces. It means that, like Waltham Forest and Enfield in outer London, the City is set to become a beacon of best practice on Healthy Streets, walking and cycling in London.

Hot on the heels of the bold and hugely successful Bank Junction scheme being made permanent, this document demonstrates political will and nous far in excess of its neighbours (such as Westminster Council). It also sends a strong signal to TfL and the Mayor of London who continue to roll out substandard Quietways whilst falling behind on delivering the tripling of protected space promised to LCC’s #signforcycling campaign.

The City is set to be a byword for cycling. But unless Sadiq takes urgent action, the rest of London won’t be.

The key edited highlights:

The image above is the proposed core cycle network that, when complete, will be either on streets with less than 150 motor vehicle movements in its peak hour (which is broadly in line with LCC’s policy on motor traffic volumes of less than 2,000 Passenger Car equivalent Units or PCUs daily), or with 2 metre wide protected cycle tracks (with a minimum “effective width” of 1.5m) per direction of travel.

Nearly every door in the City will be within 250m of the core network. The other streets in the City, i.e. those not on the core cycle network will by 2040 (one year before the key targets in the current Mayor’s Transport Strategy) have fewer than 150 motor vehicles per hour.

Half of all streets – the side streets mostly, not the core cycling network – will be “pedestrian priority” – these will limit access to motor vehicles, likely removing through vehicle access. Any cycle bans will be on a case by case basis, where pedestrian footfall is expected to be huge, and widths are too narrow.

By 2024, the entire City will be subject to a 15mph speed limit. And motor traffic is expected to be reduced 25% by 2030 and 50% by 2044. Motorised freight traffic will be cut by 30% by 2044, and likely facing peak-time bans – it’ll be replaced by consolidation centres and last mile walking and cycling deliveries.

The City also proposes extensive safety measures, including a hit list of its worst junctions to achieve “Vision Zero” – no fatalities or serious injuries on its roads – by 2040.

The City also intends to push government and the Mayor of London on commitments for issues beyond its control. It will support for British Cycling’s “Turning the Corner” campaign for national legislation to require all traffic to “give way at turn” on our roads. This would vastly simplify the design of most junctions to be better for walking and cycling.

Regarding the Mayor, the City expects commitments in the next election manifesto for both a central London Zero Emissions Zone and smart road-user pricing as a successor to the congestion charge. If the Mayor doesn’t deliver in the next term, the City is going to implement both without him.

Categories: London

Mayor’s timeline on junctions doesn’t add up

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 16:20

Following our hand-in of nearly 3,000 signatures to our "Fix the Junctions" petitionLondon Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon pressed Mayor Sadiq Khan on his progess on the most dangerous junctions.

The Mayor had pledged during our Sign for Cycling campaign, prior to his election, to not just triple the mileage of protected space on main roads but also fix our worst junctions. Following Pidgeon's grilling, he has produced a timetable of the junction improvements he and TfL plan to carry out. And the timetable is deeply worrying.

Liberal Democrat, Pidgeon, asked what progress had been made on London’s most dangerous junctions – in both the 77 Safer Junctions programme that the Mayor created and the 33 Better Junctions his predecessor, Boris Johnson instigated.

Our page on the junctions programmes (https://lcc.org.uk/pages/tfls-better-junctions-scheme) carries all the details. But this week, Khan’s responses on the Better Junctions programme highlighted some very worrying issues:

  1. Many of the remaining junctions on the “Better Junctions” list feature worryingly long delays before anything is proposed to be done.
    Some of these junctions are known to be lethal or very dangerous. For instance, the Woolwich Road/A1020 junction, which is known locally as the “crossing of death” has claimed two people cycling in the last ten years: Adrianna Skrzypiec in 2009 and Edgaras Cepura this year. Yet the junction isn’t even due to get construction begun until late 2021 (although that is “indicative”).
  2. Many of these junctions also won’t even be started until after this Mayoral term.
    King’s Cross, that has already been consulted on once, won’t start until 2021. Both ends of Lambeth Bridge, which are deemed some of the most dangerous bits of road in London, aren’t due until the start of 2020. Vauxhall Cross, again long past consultation stage, won’t start until May 2020. Wandsworth Town Centre, also long past consultation, won’t start until July 2021.
  3. Westminster City Council are clearly having a massive, negative effect on safe cycling inside their borough.
    As well as delaying Lambeth Bridge North, they have caused schemes at Marble Arch and Great Portland Street to get kicked into the long grass. Compare this to work in boroughs such as Camden, Newham and Waltham Forest, where major junction redesigns are being worked through rapidly, to make things far better for walking and cycling, and Westminster’s inaction and attitude is intolerable, and could well prove fatal.
  4. While the Safer Junctions programme is moving far faster than the Better Junctions programme thus far, again there are big worries that what is being done is nowhere near good enough.
    For instance, while the Fleet Street/Farringdon Street junction is now brilliant and very safe for those cycling north-south on Cycle Superhighway CS6, there’s virtually nothing to help those on Fleet Street itself or Ludgate Circus, or moving east or west from there. Worse, Manor Road/Stamford Hill in Hackney is listed as featuring “significant improvement” but that’s Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs) and little else – on a fast, dangerous multi-lane junction. The Bath Road/The Parkway roundabout in Hounslow also remains a nasty roundabout, with only minor tweaks. These junctions and more on the ticked list will not achieve the Mayor’s aim of “Vision Zero”, reducing serious and fatal road collisions to zero by 2041. They are nowhere near good enough. 
  5. The list remains far too short of junctions.
    Dr Peter Fisher was killed in the Holborn gyratory tangle – none of the Holborn junctions appear on either list, yet he was the fourth cyclist killed in five years in this gyratory.
  6. We are still seeing too weak schemes come forward at dangerous junctions off the list.
    Croydon Fiveways and Vauxhall Nine Elms schemes both featured far too weak junction treatments to achieve the Mayor’s aims.
  7. Too many of these junctions are taking far too long, with delays really not appropriate for the issue.
    Why were works at Tooley Street/London Bridge not ready for the moment Network Rail handed the roads back to TfL, following the redevelopments around the station? The junction has been on the Better Junctions list for years, the timetable for Network Rail works has been known for years, and so TfL have had years to come up with an “interim” design (not currently due in until early spring next year) and a “more transformational redesign”. Why weren’t one of these options ready to go the moment the junction was? Why is design work for Vauxhall Cross, Waterloo, Wandsworth, King’s Cross still in progress, when these schemes were all past consultation ages ago? And why is it when there high-profile collisions or fatalities do we suddenly find that these timetables can be shortened?

It should not take another death to hurry up the Mayor and TfL. They should recognise, without extensive campaigning by us, the Vision Zero action plan as one of the most pressing for road safety in London.

But until that happens, we will keep pushing the TfL and the Mayor to fix these junctions as fast as possible. That’s why it is so important nearly 3,000 of our members and supporters signed our petition on junctions. Please help us keep the pressure on the Mayor to do better on Better Junctions, to make Safer Junctions truly safer, to hurry up making London’s roads safe enough for most people to cycle on. 

Keep up-to-date with the campaign by signing up to our newsletter. 

Categories: London

Private Hire Vehicles to get congestion charged?

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 14:17

Photo credit: Simon Doggett

 

TfL has just finished consulting on proposals to change the central London’s congestion charging – primarily to remove the current exemption for private hire vehicles.

Given that TfL attributes 75% of congestion to ‘excess traffic’, and both black taxis and other PHVs contribute significantly to that as well as to air pollution, we think it’s great news – but does not go far enough. 

You can read our full response to the consultation is here. But in summary, we’ve said:

  • Taxis and any other form of private motor vehicle should not be exempt from congestion charging. 
  • Wheelchair users and other registered disabled people should be entitled to exemptions or reduced fares via a voucher or card scheme.
  • Ultimately, road-user pricing – that adapts to location, time, vehicle emissions and other factors – is vital to reducing overall car use (including private hire and taxi use) in London. By introducing this, the Mayor can free up space for protected space for cycling, and create safer and calmer road conditions, which will enable many more people to walk and cycle.
Categories: London

Mayor calls on EU to accelerate safer lorries regulations

Fri, 09/14/2018 - 17:52

Mayor calls on EU to accelerate safer lorries regulations

In a letter to EU Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska, London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, says the EU should set earlier start dates for regulations that will require manufacturers to build lorries without extensive blind spots.

The EU commission agreed earlier this year that future lorries must be required to have good direct vision (not just via six mirrors that have to be constantly monitored in town), but it set distant dates for the regulations to come into force: 2026 for new lorry models and 2029 for all new lorries.  

The Mayor wants those dates brought forward by two and three years: 2024 for all new model types and 2026 for all new lorries. While some manufacturers, like Dennis Eagle, Mercedes and Scania, already supply lorries with good direct vision the new designs are still not offered by all manufacturers and prices remain higher than for old-style lorries.

Increased production and usage of lorries without blind spots will help achieve the Mayor’s target of zero fatalities and serious injuries on the roads by 2041. Currently lorries are involved in 20% of pedestrian fatalities in London and half of cyclists fatalities. Having direct sight of other road users has been shown to helps drivers avoid collisions.   

Increased production of lorries with good direct vision will also help bring their costs down to those of conventional lorries.

The Mayor has introduced a Direct Vision Standard (rated from 0 to 5 stars) in London and set a deadline of October 2020 for lorry operators in the capital to meet a one star deadline and 2024 for a three star deadline. However, because of limited availability and slow uptake of  the new lorry types, operators of zero star lorries will, on an interim basis, be able to enter London as long as they meet ‘safe system’ mitigating measures which will include having both camera systems and electronic alert systems in place on their vehicles.

LCC has strongly championed the use of lorries with good direct vision and wants them to become the norm in London, as promised by the Mayor. The refuse sector in London has switched almost entirely to five star direct vision lorries and the same is true of airside vehicles. Forward thinking operators such as Tideway, Cemex, Explore Transport and Riney are already using five star lorries for both construction and other freight.

Categories: London

Big win: Bank junction safety scheme made permanent

Thu, 09/13/2018 - 16:36

The City of London Corporation’s Court of Common Council has voted to make the Bank on Safety scheme permanent. This trial has proved that with political will councils can gain major safety, pollution-abatement, and quality of life benefits from reducing motor traffic and encouraging walking and cycling. LCC has long campaigned for action at Bank and congratulates the City for this major step forward.

The experimental 18 month scheme had banned all through motor traffic from the previously notoriously dangerous and complex seven-armed junction 7 am – 7pm Monday to Friday, bar buses. The scheme has reduced collisions at and around the junction, improved bus journey times and has dramatically improved the junction for all users.

It was, introduced in May 2017, followed concerted campaigning over many years from London Cycling Campaign, including a protest following the death of Ying Tao at the junction in 2015. The City have acted to make the scheme permanent despite intensive lobbying against it.

“London Cycling Campaign has long campaigned for action to make Bank junction safer, and gave our support to the Bank on Safety trial from the start,” said Fran Graham, Campaigns Coordinator, LCC. “We are delighted that the City of London Corporation has now made the scheme permanent. This bold scheme has proved its worth, changing a hostile and dangerous junction into a space people can enjoy, while walking and cycling far more safely. We look forward to plans to improve the iconic space further, and to see many more such schemes to liberate the City’s streets for everyone.”

In the City’s press release, Planning and Transportation Chairman, Chris Hayward also said: “It is a dream come true to see the Bank junction monitoring area become a safer place for members of the public to enjoy. Compliance to the scheme is currently at 96%. Additional measures will be explored to further improve the scheme’s performance and reach that end goal of 100% compliance at the junction. This would inspire City workers, visitors and residents to truly enjoy the iconic surroundings such as the Bank of England and the Royal Exchange. I look forward to applying our learnings from this project and continuing to spearhead positive changes across the Square Mile after the City Corporation unveils its 25-year Transport Strategy next year.”

Now that Bank on Safety has been made permanent, the City will likely move forward with its “All Change at Bank” vision for the area. LCC hopes that this will include further radical changes to Bank, potentially including removing the buses and improving conditions further, claiming back road space, improving the crossings and more.

While Bank may finally be on track to being a place for people, not traffic, too many other junctions in London remain lethal to those walking or cycling. The changes at Bank have taken all of the campaigning clout and resources of London Cycling Campaign and the positive and progressive attitudes of City officers and politicians. But too often this is not the case elsewhere. Action to fix the worst junctions in London have seen delays, derailment and or no action at all. At best, these junctions are huge barriers to more people walking and cycling, at worst, they can prove lethal.

That’s why we are pushing the Mayor to meet his Sign for Cycling commitment and fix the 33 most dangerous junctions much faster.  https://lcc.org.uk/articles/thousands-call-for-mayor-to-save-lives-at-dangerous-junctions

Categories: London

LCC Reaction to Judicial Review of CS11

Thu, 09/13/2018 - 14:00

LCC is very disappointed that today’s result of the Judicial Review called by Westminster Council of the planned new Cycle Superhighway 11 has kicked this vital segregated cycle route into touch. In calling a halt to the scheme the judge has clearly said that there were procedural problems in the way TfL has taken CS11 forward. That shouldn’t have happened and TfL needs to sort itself out.

But this case has also shown that Westminster Council is seeking to lay down endless conditions for supporting CS11 - including as regards what happens in other boroughs - revealing that they actually don’t want to see it happen at all. The real casualty in all of this is the public for whom an essential safe cycling route will be further delayed.

TfL needs to improve, but Westminster Council must stop using procedural tactics to veto cycling schemes and instead demonstrate genuine commitment to reducing the congestion that is blighting our city by making it safer and easier for Londoners to cycle.

Categories: London

Mayor must save lives at dangerous junctions say 3,000

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 14:45

The London Cycling Campaign has today handed-in a petition from nearly 3,000 Londoners to Mayor Sadiq Khan, calling on him to fix London’s most dangerous junctions faster. (This, and below from LCC's press release.)

Khan had pledged during LCC’s Sign for Cycling election campaign to complete the Better Junctions programme by the end of his first term in 2020. But LCC says progress on some of the most dangerous junctions in London has been far too slow for him to keep that promise.

Of the 33 Better Junctions in the programme started by the previous Mayor Boris Johnson, less than half have seen improvement. Of the remainder, 11 have seen plans consulted on, but remain in limbo, yet to begin constructed. And there are seven junctions, including the Woolwich Road roundabout where Edgaras Cepura died earlier this year, that have seen no progress at all. Many of these junctions are already proven to be lethal to cyclists and pedestrians; the lack of progress on the programme risks more cyclists and pedestrians being seriously injured and killed while London waits for action.

Since election, while progress on the Better Junctions programme has been at a near standstill, Khan has also announced a Safer Junctions programme including over 70 further dangerous junctions. Again, however, far too few of these schemes are moving forward, and those that have been completed (over 20 of the junctions were announced having already had “significant improvement… within the last three years”) are mostly still too unsafe for vulnerable road users.

The LCC petition calls on Mayor Sadiq Khan, and his new Deputy Mayor for Transport, Heidi Alexander, to bring all junctions in the Safer and Better Junctions programmes up to international quality standards, publishing a timescale for doing so.

LCC’s petition has been signed by nearly 3,000 people, and over 500 people also joined an LCC protest on dangerous junctions at Holborn on 20th August following the fatal collision with Dr Peter Fisher there.

“We continue to welcome the Mayor’s commitment to making London a byword for cycling. But his specific promise to fix London’s most dangerous junctions is at serious risk of not being fulfilled. Lives are at stake. The 3,000 Londoners who have signed this petition want the Mayor to tell TfL that progress has been unacceptable and to prioritise delivery of this promise. ” said Ashok Sinha, Chief Executive, London Cycling Campaign.

The current status of most Better Junctions and Safer Junctions can be found here.

Categories: London

Local Group News: September 2018

Thu, 09/06/2018 - 12:58

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 receive 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: getinvolved@lcc.org.uk

 

Categories: London

Going Dutch! The David Eales Memorial Rides cycles again this year from London to Amsterdam

Tue, 09/04/2018 - 12:53

A tour to the Dutch cycling city is a must says Nick Moffitt - and there's still time to join the 2018 ride

You'd  probably  never  guess  that  I  could  make  the  350  miles  to  Amsterdam  just  by  looking  at  me.  And  when  people  find  out  that  I've  made  the  journey  twice  on  my  heavy  Dutch  omafiets('grannybike')  I  do  get  a  raised  eyebrow  or  two.So  how  did  an  out-of-shape  dad  manage  to  lead  a  rag-tag  band  of  commuters  and  monthly  social  riders  on  an  award-winning  (the  ride  won  a  2017  London  Cycling  Award)  international  cycling  adventure?Well  I'll  let  you  in  on  my  big  secret...  it's  far  easier  than  it  looks.

For  most  people,  the  David  Eales  Memorial  Ride  is  their  first  long-distance  or  non-UK  tour.  We  spend  two  days  riding  through  Belgium  and  two  through  the  Netherlands,  with  an  optional  two-day  'prequel'  ride  from  London  to  Dover  for  the  more  committed.

We  cycle  on  smooth  protected  cycleways  beside  canals,  railway  lines  and  roadways.It's  not  uncommon  for  riders  to  cry  out  "I  wish  our  borough  had  something  like  this!",  or  "We  should  get  our  council  out  here  to  see  how  it's  done!"

My  involvement  began  when  I  first  spotted  an  ad  for  an  LCC-managed  fundraising  ride  from  London  to  Amsterdam  in  the  pages  of  this  magazine.  A  number  of  us  who  had  registered  took  over  planning  when  LCC  had  to  cancel  the  event  at  the  last  minute. I  reached  out  to  David  Eales,  prominent  member  of  LCC's  Ealing  borough  group,  who  intended  to  travel  on  his  recumbent  tricycle.  David  helped  us  get  our  plan  for  the  trip  together,  but  his  most  important  lesson  was  not  to  overcomplicate  things.  He  taught  me  that  once  you  have  lodgings  and  ferry  tickets  sorted  out,  the  rest  of  it  is  really  just  getting  on  bikes  and  pedalling.

Sadly,  David  died  from  Stevens-Johnson  Syndrome  that  summerand  he  never  got  to  join  us  on  the  trip.  We  decided  to  dedicate  the  Amsterdam  ride  to  his  memory.  We  filled  the  empty  spot  on  the  ride  at  David's  wake and  in  September  of  2016  six  of  us  cycled  to  that  beautiful  Dutch  city.

ABOVE: our route from London, via the Dover-Dunkerque ferry crossing, and on through Belgium and the Netherlands to Amsterdam.

The 2017 Ride

Four  veterans  of  the  2016  journey  joined  nine  new  riders  for  last  year's  return  outing.  Among  our  mixed  fleet  were  three  Dutch-style  upright  commuter  bicycles,  two  recumbent  tricycles,  and  one  Brompton  folder.  To  see  us  go  past,  you'd  never  guess  how  much  distance  we'd  end  up  covering.

Six  of  us  made  the  extra  two-day  trip  from  London,  starting  at  Parliament  Square  and  enjoying  the  lovely  cycling  facilities  of  Cycle  Superhighways  3  and  6  along  the  Embankment  and  Blackfriars  Bridge.  Quietway  1's  best stretches took us to Greenwich, and once we crossed into the Eastern Hemisphere we followed  the  quiet  back  roads  of  Bexleyheath  toward  National  Cycle  Network  route  1.

Lunch  on  the  first  day  was  a  stop  at  the  cafe  in  the  fantastic  Cyclopark  on  National  Cycle  Network  route  177  in  Kent  —  a  stretch  of  the  old  disused  A2  alignment  that's  now  something  of  a  handy  protected  bypass  route  for  some  of  the  squirrelly  bits  of  NCN1.

We  stayed  the  night  in  Whitstable,  sleeping  through  Storm  Aileen  and  waking  up  to  clear  skies  and  a  brisk  tailwind.  We  felt  relaxed  as  we  climbed  hills  through  picturesque  forest  via  the  Crab  and  Winkle  Way,  a  converted  railway  track.  We  soon  passed  through  Canterbury  to  glide  eastward  toward  Sandwich  and  the  coast.  A  quick  stop  for  fish  and  chips  in  Deal  left  us  plenty  of  time  to  cruise  up  the  gentler  (though  longer)  eastern  slope  of  the  Dover  cliffs  against  a  steady  headwind.

At  a  hotel  bar  near  the  port  of  Dover  we  gathered  all  but  one  of  our  number  and  rolled  in  together  to  board  the  ferry  to  Dunkerque.  A  simple  two-hour  crossing  and  we  were  settled  in  for  the  night  at  an  inexpensive  hostel  near  the  French  ferry  terminal.

Before  setting  off  the  following  day  we  gave  the  bikes  and  kit  a  final  check,  and divided into smaller groups of four to five riders to make our way to Belgium. 

We saw a general improvement in safe cycling provision with each day we travelled. Level terrain, smooth paving, courteous driving and a tendency to take the details seriously made quite a contrast to what we were used to. 

  

Belgian beers and cobbles

My  group  picked  up  our  fourth  rider  at  the  Dunkerque  railway  station  and  we  headed  through  the  forest  to  the  Belgian  border.  No-one  at  the  café  on  the  Belgian  side  batted  an  eye  at  how  early  it  was  for  us  to  have  our  first  celebratory  beers  of  the  day.

For  the  most  part  we  navigated  our  way  through  Belgium  by  following  canals  and  railways.  The  airy  cycle  tracks  beside  the  inland  waterways  of  Flanders  are  a  definite  cut  above  the  gloomy  rubble  we  generally  call  towpaths  in  England.  And  with  the  prevailing  wind  at  our backs,  it  was  an  easy  day's  pedalling  to  Bruges.

Getting  to  and  from  these  straight  routes  was  made  easier  by  the  excellent  knooppuntennetwork.  The  whole  of  Belgium  and  the  Netherlands  is  dotted  with  numbered  signs  representing  locations  on  a  map.  Each  sign  lists  one,  two  or  three  nearby  nodes  with  an  arrow  indicating  whether  to  turn  left,  right,  or  go  straight.

We  wrote  down  sequences  of  numbers  while  planning  the  trip  and  knew  that,  for  example,  '01,  84,  09'  would  take  us  from  the  border  café  to  a  lunch  stop  in  the  town  of  Veurne.  If  we  got  separated  for  some  reason,  we  could  call  each  other  and  quickly  say:  "Let's  all  meet  up  at  knooppunt  08  in  Nieuwpoort,"  and  know  we'd  all  arrive  at  the  exact  same  landmark.

  

Bruges to Antwerp

Bruges  is  the  best-preserved  medieval  town  in  Belgium,  and  it's  a  fantastic  place  for a night out. The cobbles are a bit rough to ride over, so we stored the bikes in our hostel's indoor parking facilities and walked to the central square for dinner. The hostel even had a lovely bar on the ground floor, and some riders decided to just relax and recover from their first long day's ride.

It was with a mix of regret and high spirits that we left Bruges the next morning to make our way to Antwerp. The morning ride was another pleasant canal route to the city of Ghent, with a pit-stop for coffee and cakes at a mouth-watering bakery in the little hamlet of Bellem.

Ghent has recently begun filtering motor traffic out of most of the city centre, which makes it far more pleasant to cycle through. The market square has you spoiled for lunch options, and the biggest challenge is getting the will to leave on schedule.

Alas, my pannier rack had cracked, and we needed to get some parts to help another team with their mild mechanical troubles. As luck would have it Ghent hosts one of the most famous bike shops in Europe: the century-old Plum Gent is not just a simple repair shop, but a piece of cycling history. The staff were too busy to fix our bikes at that moment, but were more than happy to let us use their workshop and tools. We took turns making repairs while the rest explored the adjoining museum of bicycles, some of which date back to the 19th century.

We raced the sunset to Antwerp. Some teams arrived with a little daylight left, but most of us arrived after dark. There are no bridges over the Scheldt here, but the tunnels underneath have levels specifically for cycling across — the lifts up and down are spacious, but it's common for people to just take their bikes on the escalators.

  

Going Dutch at last

The next morning we followed the cycle routes alongside the railway lines north. The Dutch border at Essen posed less of an obstacle than some barriers we navigated on Quietway 1 back in London. While it would be trivial simply to ride on through, it's hard to resist stopping to take a photograph in front of the bollard that separates the two countries.

On arriving in the Netherlands, the approach to the route changes dramatically. Instead of hugging canals or railway lines, you can take your bike to just about any major road and find a lovely cycle track alongside it. We followed the road atlas straight into Roosendaal for lunch, and straight out again towards Rotterdam.

The countryside in south-east Holland is rural, but populated and we rode along raised dikes while schoolchildren passed us on their way home from school. The Haringvliet is a broad estuary that flooded with seawater in the 13th and 15th centuries, and the bridges across it have an entire separate section for cycling and farm vehicles — meaning you can turn your attention to the stunning views without worrying about the high-speed motor traffic on the rest of the structure.

Although Rotterdam has plenty of bridges, the best way to enter it is via the Maastunnel. This impressive structure was built by the United States just after World War II to help restore shipping in the city. Again, spacious lifts are available, but some riders simply can't resist the novelty of joining the locals in taking their bicycles on the escalators.

On the final day we rode from Rotterdam first to a café famous for its apple pie and then pressed on for the final stretch. Even the least athletic of us found that four straight days of constant cycling had built up our endurance and we made good time through farms and greenhouses, past Schiphol airport and into the Amsterdamse Bos.

We emerged briefly onto the streets of Amsterdam before entering the lovely Vondelpark. At long last we pedalled our bikes through the center of the Rijksmuseum and posed for celebratory photos in front of the 'I Amsterdam' sign. It was only at this moment that it sank in just how far we had travelled under our own pedal power. And that we'd finally gone Dutch.

 

THE 2018 RIDE

The David Eales Memorial Ride (named after the late Ealing Cycling Campaign member, pictured left) is an annual event and we're always looking for new riders to share the adventure.

Registration is open all summer for this year's ride, which takes place from 15-18 September (with the optional two-day ride from London on 13-14 September).

When you sign up, you'll get regular info for beginners and experts alike on how to prepare for the journey.

Learn more: lcc.org.uk/londontoamsterdam2018

Email: londontoamsterdam@lcc.org.uk

Categories: London

Hundreds tell the Mayor his inaction #MustEndNow

Tue, 08/21/2018 - 17:23

 

Photo: Daniel Glasser 

Last night, around 500 cyclists gathered, rode and blocked Holborn junction to protest the lack of progress on making London “a byword for cycling”.

The protest ride, organised by LCC, stopped at the infamous junction of High Holborn, Southampton Row and Kingsway for speeches and to lay flowers in memory of the latest fatality in the area. Dr Peter Fisher, 67, was killed just metres from the junction by a lorry on Wednesday 15 August. He is the fourth cyclist to die in the immediate vicinity of this junction, and on the one-way tangle of streets around it, in the last five years. 

Photo: Daniel Glasser 

People gathered on Russell Square from 17:30 on Monday evening, the road gradually filling with cyclists. At 18:00, it set off down Southampton Row, before swinging around the Holborn Gyratory, spreading out to cover all 4 lanes of traffic.

 

Photo: Daniel Glasser 

The ride paused at the junction of High Holborn, Southampton Row and Kingsway, bringing the area to a standstill as bicycle bells rang out.

“The impression of a sea of cyclists keeping a silence loud enough to deafen the traffic noise, near the spot where Peter Fisher lost his life, will remain with me for a long time.  I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to the London Cycle Campaign for marking the loss of one of UK homeopathy’s great champions, and for demanding action to prevent further futile deaths. It was a privilege to be part of this dignified and heartfelt effort. Thank you.” Suse Moebius, Director, Society of Homeopaths

After speeches and a moment of silence while flowers we laid for Dr Fisher, the ride continued around to Bloomsbury Square Gardens.

Dr Fisher’s death follows a pattern of recent fatalities and serious collisions at junctions long-known to be too dangerous, and where action has long been promised, but never delivered. As well as Holborn, and an earlier fatality this year at Woolwich roundabout have highlighted the need for far more urgent action on these notorious collision spots.

The Mayor, Sadiq Khan, not only promised prior to election to make London “a byword for cycling”, he pledged, during LCC’s Sign for Cycling campaign, to triple the mileage of protected cycle tracks on main roads and complete the Better Junctions programme. Since his election, his Transport Strategy has promised a “Vision Zero” for London, with no more collisions that cause fatal or serious injuries by 2041. However, progress on these promises has been far too slow – the few kilometres of track Khan has completed are legacy schemes from Boris Johnson’s mayoralty. And despite putting several junctions through consultation, construction is conspicuously absent – to date, Khan has yet to tame a single junction, while TfL is advancing schemes at places like Camberwell Green, Vauxhall Nine Elms and Croydon Fiveways which clearly fail on safety.

In the case of the Holborn junction, Camden have long called for changes to these streets, but a recent scheme nearby offered little safety improvements for cycling. Even progressive boroughs like Camden are failing to move fast enough and get the funding they need. But many other boroughs are getting away with far worse. Westminster Councillors opposed changes to the notorious Lambeth Bridge north roundabout on the basis (partly) of removal of a palm tree, and are attempting to permanently block Cycle Superhighway 11 from construction. The result of their opposition is that these schemes have stalled. The Mayor does not appear able or willing to deal with boroughs that won’t deliver on cycling and walking safety.

The result is that from Johnson’s 33 “Better Junctions” list, seven remain without plans (including the Woolwich Road/A1020 roundabout, where there has been a fatality this year), 12 have been consulted on and not constructed, and 11 of the 14 that have been finished still feature significant safety issues. Khan has since added a further 77 to the “Safer Junctions” list for improvement, but is yet to complete construction on a junction on that list that was not part of a legacy project.

Prior to a two minutes silence and laying of the flowers, speakers from Camden Cycling Campaign and London Cycling Campaign spoke at the protest:

“I speak for everyone at London Cycling Campaign and the wider cycling community to offer our deepest sympathy at this time. Everyone who cycles and everyone who wants to cycle but sees the danger, cannot help but be affected by this tragedy,” said Terry Patterson, Chair of Trustees, London Cycling Campaign. “We are here to mourn, but we are also here to protest. Dr Fisher died on a route which is known to be dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists. This must end now. Too many times we have been asked to speak at similar vigils across London over the years, when warning signs have been obvious and councils alerted to the danger- but no action has been taken. Delays, inaction and lack of political will are leading directly to deaths and serious injuries on the streets of London. This must end now.”

 

Photo: Chun Chiu

“Sadiq has one and a half years to go. Demand for cycling was growing even as he began his tenure. The evidence for providing space for cycling has never been more overwhelming,” said Steven Edwards, Camden Cycling Campaign. “Sadiq said he likes the idea of a car free day. How about the 15th August? Each year. In commemoration of Dr Peter Fisher? Make ‘Cycle To Work Day’, a car-free day!”

Fran Graham, Campaigns Coordinator, London Cycling Campaign said “The delays, the excuses and the obstruction of projects that will make things safer for cyclists and pedestrians must end now. Road deaths must end now. Political inaction must end now.”

Categories: London

Protest: Monday, 6pm, Holborn – more details to follow

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 13:42

Today we are mourning another cyclist, in another collision with a large vehicle, at another notorious set of junctions, in London.

This time it was High Holborn in Camden, where LCC has already protested, in 2013, following the death of Alan Neve. This is the fourth cycling fatality in this small tangle of one-way streets and junctions in five years.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim today. While we don’t know the cause of this collision, we do know that High Holborn joins a growing list of junctions known to be hostile and dangerous, where in 2018, someone cycling has been killed or seriously injured. Alongside Woolwich Roundabout and Old Street, these are also junctions where action to improve them has been delayed or obstructed.

This is not good enough. In a city which our Mayor has promised will become a ‘byword for cycling’, the progress on delivering safe space for cycling has been unacceptably slow. We need the Mayor to instruct TfL to make good his promise, including the Mayor’s Sign for Cycling pledges to LCC members and supporters, to roll out much more protected cycle tracks fast, and fix the most dangerous junctions as soon as possible.

Join us in protesting at Holborn on Monday, 6PM, to send a strong message to the Mayor, TfL and London’s Councils that they need to pick up the pace. They needs to break this lethal pattern.

More details on the protest to follow - keep up-to-date with them on the Facebook event and here. 

Categories: London

Another day, another junction, another delay, another collision

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 16:37

The depressing cycle of inaction on the most dangerous junctions in London continues. Join us in demanding that ends now in our petition: sign here.

In the last week, there have been three bits of bad news and one bit of good on the progress on making London’s worst junctions far safer.

Bad news: collision at Old Street

Last Wednesday (25 July) a young woman cycling was hit by a cement mixer at the notorious Old Street roundabout. The woman has been left fighting for her life, with severe injuries, and we are waiting for further updates on her condition.

This is a roundabout that Boris Johnson said would be transformed, making it safer for cycling, with work starting in 2016 and being completed in 2018. Since then, however, nothing has been done. Despite huge public support at the 2015 consultation, work has been pushed back, and the junction is now not due to be finished until the end of 2019.

TfL, the Mayor, Islington and Camden councils must urgently answer why this vital, life-saving work has been delayed for years. It would appear that one reason overdue work would be down to finding an architect to transform the central roundabout area itself. But drawings of shiny seating areas don’t save lives – so why haven’t the road layout changes been done in advance of the public realm improvements?

Bad news: Westminster delays Swiss Cottage

Another lethal junction – the infamous Swiss Cottage gyratory – was due to be vastly improved under plans for Cycle Superhighway 11 (CS11). Work, in fact, was due to start this Monday (30th July). However, Westminster Council won an injunction at the last minute to delay work on the gyratory until after a Judicial Review in September.

Westminster Council are joining with local “Stop CS11” campaigners to fight the entire scheme from the gyratory all the way to the west end – because residents are worried about traffic displacing from the route.

If Westminster council successfully does win the Judicial Review, then the scheme at Swiss Cottage will likely be delayed for years – risking many more lives in the meantime. There have been three fatalities in the last 15 years to pedestrians, five serious collisions with cyclists, and overall there’s at least ten injuries a year, with one serious.

Westminster officers sat in meetings with the “Stop CS11” campaigners, TfL and LCC where we all heard how changes to the plans would address the issues Westminster was concerned about. As far as LCC is aware, Westminster has waited until just after the recent local elections to articulated its opposition to the scheme. On top of that, any finding against TfL would open up the potential for boroughs to veto schemes outside their boundaries – no part of the Swiss Cottage gyratory falls inside Westminster.

Meanwhile, inside Westminster’s patch, it remains to be seen how long they will drag their feet on improving Oxford Street, exposing those using it to horrific pollution levels and the dangerous junctions along it.

Good news: the Mayor publishes “Vision Zero” action plan

The Mayor has published new action plans giving interim targets and more details for his plans to transform London’s transport system by 2041. The “Vision Zero” plans to cut deaths and serious injuries to nothing on London roads by then is clear in its approach and how it aligns with our work, such as the Stay Wider of the Rider campaign. It also is clear on the need for an accelerated junctions programme, committing £54 million over the next five years. But is that enough? And what will it be spent on?

Bad news: Walking action plan timeline

The Walking Action plan, that arrived alongside the Vision Zero action plan, worryingly includes a construction timeline that implies key junctions such as Lambeth Bridge North and South, consulted on in 2017, and Vauxhall Cross, consulted on in 2016, won’t complete until 2023. Waterloo South, consulted on in 2017, may not be completed until 2022 and other schemes will similarly not finish (or even start) until after the end of the Mayor’s current term. We’re still unclear about why there is potentially a six year delay between consultation and competition in TfL’s plans.

Years more delays on dangerous junctions, more people in hospital fighting for their life, more families devastated. This simply isn’t good enough, fast enough. Sign our petition now if you want a Mayor who boldly tackles the worst junctions fast.

lcc.org.uk/fixthejunctions

Categories: London

FreeCycle 2018: London's biggest family-friendly free cycling festival.

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 14:38

After a scorching few weeks, the heavens opened the evening before FreeCycle, and those up early on Saturday morning might have looked outside their window with a little trepidation, however it did not deter our amazing volunteers from guiding thousands of cyclists from every borough into FreeCycle 2018.  FreeCycle is a fantastic event in which families can enjoy riding through central London, taking over the roads on an 8-mile course with a majestic background of some of London’s most iconic sights, and the typically changeable British weather brightened up again for the rest of the day.

The riders from Merton had to avoid a tree that fell overnight!

We can’t thank our volunteers and supporters enough as this was an amazing feat which couldn’t have been accomplished without their help. These rides were also an amazing achievement for people unaccustomed to riding great distances. The greatest distances were from borough groups Hillingdon and Havering, whose participants cycled at least a 50 mile round trip, but it’s not only the outer boroughs that saw feats of achievement. One volunteer from Southwark said: ‘Great day out. One 7 year old with us cycled all the way in from Peckham, did a full circuit and rode back: they must have ridden around 19 miles.’

In addition to one ride from every borough (except the City of London), LCC arranged five community rides, including one from Poplar HARCA in Tower Hamlets.

After leading participants to the course, ride marshals gathered at the Green Park rest and refreshment tent before setting off to lead participants safely home again.  

Green Park on Saturday was packed with bicycle lovers enjoying the atmosphere as people spilled off of the route and into the main Festival Zone. LCC’s stand in the Cycling Village with Continental UK was hugely popular and our reflective yellow ‘Stay Wider of the Rider’ slap-wraps proved a big hit with the kids, as did our petition calling on the Department for Transport to raise awareness of the issue and educate the public, so that close passing becomes socially unacceptable. You can still sign the petition, record close passes on our map, and sign up for a sticker here https://staywider.org/

Most importantly, thousands of people who don't normally cycle experienced the fun and freedom of cycling in London, hopefully inspiring them to get on their bikes again and again.

Ride London have already announced the date for FreeCycle next year: Saturday 3rd August. Keep the date free and your eyes peeled to get involved next time!

If you've been bitten by the group cycling bug at RideLondon FreeCycle, check out more LCC-organised events here.

The best way to support LCC so we can do more community rides and activities is by becoming a member.

 

Categories: London

Mayor announces “Vision Zero” plan to cut injuries on our roads

Fri, 07/27/2018 - 18:50

Following on from the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, City Hall and TfL are now publishing a series of “action plans” over specific elements of the strategy – giving some extra substance and interim targets to how London will shift from where it is today to the long-term vision Sadiq Khan has for it in 2041.

The Cycling Action Plan is due out later this year, but there is a lot on cycling and that affects cycling in both the Walking Action Plan and the Vision Zero road danger reduction plan that have come out recently.

However, we don’t believe either the Vision Zero or Walking action plan is strong or bold enough to really put London on track to reach the Mayor’s targets by 2041. We think the Mayor needs to do more and faster. If you agree, please make sure you’re a member, and on top of that, sign our Better Junctions petition today.

Vision Zero action plan

The Mayor’s Transport Strategy includes the laudable aim of eliminating collisions that kill or cause serious injuries from London streets by 2041. But that’s a big task. The action plan details how the Mayor and TfL propose to achieve this.

Firstly, there are loads of useful and sobering statistics and facts in the action plan. For instance: “People are more at risk when walking, cycling or using a motorcycle… these modes now account for 80 per cent of all deaths and serious injuries on London’s roads”. And “In 2016, over a quarter of all trips were made on foot or by bicycle, but in the same year, people walking and cycling made up 53 per cent of those killed and seriously injured on our roads.” And “almost three quarters of fatal and serious injury collisions in London occur at junctions.”

Secondly, the action plan targets and focusses on very similar things to those LCC targets and campaigns on:

  • Reducing danger from the largest vehicles – the action plan puts more detail into plans to ensure “Direct Vision” lorries replace the most dangerous construction lorries, recognises the danger buses pose with a new bus safety standard and bus driver training programmes and says all TfL and Mayoral controlled operators will need to feature FORS Silver accreditation by end of this year and Gold by 2024.
  • 20mph across all TfL’s central London roads by 2020 and further out after, plus a 20mph toolkit for boroughs.
  • A recommitment to the “Safer Junctions” programme, fixing the most dangerous junctions, using £54 million over the next five years.
  • Given over 90% of collisions in London are, according to the Police, down to behaviours such as inappropriate speed, risky manoeuvres and distraction, the document commits the police to a greater focus on road danger. They will have a three-pronged approach including officers deployed “where high-risk traffic offences… are more likely to happen”. In other words we expect more “close pass” operations in line with our #staywider campaign. On top of that, the action plan commits to better cooperation between public bodies over road collision investigation.
  • The action plan also says TfL will monitor the growth of new technologies such as automatic braking and “intelligent speed assistance”, and push for new legislation from the UK government and EU to tackle road danger.
Walking action plan

The headline that has captured press attention is “green authority” – whereby specific junction signals across London can be set to stay on green for pedestrians until a motor vehicle approaches the signals, at which point it will switch (after a delay). This technique has been trialled on two bus-only streets in Hounslow and Morden, but now TfL propose to roll it out to 10 more. We don’t know yet how “green authority” works with cycling – do the signals detect someone on a bike approaching? Does that mean cyclists will always face a red signal and wait (as cars will) if it’s a junction with cycle-specific junctions? And if this approach is a positive thing, then we think TfL can aim to roll it out over more than a measly ten junctions.

The Walking Action Plan also covers TfL already reducing wait times for pedestrians across London, a Strategic Walking Analysis to partner with the Strategic Cycling Analysis coming later this year, and a focus on walking to school.

The other main issue for cycling is how scandalously slowly TfL plan to progress major junction works and the Liveable Neighbourhoods. Their chart (p52) says Liveable Neighbourhood construction will only start in 2021 or 2022, Waterloo roundabout won’t complete until then either, and Lambeth Bridge North and South as well as Vauxhall Cross and Nine Elms schemes won’t complete until potentially 2023. These are schemes which have been consulted on, on dangerous junctions and roads, and all of them won’t go into construction most likely until after the end of the Mayor’s current term. 

We don’t think this is anywhere near fast enough. Sign our petition today and call on the mayor to fix the most dangerous junctions now: lcc.org.uk/fixthejunctions

Categories: London

Mayor and TfL launch broadsides at Westminster

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 18:07

At the same time as the Mayor of London released his full letter to Cllr Nickie Aiken, leader of Westminster Council, Transport for London (TfL) have published its consultation report on the Oxford Street scheme. Both documents make clear the fury London’s Mayor has for the actions of Westminster Council leaders in taking Oxford Streets pedestrianisation plans “off the table”.

Alongside our partners at Living Streets, we fully support the Mayor’s moves to tackle Westminster’s decision here. As Joe Irvin, Living Streets, says: “something must be done and soon, before a dire situation becomes worse”.

The decision to halt the pedestrianisation of Oxford Street, and then to call a Judicial Review on Cycle Superhighway 11 has harmed flagship active travel projects in the Heart of London, and we are pleased to see that the Mayor isn’t taking this lightly.

The Mayor writes to Westminster

From the letter, Khan writes: “You made this decision unilaterally with no attempt to compromise. This is not partnership working and is at odds with the development of the proposals over the last two years”.

Resident concerns about displaced traffic into surrounding areas (see below for TfL’s consultation data and response to this) are dismissed: “our joint work showed that the concerns about traffic displacement would not have materialised and my team were willing to discuss changes to our proposals that still delivered a transformed district,” writes Khan.

The Mayor writes that the core concerns any scheme must answer are:

  • visitor experience
  • economy (“the West End is home to 100,000 jobs and generates income to the Treasury upwards of £2bn per annum”)
  • air quality
  • crowding (due to the Elizabeth line “Bond Street station alone is expected to see 70,000 more entries and exits each day”)
  • road danger (“on average one person is killed and 60 people are injured in road traffic incidents each year” on Oxford Street)
  • protection of the public (“our proposals included measures to protect the significant numbers of people using Oxford Street, including from attacks using vehicles”).

The Mayor not only says any scheme must deal with these issues, but that funds won’t be forthcoming from TfL for anything other than a full scheme: “I will only be willing to commit funds to proposals that meet the challenges outlined and deliver what is needed… I have already invested more than £8m in good faith in this project. I note that your Cabinet report proposes to use a further £400,000 of TfL Local Implementation Plan (LIP) funding to develop what would seem to be a draft strategy for the area, without in fact delivering anything on street. I note there has been no prior discussion with TfL about the proposed use of these funds… given the extensive funding already spent on design, no TfL funding of any sort is to be used without prior discussion and agreement.”

Finally the Mayor says he expects Westminster to reveal plans by “the end of September”: “I believe this is a reasonable timescale for you to assess your options and there is a need to move quickly in the context of existing safety risks and the Elizabeth line’s full opening in December 2019.”

From TfL’s consultation report

The last consultation saw over 22,000 responses (including over 7,000 in bulk from Living Streets in support and over 600 in bulk from Better Oxford Street in opposition). Of the individual responses 64% said they either supported the scheme or supported it with “some concerns”.

Westminster’s leadership has attacked the scheme because they say most residents opposed the scheme. But only half of respondents who tagged themselves as “local residents” opposed – while 49% supported (including with “some concerns”). Of those who identified as businesses, 68% opposed (however the vast bulk of large businesses locally do appear to support it), but local employees and visitors were strongly in favour.

In other words, the scheme was overall supported by Londoners, even by Westminster residents it would seem, albeit with many raising significant concerns about specific elements of the scheme. LCC of course raised many issues – most notably the lack of detail or commitment to real quality for parallel routes, alongside the banning of all cycling – including disabled cyclists – from the street.

In response to the primary issues raised, TfL say they are not considering a “blue badge” scheme for disabled cyclists to be allowed on the street, and instead cycle parking would have been available “as close to Oxford Street as possible”.

TfL also refutes the idea that traffic would be heavily displaced into nearby areas such as Soho, Mayfair, Fitzrovia – one of the key concerns listed by those most against the scheme, and with most sway, it seems, with Westminster’s leaders. TfL’s view: “we do not believe that the transformation of Oxford Street West would have led to a general negative impact on the surrounding area. We know for example that across 78 selected locations, there would have been more significant beneficial air quality impacts than negative impacts. Our traffic modelling showed that our proposals would not increase traffic congestion in surrounding areas, and the majority of road trips would be unaffected.”

Both in terms of cycle routes going forward and “low traffic neighbourhood” approaches for the areas around Oxford Street being demanded by residents, TfL says this is now effectively Westminster’s concern: “The neighbourhoods around Oxford Street are part of the highway network, but could be looked at in terms of reducing through traffic, as other boroughs have done. The project introduced some changes that would have encouraged through traffic to remain on main roads. It would now be for Westminster to bring forward any area changes… we were developing proposals to introduce a network of high quality alternative cycling routes, that would link to the current and future cycling network… These will now be the subject of discussion with Westminster to see what proposals they would want to support to consultation.”

Finally, a cycle track along Oxford Street is still off the table, apparently: “A segregated cycle track that operates for part of the day, when pedestrian flows are lower, could be confusing, would be difficult to enforce and might act as a barrier for those pedestrians moving between shops on opposing sides of the road.” However, with businesses and residents pushing for delivery access, and TfL clearly not writing that off, whatever scheme comes forward we will continue to push for a high-quality cycling route – parallel or along Oxford Street, depending on the approach.

Categories: London