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Updated: 2 hours 21 min ago

EU rules out lorries with poor direct vision

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 17:53

nIt’s official – lorries with minimal blind spots are going to become the industry standard.  The European Union regulation (General Safety Regulation) to make this (and other safety measures like speed controllers in cars) has been formally approved by the European Council of Ministers.

 

As of mid-2023 all new model HGVs (fully new designs) will have to meet the new rules and by 2027 all new heavy lorries will have to meet them. 

The very welcome measure to improve vehicle design took several years of hard work by the European Parliament, Transport for London and consistent lobbying by London Cycling Campaign, and our partners in the Action on Lorry Danger group,  as well as fellow activists in Brussels including Transport & Environment and the European Cycling Federation.

We want to thank all LCC members and supporters who have backed our numerous petitions for safer lorries and those who have responded to TfL consultations on better “direct vision” (vision through the windscreen rather than via mirrors) for HGVs. TfL’s commitment to a direct vision  standard led not only the recently launched Lorry Safety Permit scheme, that commences in London next year,  but also drove the often protracted and laborious process of improving EU design regulations for HGVs. 

London’s former Mayor, Boris Johnson, put the case for better direct vision to EU regulators, as did current Mayor Sadiq Khan, and his Cycling Commissioner Will Norman, who both argued for an earlier start date to reduce road danger.  

Both TfL, and LCC, persisted with the call for a change in EU regulations, despite initial setbacks and delays, to finally achieve a result that will reduce road danger for pedestrians, cyclists and indeed all road users.

The same road safety regulations that introduce the direct vision standard will also require cars to be fitted with Intelligent Speed Adaptation devices , effectively speed controllers, though drivers will be able to override them. Vehicles will also have emergency braking systems and heavy vehicles will need to have “advanced systems that are capable of detecting pedestrians and cyclists located in close proximity to the front or nearside of the vehicle and of providing a warning or avoiding collision with such vulnerable road users.”

The direct vision requirement will now be defined by the UNECE – the Geneva based authority that decides on standards. According to the EU “ Vehicles of categories M2, M3, N2 and N3 (types of trucks) shall be designed and constructed to enhance the direct visibility of vulnerable road users from the driver seat, by reducing to the greatest possible extent the blind spots in front of and to the side of the driver, while taking into account the specificities of different categories of vehicles.”

 

Categories: London

Electric HGVs, direct vision, sensors, cameras - Innovation at Freight in the City 2019

Thu, 11/07/2019 - 14:30
   Freight in  the City 2019

Electric power for HGVs, direct vision for lorry cabs, sophisticated camera and sensor systems and e-powered cargo bikes: the future of freight transport was on full display at the 2019 Freight in the City show in London.

Innovation in vehicle design, safety systems, logistics and consolidation dominated Freight in the City as never before. With politicians making commitments to decarbonisation of road transport and zero serious and fatal collisions the freight industry’s innovators are showing what is possible.

 

Scania, one of the market leaders, displayed both diesel and hybrid (electric and ICE driven) for versions of its new L series HGV’s designed for urban use with low cabs, wide windscreens.

 

Voltia took that thinking a step further with their futuristic prototype that is fully electric and promises a 150 km range for the 18 tonne version. Trial models are promised for 2020 in Paris and London.

Mercedes was showing off its 7.5 tonne eCanter fully electric lorry that is already in service with Hovis , DP, Wincanton and Yodel. The company  told LCC that it has a ranger of 120 kms and a fast charge to 80% takes just an hour. The company is trailing 18 and 26 tonne electric vehicles in Germany and an all- electric version of the popular, 5 star direct vision, Econic is due in 2021. Mercedes also aims to make all its European truck plants carbon neutral by 2022.

A presentation from Tevva, an eTruck maker and innovator spelled out the commercial gains from going electric: the savings on fuel exceed the higher leasing cost of the electric truck

Dennis-Eagle displayed one to their fiver star direct vison construction lorries and were collaborating with Magtec who were repowering 26 tonne Dennis-Eagle diesel refuse lorries with electric motors powered by household waste in Sheffield

LCC was out and about plugging its new lorry safety information website offering tips for both drivers and cyclists and we spotted representatives of both of our supporters Mobileye (sensor’s sold via the Spillards stand) and McGee (chatting on the Volvo stand).

 

Volvo had two innovative UK first on display – an electric version (100 kms range) of its urban, high direct vision,  FE lorry and a prototype, called  Vera, of its autonomous electric lorry cab that is being trialled in Sweden – and which, on its own , looks more like a sports car.  

And, in a radical departure from previous years, Freight in the City featured a whole stand devoted to cargo-bikes  - a disruptor that was cited, along with consolidation centres and more sophisticated road pricing, by the City of London in their forward looking presentation on freight solutions at the event.

Categories: London

Londoners support making Royal Parks for people, not cars

Thu, 11/07/2019 - 14:26

The Royal Parks has released the results of its initial engagement survey on the principles of its draft Movement Strategy, and Londoners have overwhelmingly supported these and the Parks’ intention to begin to reclaim parks from cars, for people, walking and cycling.

The Royal Parks are eight iconic and large green spaces scattered across London, including Regent’s Park, Hyde Park and Richmond Park. Nearly all of them feature large roads through them that mean the parks are widely used as cut-throughs for motor traffic. And while many of the parks have gates that are shut at night, or restrictions on commercial traffic, the traffic in the parks is resulting in high levels of road danger to both those walking and cycling, and high levels of pollution.

Schemes in the past to reduce the through traffic, such as Cycle Superhighway CS11 have been stymied. And even enforcement of existing commercial vehicle bans and against clear road dangers have been routinely opposed. And indeed, until recently, The Royal Parks has been fairly resistant itself to enabling cycling in and through its parks, and in reducing motor traffic. But that now seems set to change, for the better.

Survey results

The survey was filled out by nearly 7,000 respondents. Overall: 85% agreed “changes or developments within… parks should seek to protect, conserve and enhance” the parks; 73% agreed that the Parks should “prioritise walking” over other modes; 79% agreed walking, cycling and using public transport to reach the parks should be prioritised over other modes; and the biggie: 78% agreed park roads should “not be used as commuter routes for motor vehicles”.

Broken down by the modes of those answering, there was far lower support for promoting reaching the park by sustainable modes, and for removing motor traffic through routes among those who said they were drivers: 41 and 44% respectively.

Next steps

The Royal Parks officer in charge of the strategy, Mat Bonomi, subsequently confirmed on twitter that results were also “broadly the same across all the parks.” And that next The Royal Parks will “develop a whole of estate strategy and then step that down to the individual park level”. The overall strategy is due to be made public, consulted on and signed off by The Royal Parks in the new year. We should then expect to start to see schemes coming forward on a park by park basis to start to enact the finished strategy.

With such large and iconic spaces, we can’t wait to see The Royal Parks begin to tackle the through motor traffic and returning parks to the people for walking, cycling, strolling, breathing, pootling and enjoying, for sport, leisure and indeed to commute through in safety – that’s why LCC is part of the Parks for People coalition alongside organisations including London Living Streets, CPRE London and Regent’s Park Cyclists, and has been campaigning around this issue for some time.

Nearby roads?

As and when the Parks do start removing the cut-through motor traffic, it will be vital that the boroughs around the parks work to ensure displaced traffic doesn’t worsen residents’ lives and air quality on roads outside the parks. Councils should be deploying both “low traffic neighbourhoods” to stop nearby residential roads turning into nightmare ratruns, and main road solutions such as cycle tracks, pavement widening and/or bus lanes to ensure they also don’t get far worse. This may involve some short-term disruption, but it’s a vital and massive opportunity in London to systemically cut out a lot of unnecessary car journeys and switch them to more sustainable modes – cutting air pollution, carbon emission and congestion. After all, if the roads are a lot quieter and calmer, many more people will choose to cycle. 

Categories: London

Londoners support K&C cycle scheme, reveals TfL

Tue, 11/05/2019 - 17:35

Over 5,000 people responded to the public consultation on improvements to four areas spanning west London from Wood Lane to Notting Hill in May, TfL has announced. A large majority of respondents said the scheme would enable more people to walk and/or cycle in the area, the consultation report released today reveals. Over 70 per cent thought proposals would enable more people to walk, 58 per cent more people to cycle. Most respondents also felt the schemes would reduce motor traffic journeys in the area.

Full results for the consultation, appendix documents detailing responses by borough and stakeholders, and the original materials are available here.

A "vast majority" opposed?

Infamously, despite having prior sight of the scheme, Kensington & Chelsea’s Councillors attacked the consultation for the sections in their borough – before the consultation even closed – and disowned the scheme developed with their officers. In opposing the scheme, the council said it “supports cleaner and more active modes of transport in our borough and across London” but… “the vast majority of our residents, whom we are determined to serve and to represent, do not support these proposals”. It turns out, however, this simply isn’t true.

Many residents associations, businesses and celebrities openly waged a propaganda war against the Kensington & Chelsea parts of the scheme, particularly around the Holland Park Avenue section, including some truly hyperbolic and apocalyptic views on what the scheme would do. Despite that, nearly half of Kensington & Chelsea respondents to the consultation felt the scheme would lead to more people cycling, and only 6% said it would lead to fewer people cycling.

Similarly, over one fifth (22%) of residents felt it would lead to more walking and nearly a quarter of residents also said it would lead to fewer personal motor journeys. It’s difficult to see this as “the vast majority” of local opposition that had been portrayed by councillors and the council – indeed, it would suggest that quite a large proportion of local residents (nearly half of all respondents said they were residents “living close to the proposed scheme”) think the scheme will deliver better, safer cycling and walking and lead to fewer car journeys.

Since the consultation ended, residents who are in favour of the scheme are increasingly grouping together in our newly revitalised Kensington & Chelsea Cycling Campaign and the sibling Better Streets for Kensington & Chelsea group. There are clearly many residents in the area who are sick of hostile streets to cycle on, or not being able to cycle at all – and indeed of the road danger on streets like Holland Park Avenue everyone faces. And the new groups include parents keen for their children to be able to walk and cycle to schools.

During the consultation there was widespread condemnation of Kensington & Chelsea’s stance on cycling and the proposals, and indeed of the myths and misinformation being put forward by most of the opposition. And the very real road dangers to both pedestrians and cyclists on Holland Park Avenue were ignored by those against. Will Norman, the Walking & Cycling Commissioner, said at the time that K&C’s opposition was a “cynical political stunt… People will die and suffer serious injuries as a direct result of this.” We hope that K&C Councillors now reflect on the very real need for the scheme and work with the Commissioner and TfL.

Next steps

TfL is moving forward with the Hammersmith & Fulham section of the scheme as the borough supported it. In K&C, TfL has developed a series of potential improvements that could satisfy many of the concerns raised, most notably protecting 20 out of 25 trees along the route that were originally proposed to be removed. In the meantime, Kensington & Chelsea also declared a climate emergency in October, committing the council itself to be carbon neutral by 2030, and setting an “ambition” for the entire borough to be by 2040. It’s hard to see how the council can simultaneously declare a climate emergency, achieve these targets and oppose schemes aiming to reduce motor car use, boost walking and cycling. Those schemes will be vital to cut carbon, fast – regardless of what some residents feel about their cars.

Since the consultation closed, TfL has held initial discussions with the borough regarding these improvements and will now widen discussions to include “local residents' groups, businesses and other organisations” before it sets out a path forward hopefully.

We hope the council listen to the broad sweep of opinions rising from the consultation, not just those residents and associations that shouted most loudly against (and as their responses summarised in the report show with volume, but not always knowledge, evidence, or expertise). We hope the council recognises those concerns most voiced have been answered. And we hope the council acts to enable cycling in its borough by moving forward this scheme, with amendments.

Quotes from the press release

Clare Rogers, Community Outreach Worker for central London at London Cycling Campaign, said:

The route along Wood Lane to Notting Hill has long been a hot spot for fatalities and serious injury to pedestrians and cyclists. These new proposals are a much needed safety improvement for everyone already using the route, and will make it easier and safer for many more people to walk and cycle and to leave their cars at home - cutting air pollution, congestion and carbon emissions.

The results of this consultation demonstrate that Londoners agree the proposals will improve conditions for walking and cycling. With amendments now proposed to the plans, to take into account concerns raised, we look forward to Kensington & Chelsea's councillors, businesses and residents working with TfL to deliver these vital cycle safety improvements."

Will Norman, London's Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said:

There has been a fatality and a number of serious injuries on this stretch of road over recent years, so these proposals are about keeping Londoners safe and saving lives. I'm really pleased that the consultation has shown such strong support for the plans, with a clear majority of people understanding the difference they will make enabling more walking and cycling, and making the area safer for everyone.

TfL is continuing to work with Kensington and Chelsea on the details of the plans to ensure they are the very best they can be, and they will continue to ensure the views of all residents are taken on board."

Gareth Powell, TfL's Managing Director of Surface Transport, said:

Our proposals between Wood Lane and Notting Hill Gate would make a real difference to everybody in the area, making streets much safer, more pleasant and more welcoming place to be. We'll continue speaking to local people about our proposed changes and I look forward to agreeing a scheme which works for everyone."

Categories: London

New free resource for lorry drivers and bike riders to improve safety on London roads

Tue, 11/05/2019 - 13:51

 

Mobileye  driver warning system in action

New free resource for lorry drivers and bike riders to improve safety on London roads

A new website about lorry danger is helping both drivers and cyclists avoid collisions. The unique site features a carefully selected range of useful videos; tips on reducing road danger; and the latest on safer lorry design and tailored training for drivers and riders.

The London Cycling Campaign (LCC) is launching the Lorry Safety website (https://lorrysafety.lcc.org.uk/) as part of its commitment to reduce road danger with support from Mobileye, an Intel company, a global leader in collision avoidance technology for cars, lorries and buses and autonomous vehicle technology; and McGee, a specialist contractor who considers its first priority to be safety.

Riders and lorry drivers will find videos on the site in which the challenges of interacting in dense road environments are discussed. Detailed guidance on a cyclist’s best strategy close to a lorry are addressed, and drivers are assisted in understanding why, for example, a rider might ride in the centre of a traffic lane when approaching a side street.

LCC wants the number of fatal and serious collisions involving lorries to be zero. Lorries are involved in approximately 50% of cyclist deaths and 20% of pedestrian deaths despite accounting for only 4% of the miles driven in London.  

The new website looks at a range of technologies that are increasingly being installed and purchased by responsible heavy goods vehicle (HGV) operators: 

  • lorries with far improved direct vision and fewer blind spots;
  • close proximity alert systems that let drivers know when a pedestrian or cyclist is very near;
  • systems that ensure drivers carry out a range of safety checks before departure

The site also goes beyond the usual advice for cyclists to “take care around lorries” by providing specific information about where most collisions take place and which lorry manoeuvres, such as moving out right to turn left, can lure a rider into a dangerous zone.  

LCC will be continuing to update this unique site with links and information about the latest in road danger reduction.

Dr Ashok Sinha, LCC CEO,  said:

“LCC is fully committed to reducing road danger on our roads and the new lorry safety site helps drivers, lorry operators, bike riders and pedestrians understand the dangers of large vehicles and  the strategies and technologies that can be used to reduce those dangers” 

Gil Ayalon, Director of EMEA at Mobileye, said:

"Mobileye is committed to harnessing the best computer vision and artificial intelligence technology to keep drivers and vulnerable road users alike as safe as possible on the roads. This has been our mission from day one, and we are pleased to be partnering with LCC on this important campaign."

John McGee, Director McGee, said:

“As a fleet operator, we are pleased to support the London Cycling Campaign’s new website as part of our ongoing commitment to reducing road danger. “To support the latest in road danger reduction, the website is filled with useful videos, detailed guidance and specific information targeted for riders and drivers.  We are delighted to be a part of this important project and will continue to support LCC in the website’s ongoing development.”

McGee worksite in central London

Categories: London

Big win: London-wide lorry safety standard permit system launches

Wed, 10/30/2019 - 16:33

Lorry danger addressed by new London-wide safety standard

London Cycling Campaign, along with fellow campaigners, has long championed the case for lorries without so-called blind spots. A first step towards our goal (and the one we won from the Mayor) of ‘only the safest lorries on our roads,’ comes with Transport for London’s (TfL’s) formal announcement of a Direct Vision Standard(DVS) and  Safety Permit  scheme for all HGVs in London commencing in October 2020.

Fleet operators who fail to meet the standard and obtain mandatory permits for their vehicles will face fines of up to £550. Transport for London has started issuing permits to operators a year ahead of the deadline.

According to TfL “Big lorries are disproportionately involved in fatal collisions. Whilst they account for just four per cent of the overall miles driven in the capital, between 2015 and 2017, HGVs were involved in 63 per cent of fatal collisions involving cyclists and 25 per cent involving pedestrians.”

Aware of the danger posed by HGV’s with poor direct vision, LCC has lobbied for the use of vehicles designed for urban conditions with low cabs and good vision, like the Dennis Eagle Elite and Mercedes Econic that are now the default refuse lorry in London.

LCC supporters, and we thank you all, have repeatedly petitioned the Mayor to reduce lorry danger in the capital we successfully secured a commitment from Sadiq Khan to make sure ‘the safest lorry types become the norm on London's streets as soon as possible.’

TfL’s new Direct Vision Standard rates lorries, over 12 tonnes, from zero (lowest) to five (highest) stars. TfL says “HGVs will need to meet a minimum ‘one-star’ rating by the time enforcement begins to enable them to operate in London, or will need to fit ‘Safe System’ measures to improve the vehicle’s safety.” The ‘Safe System’ includes both camera and audio alert systems to make the driver aware of the proximity of walkers or cyclists.

Visiting a company that already uses five star lorries, the Mayor, Sadiq Khan said “Forward-looking businesses have already been choosing safer vehicles in the run up to HGV safety permits becoming available. Today the scheme has gone live and operators now have 12 months to upgrade their fleets, helping make our streets much safer for people walking and cycling.”

LCC welcomes the new standard as a first step to making all lorries in London suitable for urban conditions. We want all drivers to have the advantage of a lorry cab without blind spots to reduce road danger.  The Mayor has said that as of 2024 a higher ‘three star’ rating for HGVs will be introduced.

In parallel with our campaign for safer lorries in London, LCC, in conjunction with TfL, has successfully lobbied to make lorries with good direct vision the standard for all European lorry manufacturers. The European Commission and European Parliament have both backed the regulations for good direct vision and they are due to come into force in 2023 (for all new HGV models) and 2027 (for all new HGVs) once ratified by the European Council.  

 

Categories: London

Six-Day racing back in London to a thunderous welcome

Mon, 10/28/2019 - 22:19

Six-Day racing back in London to a thunderous welcome

Invented in London in 1878, Six Day racing is a perfect fit for London’s Olympic Velodrome. The stars turn up, with Kate Archibald and Mark Cavendish shining bright this year, the clubby atmosphere vibrates, DJs and moody lighting, and the crowd erupts to shake the roof at every climax.  

Since the revival of Six Day racing on its home territory five years ago, the (yes, six day) event has become an essential part of the London cycling calendar along with Freecycle, the family event invented by LCC’s own David Love, Ride London, Freecycle’s professional offshoot, the challenging London to Brighton and the candle–lit Dunwich Dynamo, valiantly serviced by Southwark Cyclists. 

This year’s Phynova Six Day was an ideal opportunity for Britain’s Kate Archibald to show her skills alongside her team partner Neah Evans and British rivals Laura Kenny and Elinor Barker– the Archibald/Evans duo triumphed across the (Siberian pine) board.

On the final day Mark Cavendish grabbed victory in the Derney race (paced by motorbikes) but, with partner Owain Doull, was narrowly beaten by Italian rivals Elia Vivianni (on a gold plated bike) and Simone Consonni in the Madison race that finished the meeting in an up to the end nail biter.  Madison racing, a US invention once patroned by the likes of Sinatra and Capone, is effectively a concatenation of all the Tour de France sprints squeezed into a single hour, in a single location, with a single winner. All done at a breath-taking speed.

Aside from Vivianni’s gold bike we spotted the once illustrious London brand, Holdsworth, a couple of world champion’s jersey and slew of British team strips.

 

You can catch up with the racing on BBC iPlayer and on twitter @sixdaycycling

 

Categories: London

LCC hands in junctions petition

Fri, 10/18/2019 - 11:35

Yesterday morning, LCC staff handed in a nearly 3,000 signature petition to four London Assembly Transport Committee members to pass to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and his deputy for transport, Heidi Alexander.

Transport Committee Chair Florence Eshalomi, Deputy Chair Caroline Pidgeon MBE, Caroline Russell and Keith Prince accepted the petition outside City Hall, representing the main political parties in London. David Kurten, Brexit Alliance, was invited but did not attend. The same morning, Caroline Pidgeon used her slot at the Mayor’s Question Time to directly press the Mayor on his Safer Junctions programme and progress on reducing road danger – the Mayor’s current “Vision Zero” pledge would see all serious and fatal collisions gone from London’s roads by 2041.

However, a year after hundreds joined LCC’s protest at the lethal Holborn gyratory we are seriously concerned about the lack of progress towards Vision Zero on junctions – where the vast majority of road collisions in London happen. Not only have many lethal junctions we’ve been promised progress on, sometimes for years, not been delivered yet, the redesigns of those junctions that are moving through consultation in the Safer Junctions programme are far too weak to deliver the safety improvements required. As a result, we’re seeing ongoing patterns of fatal and serious injuries at those junctions marked as complete in the programme.

The petition calls on the Mayor and his team to “upgrade the Safer Junctions programme, to not only accelerate pace of delivery, but to ensure every junction that moves forward eliminates ‘critical issues’ – removing the most dangerous elements to pedestrians and cyclists according to TfL’s own criteria - and takes a significant step toward your Vision Zero target by eliminating serious injuries and deaths at that location.”

Of completed Safer Junctions scheme, the Burdett Road/Mile End Road junction (on CW2) has seen serious collisions with three pedestrians, a driver and a cyclist in 2017 alone. And Ludgate Circus (on CW6) in the same year saw one pedestrian killed and another seriously injured. Meanwhile of seven recent Safer Junctions consultations, only one did not include any zero Healthy Streets Check score “critical issues”. Holloway Road retained five, Edgware Road/Harrow Road and Camden Street/Camden Road are set to retain three each after implementation.

Mayor’s Question Time

During Mayor’s Question Time, that took place immediately after the hand-in, the Mayor revealed that a horrifying 103 people have died on London’s roads since 1 January. Four in just the last week. And that over 70% of collisions were at junctions. Of 73 junctions on TfL’s roads in the Safer Junctions programme, Sadiq also revealed 31 were now complete, and that on average, completed junctions were seeing a reduction of over 30% of collisions.

Our response, and that of Caroline Pidgeon in the meeting, was that retaining nearly 70% of collisions at a redesigned junction wasn’t good enough. Caroline asked Sadiq “Do you need to get this right first time?”

While praising Caroline and LCC’s work on road danger reduction, and accepting the need for a meeting with his team, Sadiq also blamed boroughs for weak schemes and suggested it was a need to balance schemes for “different vulnerable road users”.

On the latter, the big issues we are seeing with the Safer Junctions programme are not to do with, as Sadiq put it, that “sometimes pedestrians take priority over cyclists” rightly. Junction designs are primarily being weakened in our view because of concerns most about the priority of bus movements through the junction, secondly, impacts to private motor traffic and congestion.

So the question has to be, if we’re to achieve Vision Zero and really reduce road danger – not just to save lives from collisions but to reduce the barriers hostile roads represent to more people walking and cycling – are we really OK to let a 20 second delay to buses or a few more cars stacking at the junction trump safety for vulnerable road users?

On blaming boroughs, none of the Safer Junctions are on borough roads – and indeed, LCC is calling for Sadiq to name and shame junctions under borough control where the boroughs refuse to take action (such as Lambeth Bridge North, which is being blocked by Westminster Council despite it being named the most dangerous junction for cycling in the UK!)

Quotes from the press release

In the accompanying press release for the hand in, Dr Ashok Sinha, Chief Executive, London Cycling Campaign said:

If the Mayor’s promise of zero fatal and serious collisions in London by 2041 is to be achieved, and indeed if we are to remove some of the biggest barriers to more people cycling, it’s vital we make sure collision risk is designed out at every dangerous junction. That means raising the safety bar for TfL’s junction redesigns, as well as acting quicker, to ensure the Mayor’s Safer Junctions programme really does help deliver a future where no one dies in avoidable collisions on London’s roads.

Florence Eshalomi said:

The Transport Committee wrote to the Mayor in March this year on TfL’s Safer Junctions Programme and called on him to expand this programme to areas of London that pedestrians and cyclists avoid because they feel they are too dangerous to use.  We welcome the Mayor’s work on this so far but more needs to be done. As more and more Londoners make journeys on foot and by bike, we need to ensure that London’s roads and footpaths are safe to travel on. We thank London Cycling Campaign for the work they have done on this so far. The London Assembly Transport Committee will continue to work on this issue and call on the Mayor to do more for Londoners who cycle and walk around the capital.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE said:

The Vision Zero objective is incredibly welcome. But sadly TfL’s actions are falling short of achieving this objective. 4,000 people have already signed a London Cycling Campaign petition expressing concerns about a number of recently changed junctions. London Cycling Campaign has highlighted that recent junction improvements funded by TfL are still not safe. Junction standards set by TfL need to further improve, or we face the fiasco of retrospective investment being needed on recently altered junctions.

Caroline Russell said:

It’s absolutely shameful that so many people are still being killed and seriously injured while simply out in our city walking and cycling their everyday journeys. This year we’ve already seen far too many deaths on our streets – more people have been killed walking already in 2019 than the whole of last year. London is riddled with lethal junctions that the Mayor must tackle now. If Vision Zero means anything it must mean sorting out London’s hostile streets once and for all, giving priority to Londoners on foot and riding bikes.

Categories: London

Campaigner Award Winners 2019

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 16:26

Thank you to everyone who attended LCC’s 2019 AGM on Wednesday 16th 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 Megan Sharkey and Amy Foster, Co-Chairs of C&AMS, 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 Ride and Ride Leader

Highly Commended:

Robert Heyward – Robert has been successfully building a hugely popular ride programme in Bexley with Harry Clark (last year’s award winner), and experienced and friendly face for many new riders in the borough

Cycle Sisters and JoyRiders - Another group that have been massively successful at building an exceptional ride programme, that has been incredibly diverse, had provided training opportunities and pathways for many new riders in Waltham Forest.

Winner: Bruce Lynn

Bruce Lynn is a highly experienced ride leader, running Southwark’s Healthy Rides, a model that has proved so popular it’s being replicated in other boroughs. He has led rides every week, enabling a huge number of people to experience the joy of cycling, and been a tireless contributor to Southwark Cyclists.

2.        Best infrastructure campaign

Highly Commended:

Lambeth Cyclists have worked hard over the last year to build the relationship with the council anew, and that is bearing fruit. There is a shift in the conversations, with not only the council being more ambitious in their schemes, but also in opening a more constructive dialogue between the group and councillors and officers.  

Southwark Cyclists have also worked tirelessly to ensure that Cycleway 4 (from Tower Bridge to Greenwich) has continued to move forward. This sustainable campaigning effort has seen the construction of the first section of the route at Tooley Street, and the group led 6 weeks of flyering to promote positive responses to the missing section of CW4 on Lower Road, as well as the corresponding consultation on the first section of the Peckham – Rotherhithe route.

Winner: Hounslow Cycling Campaign

In September this year, Hounslow took another step closer to Cycle Way 9 – it received unanimous approval at the cabinet meeting. Hounslow Cycling Campaign spoke at the meeting, and that win was the result of years of continuous and effective campaigning. In the run up to the cabinet meeting, the ‘stop CS9’ campaign was in full flow, but was met by mythbusting and facts, culminating in a rebuttal of all of objections to CW9 by the council.

3.    Best campaign initiative

Winner: BetterStreet4KC

A positive outcome of the collapse of the Wood Lane/Holland Park Avenue consultation is the resurgent group in Kensington and Chelsea, which has been dormant for years. Within a few months, they have become a positive voice in K&C, building relationships with key stakeholders, including with those in the council who have been reluctant to engage on cycling for years.

We are so pleased to have this group, and look forward to seeing them go from strength to strength in the coming years!

4.       Best family-friendly event

Winner: Sarah Javaid, Family Cycling Fun Day

Sarah organised the Family Cycling Fun Day in June, attracting 1000 people from the local community to the event. Alongside a bouncy castle, food stalls and face painting, Hackney Family Cycling Library/Carry Me Bikes and Bikeworks with their All Ability bikes were there, offering the opportunity for everyone to try a wide range of cycles. The Dr Bike stands had queues up to 2 hours long at points, and Cycle Sisters and JoyRiders were also involved, teaching cycle skills. An incredibly successful and joyful event.

5.       Campaigner of the Year

Highly Commended:

Dan Kelly – Dan has been a key figure in the Waltham Forest group, and as Council Liaison Officer continues to impact schemes, pushing them to the world leading quality. He has also shared this knowledge with as many people as possible, running an incredible number of Mini-Holland tours, from councillors and MPs across London, to fellow campaigners, and transport ministers, showcasing the success of the cycling interventions LCC have long championed.

Sean Howes - Sean was nominated not just for his amazing work in Southwark on CW4 (see Best Infrastructure campaign for more info), but also because of the amount of time and effort he puts in outside his borough group, supporting others and strengthen the network – not only did he set up Active Travel Now, he also organised the Local Group Summer Social to bring together campaigners. 

Our campaigner of the year is Tim Lennon

He has been a stalwart of LCC for many years, and recently has seen all his hard work for Richmond Cycling Campaign translate into a shift within the council, the result of which is the ambitious proposals for the Low Traffic Neighbourhood for East Sheen. In the face of some He has done this in the face of some incredibly hostile opposition, Tim has been its champion, building a supportive base of local stakeholders, attending meetings, and shoring up support for the scheme.

6.      Outstanding Contribution to Cycle Campaigning

Next month, Andy will be stepping down as coordinator of Southwark Cyclists, and we wanted to recognise his outstanding contribution to cycle campaigning tonight.

Andy has been involved with LCC from the very beginning, and alongside the time and energy spent coordinating Southwark Cyclists, Andy:

-          Transported thousands of cyclists back from the Dunwich Dynamo each year

-          Established Road Safety Patrols with Michael Barret, an award winning programme which now runs London wide

-          Experienced ride leader, running Southwark's Freecycle feeder rides and others

-          Been instrumental in saving the Herne Hill Velodrome – and south London cycling institution.

Thank you Andy, for all you time, energy and campaigning for London.

Categories: London

Safer construction sites, vehicles and drivers coming to Manchester

Fri, 10/11/2019 - 17:23

Alert system used to warn of cyclists and pedestrians  nearby on an HGV 

In a formal launch on Friday 18th October 2019, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, announcing a  CLOCS (Construction Logistics and Community Safety) strategy for the city.

Led by Mayor Andy Burnham and Olympian and Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester, Chris Boardman MBE, Manchester has been upping its game in provision for people who cycle. New cycle tracks are being implemented and more people are taking to cycling.

But, as the Manchester authorities know, HGV’s and the danger they pose can be a deterrent to cycling. Every year 500 pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are killed or seriously injured in collisions with HGVs on Britain’s roads.

Manchester is now joining London as a champion of the CLOCS standard which ensures that constructions sites make sure that all of their operations beyond the worksite – at site gates, on public roads and at the route planning stage are examined and checked to meet required safety standards – that includes vehicles, drivers and banksmen.

CLOCS champions routinely require their drivers to complete a Safer Urban Driving module during which they ride bikes in an urban setting to help understand the challenges of riding in cities in dense traffic alongside very large vehicles. The vehicles used by CLOCS champions must include a range of safety features including side guards, six mirrors, alert systems and cameras.

For more about CLOCS you can go to their website https://www.clocs.org.uk/page/clocs-standard

Categories: London

Trials and temporary works

Fri, 10/04/2019 - 13:08

 

Photo credit: rytc

Without a trial, it is unlikely Times Square in New York City would be where it is today. Using some folding chairs and beanbags former Transport commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan was able to create a temporary space that showed the city how a traffic-free square could work for both motor traffic and as a space for people.

Closer to home, the trial of the Orford Road scheme in Waltham Forest’s mini-Holland probably rescued the scheme during a fraught consultation. Residents sitting outside cafes and bars and directly experiencing what removing ratruns felt like meant they could see the potential of a scheme that was being painted as apocalyptic for traffic and shops.

Trials can be a brilliant way to create better schemes. Not only can they demonstrate the potential of a scheme or idea, but they can also to test out in real world conditions and issues a scheme might cause.

But why doesn’t London see more trials like this, and how should they be done?

We’ve recently seen two trials of “bus gates” in east London collapse within hours of them beginning. The Browning Road bridge scheme in Newham was opposed by locals north of the gate, who blockaded the trial site with a banner. However the borough got an amended scheme up and running within two weeks, with Mayor Rockhsana Fiaz OBE writing in the local paper how doing nothing was not an option, and the climate emergency compelled the council to act boldly.Contrast this with the trial on Tredegar Road in Tower Hamlets. Part of the borough’s Liveable Neighbourhood, the bus gate on this road lasted most of a day, with escalating aggression from taxi drivers the apparent cause of it being cancelled. However, unlike Newham, Tower Hamlets currently don’t plan to go back to Tredegar Road until next year. So how can boroughs get trials right and use them to win support for bold changes for the better? And with more trials on the way, what do borough groups and campaigners need to know about them?

Our new page on trials and temporary works is over on LCC's Infrastructure pages here.

 

Categories: London

Highbury Corner officially welcomes walkers and cyclists

Wed, 10/02/2019 - 13:17

Highbury Corner officially welcomes walkers and cyclists

After decades of grim casualty statistics and hostile conditions for road users, Highbury Corner gyratory has been transformed into a liveable public space with access to the trees in the centre, a piazza outside the station and protected cycle tracks alongside the car lanes. The local branch of LCC, Cycle Islington, which had campaigned for improvements, was at the opening ceremony in force to celebrate the radical changes at this once highly hostile junction.

Opening the new public space Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “Before we started working at Highbury Corner here had been 15 collisions in the previous three years, 12 of those were cyclists.”  “You’ve got to make it easier and more attractive for people to walk and cycle – in London there are thousands of premature deaths due to bad air … and this is part of our investment in healthy streets in London.”

Speaking to LCC Khan said that he hoped local councils would build on investments like Highbury Corner: “I think it’s really important to be ambitious in our plans so I’m sure you realise that’s a consideration at Highbury Corner because of our investment, but you are right to remind me that there are many streets that are outside of my control that are controlled by councils and we want councils to be encouraging people to particularly cycle and walk”

Khan also highlighted the latest TfL cycling standards for all of London: “We’re having criteria before something can become a Cycleway, and that includes safety, that includes signage and all the other things. And I’m keen to work with councils.”

The Mayor’s cycling commissioner , Will Norman, commenting on extending the protected tracks to local schools and cycle routes, added that “What we are building is not just routes, but a network , so it is important, but we have to get those nodes(junctions)  right, this has been such a dangerous junction for so long that getting this right is important, then, as we grow that network, as we see more people cycling, providing that provision and enabling more people to cycle is absolutely critical.”

Categories: London

The Time for Change is Now

Tue, 10/01/2019 - 16:23

This article first appeared as a contribution to the launch of Brompton Cycles Campaign for Movement in September 2019.

Dr Ashok Sinha is CEO of London Cycling Campaign. He also chairs the London Sustainable Development Commission, an independent advisory body to the Mayor of London.

LCC will be running a campaign ahead of the 2020 Mayoral Election calling on London’s leaders to decarbonise the capital’s roads by 2030

There’s no easy way to say this: we’re risking the collapse of civilisation as we know it. Not tomorrow but potentially within the lifetime of the youngest generation alive today, maybe sooner. This isn’t news. Experts and activists have issued such warnings for many years. Back then we were frequently dismissed as rather deranged; now this gravest of threats to humanity is widely recognised amongst enlightened political, societal and business leaders. After all, how else to describe the humanitarian, security, and economic turmoil that will be caused by human-induced climate change - and by the parallel collapse of ecosystems caused by our rapacious consumption and pollution of the natural resources on which civilisation depends? 

It was also a crazy idea, way back then, that renewable energy could power our future; that we could all live in warm, low energy houses; that our economies could be circularised to eliminate waste; that we could regenerate ecosystems; that we could relinquish our addiction to car ownership and switch to walking, cycling, public and smarter private transport. Today, these aren’t just ideas – they are coming to life. But it’s happening nowhere near everywhere, and nothing like fast enough.

Yet the really crazy idea, is that we should live in cities where vast swathes of precious real estate is given over to getting around in big heavy, low-occupancy metal boxes. Creating lethal levels of pollution, clogging up the arteries of our cities and contributing to a crisis of sedentariness that is damaging public health.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Back in 2012 LCC’s Love London, Go Dutch campaign was successful beyond all our imaginings in changing the minds of the Mayor and Transport for London in favour of a mass roll out of Dutch style cycling infrastructure and traffic restraint. But, despite the fact that the political and policy arguments have largely been won at London’s City Hall and with forward-thinking boroughs, we are going too slow. We remain far, far away from achieving the radical transformation of our urban landscape that is required.

If this torpidity wasn’t good enough before, it’s now reaching crisis point in the context of the climate emergency. The international climate change agreement reached in Paris in 2015 set a target of limiting global average heating to 1.5 degrees C to avoid unconscionable risks to us all. At present levels of carbon emissions, we only have until 2030 before the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (essentially irreversible with current technology) leaves us with a one third chance of breaching this target, with the odds worsening with each year of delay. We shouldn’t be gambling with the lives of future generations in this way.

We can and must do so much better. This isn’t about saving the planet, life on Earth always bounced back from every past mass extinction event. Instead we’re talking about clutching the opportunity from the jaws of catastrophe to clean up and retool our civilisation. A simple but profoundly important step towards that goal will be to make London, and all our cities, mass cycling metropolises. It can be done; and when we see how much happier, healthier, and attractive London is as a result, we’ll wonder why on Earth we didn’t do it sooner.

Categories: London

Global Climate Strike

Fri, 09/20/2019 - 16:39

Hundreds of Londoners joined LCC in riding to London’s Global Climate Strike event on 20th September. They rode through central London to show that the climate needs urgent action now, and that enabling more people to cycle is one of the key ways we can act.

Today was the largest ever Global Climate Strike. Across the UK, over 200 demonstrations are taking place to call for urgent action on the climate crisis, organised by the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN). The strikes have seen not just students and young people but also parents, businesses, working people and politicians create a huge intergenerational movement for radical change ahead of the UN Climate Summit in New York. And London Cycling Campaign’s Strike on a Bike adds the voice of those who cycle or want to cycle to the movement.

With 20% of London’s carbon emissions coming from road transport, LCC is calling for a far more rapid decarbonisation of our city’s transport. Climate-changing emissions from transport in the UK have actually risen in the last 30 years, despite more efficient vehicles, when we desperately need them to fall to zero far before the Mayor’s current target of 2050.

On the path to zero emissions, it is clear that electric vehicles won’t be the (only) answer. Friends of the Earth’s report on “Transport and Climate Change” (prepared by Transport for Quality of Life) suggests that cuts of between 20-60% of all motor vehicle journeys will be needed by 2030, even with a rapid shift to electric vehicles, if we’re to rapidly decarbonise.

Expansion of electric vehicle use, public transport, and more people walking will be vital, but action on cycling will be needed as one of the key approaches to decarbonising road transport – given the millions of driven journeys daily in London that could easily be cycled if safe routes were available. Far more people cycling has to be a core goal of any politician in London who is serious about the climate crisis.

With the Mayor of London and many London boroughs having declared a climate emergency, the next step has to be bold action to reduce motor vehicle use and rapidly expand the network of high-quality cycling infrastructure so far more people are enabled to cycle instead of getting in the car. This is vital to decarbonise London and protect the planet, but it will also create a better city too - with less congestion, less lethal air, greener streets and far more active, healthy Londoners too!

Dr Ashok Sinha, Chief Executive, London Cycling Campaign said:

“Action on cycling is action on climate. That’s why hundreds of Londoners are riding through central London with LCC today, in solidarity with the global strikers, to demand urgent action to tackle the climate emergency. The riders are sending a simple message to the Mayor and all of London’s politicians - London must rapidly become a cycling city, if it is to be a zero carbon city.”

#climatestrikeonabike #GlobalClimateStrike

Categories: London

LCC takes on Urban Hill Climb

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 14:50

Photography by Tom Hosking.

On Saturday 28th September, the 9th edition of London’s very own Urban Hill Climb returns to Swain’s Lane. Over 300 riders will battle it out against the clock as they tackle the Capital’s only closed road hill race. The iconic route is nestled between Hampstead Heath and Highgate Cemetery - those competing to win will complete the race in under two minutes. But Urban Hill Climb is more than just a hill race - the cult event includes categories for folders, cargo-bikes and e-cargo-bikes too.

Rollapaluza’s Caspar Hughes, who produced the event until 2018, is moving to Extinction Rebellion full time. Before making the move Caspar wanted to find a new home for Urban Hill Climb and approached London Cycling Campaign about taking it over.

Caspar said: “I’m really proud how much we’ve grown Urban Hill Climb over the years – the combination of sheer competition and absolute fun make it a unique event and I’ll definitely miss it.  I wanted to find a new home for the race before shifting my focus to full time transport, ecological and climate campaigning with Extinction Rebellion. I couldn’t be happier that LCC have agreed to take it forward from here.”

Here at LCC we didn’t want to see such an iconic event disappear from London’s cycling calendar and we’re planning to build on the work done by Caspar and the team at Rollapaluza. While LCC’s main focus will always be on making sure Londoners can enjoy cycling safety, we think there is room for a bit of fun in the calendar too, and we’re always on the lookout for new ways to encourage even more people to get out and about on their bikes. With this in mind we plan to make sure Urban Hill Climb remains a fun event for the local community and evolves to further promote inclusivity and diversity in cycling.

Everyone is welcome to take part or come along and watch. Register to race here or find out more at www.urbanhillclimb.com

Saturday 28th September 2019 from midday, Swain’s Lane, Highgate, London.

Categories: London

Campaign groups call on Mayor to scrap Silvertown

Fri, 09/13/2019 - 12:30

Press release sent from London Cycling Campaign and six other active travel and environmental organisations today:

A group of seven campaigning organisations wrote to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, last week to ask him to use the current enforced pause on the four lane Silvertown road tunnel between East and South East London, due to the legal case around contractors, to look again at the £1 billion project. They call on him to scrap the scheme outright, or at least pause it to consider alternatives, in the light of recent developments. All seven organisations have publicly opposed the Silvertown Tunnel project before, but suggest the new legal developments offer an opportunity to avoid committing to a hugely expensive and problematic and damaging project.

Campaign for Better Transport London, Cycling UK, Friends of the Earth, Living Streets, London Cycling Campaign, Mums for Lungs and Sustrans say that the Silvertown Tunnel project is “incompatible” with the Mayor’s own Transport Strategy and “completely inappropriate”. They have written to the Mayor to say: “Given the scale of London’s air pollution and climate crises, their impacts on residents and your own policies, we believe all new transport schemes should properly contribute to addressing these problems rather than ignoring them, or even risk exacerbating them.”

The group raises concerns that the scheme risks simply redistributing congestion and air quality issues which would be unacceptable; that the scheme will actually likely increase overall motor traffic volumes in London; and that such a large infrastructure project (that at best maintains current motor traffic levels) stands in contrast to the Mayor’s Transport Strategy that aims to reduce overall car use by millions of journeys daily in just over 20 years. The group further points out that the emerging evidence on the climate crisis means the Mayor will have to go further and faster in cutting motor traffic than his strategy aims for anyway.

Instead of the Silvertown Tunnel, the group says the Mayor has alternatives, which would help address current problems, but that Transport for London has so far failed to assess a proper package of these. For instance, holding back traffic so it doesn’t build up at the Blackwall Tunnel approaches, further tolling of the existing Blackwall Tunnel, and bringing forward London-wide road-user charging have not been part of any alternatives assessment. And that allowing the tunnel to move forward while the proposed walking and cycling bridge from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf is paused due to costs, despite both being set out as part of the same package, seems additionally problematic.

The full text of the open letter, sent to Mayor Sadiq Khan on 3 September can be found at: http://bit.ly/scrapsilvertown

Categories: London

CW9 takes another big step forward

Fri, 09/06/2019 - 14:38

Image credit: London Borough of Hounslow

Great news this week - Hounslow council have formally approved Cycleway CW9 to move forward into detailed design and construction. It looks very much like west London will finally get decent cycling provision into construction this year!

Coordinator of our Hounslow Cycling Campaign borough group, Michael Robinson, has penned the guest blog below on how we’ve got this far...

The original cycle superhighway programme was launched in May 2009 and CS9 was the longest of the routes, intended to run from central London to Heathrow. Long in distance, long it turns out in gestation.

The consultation for CS9 took 8 years from that point to come out (and only for the section between Brentford and Olympia). It has since been another two years, including another consultation, before Hounslow council made a decision on 3 September 2019 to approve the plans in the borough, for the by then renamed Cycleway 9. If nothing else, cycle campaigners in outer London need patience and persistence!

While there aren’t yet shovels in the ground, and there is always the possibility of a judicial review by opponents, the decision was an important milestone for our team of campaigners.

The most important aspect of any campaign is political support. The likely date was known in advance as the council calendar is published a year ahead and the decision was going to be made by the council cabinet. So we had time to prepare. But so did the scheme’s opponents. Their main tactic was to launch a “Stop CS9” petition with a finish date of 3 September. While they stood on the street we organised using apps like WhatsApp and Slack to keep in touch and to talk to other locals not directly involved in the cycle campaign.  

We made sure their public petition and ongoing releases on social media didn’t happen without any form of rebuttal (although it’s all too easy to get drawn into grudge matches with folks who will never shift their view!). Knowledge of local media contacts, deadlines, preferences and being able to generate content quickly proved essential to pre-empt or rebut stories from opponents. And online document sharing stopped any confusion from emailing multiple versions of documents.

The pace began to quicken the closer we got to the decision date.  The results of a previous consultation came out and while it wasn’t everything we wanted, we could see why compromises had been made. The cabinet briefing papers came out in August and this was better than we could have expected. Clear, comprehensive and rebutting all of the main points of the opposition and laying out the benefits of the scheme.  Everything we had been saying, in fact, except with the authority of transport professionals rather than a bunch of cycle campaigners. 

The format of the meeting became known.  10 minutes for speakers for and against the scheme and the Mayor’s Walking & Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman was going to be one of the speakers “for”. With so many points that could be mentioned and so little time available, it was vital to focus. I’m a professional engineer and can quote data and statistics for hours but we needed the human angle as well. We asked a local resident who had been in a collision if she would read a statement.

We also were lucky enough to have some very high profile supporters who live and cycle in the area. Jeremy Vine created a video he sent to cabinet councillors a few days in advance, along with a personal note. We decided to release it publicly on the afternoon before the meeting too, to give it a bit of a public boost too.

At the meeting, the opponents went first. With four speakers - too many for just 10 minutes. One quoted casualty figures we knew were incorrect. And facing questions from cabinet, it was clear that while the opponents were united in what they didn’t want, there was no common view of what they did want. We were up next. I needed to change my talk slightly to rebut the incorrect data but the rest is a bit of a blur. Some Q&A and the head of transport gave his responses to questions. Then it was the vote, and it was unanimous in favour of approving the scheme. Our preparation, and combination of human stories and accurate evidence helped.

Not surprisingly, no one wanted to stick around for the rest of the agenda with items like “Contracts for provision of parking services” so it was on our bikes for a ride back to the pub in Brentford where we’d arranged to meet. It’s mainly slightly downhill from Hounslow through Isleworth, Syon to Brentford and with a tailwind on a cool evening followed by an evening in the pub full of gossip about “did they really say that?”, it was an evening to remember.  

With a big campaign like this, it’s all about the team. While as coordinator I ended up speaking, and I’m writing this blog, there are many many others who did far more than me. Some had been involved in campaigning for this project for a couple of days, others for 10 years.  I’d like to thank Ed, Jeremy, Ruth, Karen, Rebekah, Tran, Tom, Kieran, Michiel, Nick, Casey, Paul, Darren, Angela, Les, Matt, Beta, Laura, James, Winston, Ken, Alzbeta, Will, Brian, Tim, Simon, Peter, Chris and I’m sure I’ve left out some people so apologies in advance.

Categories: London

Action on Cycling = Action on Climate

Tue, 08/27/2019 - 10:56
Inspired by the school strike activists, Fran Graham looks at how London must act quickly to become a decarbonised, zero-emissions city.

When I stood in front of the crowd at our ‘Climate Strike on a Bike’ on 24 May, I hadn’t expected my emotions to overwhelm me. For someone who’s been involved in the climate movement for years, the sight of so many people joining the call for urgent action to avert the climate emergency was incredible.

We’d woven our way through London, the bike bells ringing out, to meet the thousands of school strikers in Parliament Square. They were energised, passionate and organised — an awe-inspiring sight. One that was replicated around the world during the biggest school strike yet. I finished the day with renewed hope. Hope that has been growing in recent months. Hope that we can finally start to see the kind of action needed to transition our lives away from fossil fuels.

Hope that was sparked by Greta Thunberg and her solitary Skolstrejk för Klimatet (‘School strike for the climate’), which has grown into a global movement of schoolchildren, with millions now demanding climate action. Hope that was bolstered while watching Extinction Rebellion’s peaceful, colourful and joyful protests shut down parts of central London in April, which helped put the climate crisis back on the front pages. It feels like the hope and resolve is still growing, demonstrated by the dramatic shift in public attitude on the issue, with nearly 70% of British people wanting urgent political action to tackle the climate emergency and protect the natural environment.

This hope is important, because sometimes it is too easy to feel despondent when it comes to the climate. Late last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — the world’s leading climate scientists — issued their starkest warning yet: if we keep emitting carbon at the same rate, by 2030 we will have used up all the remaining ‘sub-1.5 degree carbon budget’. In other words, we have 11 years to avoid locking in warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius. This might not sound like much, but we are currently on track to reach 3-4 degrees by 2100. A 3-degree world would lead to droughts, floods, extreme weather, refugee crises and the resource wars that come with it.

Even 1.5-degrees of warming would leave millions of people displaced, hungry and impoverished. The 1-degree of warming is already making itself known. In the UK, we’ve seen wildfires ripping through Yorkshire during the hottest February on record earlier this year, followed by another recordbreaking heatwave at the end of June. Globally, extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and devastating — in March and April this year, Mozambique was hit by two powerful cyclones — the first time in recorded history that strong cyclones have reached landfall twice during the same season. Cyclone Idai alone is thought to have killed over 1,000 people and left 400,000 homeless.

The climate crisis is already claiming victims, causing damage and misery, and the world’s poorest countries — who bear the least responsibility in causing climate change — will suffer the worst of the impacts. So it’s not overstating when I say that this is the greatest challenge facing humanity right now. Which is why seeing all the energy and passion to advert this crisis, especially from the young activists, is so inspiring.

They know we need urgent action, and they know that no technology currently exists to ‘repair’ the climate . There needs to be a concerted effort at all levels of government to curb emissions — that means halting fossil fuel extraction and transitioning our economy away from oil.

We must lead the way

As a global megacity, the example London sets will be noted and replicated around the world. With 68% of the world’s population predicted to live in cities by 2050, what the cities do will have a huge bearing on the global response to the climate emergency. In London, the Mayor has already taken the positive step of declaring a climate emergency, but his target of net zero by 2050 is too far away — London must decarbonise faster than that.

The main sources of carbon emissions in London are from homes, workspaces and transport. But while the Mayor has few powers directly over private residential housing, there are many more that cover transport. As do borough councils, who control 95% of London’s roads. And with 20% of all carbon emissions coming from road transport in London, decarbonising our roads will be a vital and achievable step towards a net zero-emission city.

To get there, two things will need to happen...

Rapid construction of a high quality cycle network

Cycling and walking are zeroemission modes of transport. It’s also cheap, efficient and keeps you healthy. But despite the many benefits, it is still not seen as the obvious choice for most people moving about the city. People are fearful of cycling, and until the streets feel safer to cycle on, that is a choice we are denying many people. London needs to be a city where everyone who wants to cycle, can. So while we’ve seen strides towards making the city a ‘byword for cycling’, we still have a long way to go.

To enable many more people to choose carbon-free transport, we need to rapidly accelerate the construction of a high-quality cycle network. That means lots more high-capacity cycle routes, such as Cycleway 4 currently being constructed from Tower Bridge to Greenwich, all over London.

But we know that it’s also not appropriate or necessary to put a cycle track on every road, so that needs to go hand in hand with more low traffic neighbourhoods. These are residential roads where a few well-placed bollards or planters mean that the streets are accessible for motor traffic, but ratruns are blocked, creating a more pleasant, healthier environment.

Rather than wait for a magic technology (such as the long promised and much-hyped autonomous vehicle) to cut carbon emissions in transport, the quickest, cheapest and most efficient way to reduce emissions will be to make the streets much better places to walk and cycle.

A cure for our car addiction

London is plagued by short car journeys. Two-thirds of car trips made by London residents could be cycled in less than 20 minutes. It’s lead to the damaging and illegal levels of air pollution, to a congestion problem that’s predicted to cost London an eye-watering £9.3 billion by 2030, and a significant contribution to our carbon emissions.

These issues won’t be solved by a wholesale switch of every car in London to electric vehicles (EVs). For one, there are significant concerns about the mining of all the precious metals needed to create the components for this volume of replacement cars. Plus, switching one for the other still leaves us with a congestion problem, air pollution issues and road danger from collisions. So although EVs will have a part to play in decarbonising the road transport system, it is also vital that we switch the unnecessary car journeys to more sustainable methods — mainly walking and cycling.

Alongside providing a high quality cycle network, the most effective way to do this will be by introducing smart road user charging. London is already seen as a pioneer on road user charging, having introduced the Congestion Charge 15 years ago. Covering central London, there is a flat rate for anyone entering the zone between 7am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. This has recently been joined by the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which also charges a flat rate for entering the central London zone, but is applied 24/7. The plan is to expand the ULEZ to cover the area inside the North and South Circular roads by 2021.

However, a smart road user charging system would work slightly differently — the pricing system would adapt based on, for instance, the time of day (so it was more expensive at peak times) and emissions (more expensive for more polluting vehicles). It would ensure that the vehicles causing the most damage are paying the most, with the money generated going towards sustainable travel projects boosting walking, cycling and public transport.

A network of high-quality cycle routes and a smart road user charging scheme would work hand in hand to transform London into a place where walking and cycling become the natural choices for everyday journeys, cutting air pollution, helping people stay healthier and, crucially, drastically cutting London’s carbon emissions.

Our next big campaign

With the upcoming mayoral elections in May 2020, we will be asking the candidates how they intend to step up to the challenge. Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity, and at LCC we have a plan for the rapid and achievable way to decarbonise London’s road transport.

It’s a necessary stage to a zero carbon city, paving the way for other megacities to follow, creating a better city for everyone — one with fewer cars, less pollution, greener streets and much, much more high-quality cycling infrastructure. And helping to protect the future for the planet and millions of its inhabitants.

Want to keep up to date with thecampaign? Sign up to our mailing list at lcc.org.uk/climate.

Categories: London

Let’s be "Not Stupid"

Tue, 08/27/2019 - 10:34
The school climate strikers will hold our generation to account if we don’t take action says Ashok Sinha.

I have A blue metal water bottle with ‘Not Stupid’ printed on the side. A souvenir from a past life, the slogan occasionally elicits curious glances: exactly who or what is not stupid?

It dates from the premiere in Leicester Square of Franny Armstrong and Lizzie Gillet’s film The Age of Stupid in 2009. Intended to shake us from our collective, ‘stupid’ torpidity in the face of the existential threat of climate change, the event was livecast to 10,000 people in cinemas across the country. My job, as the then Director of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, was to address what was a world record audience for a cinema premiere with a call to action: to exhort people and governments to wake up and be ‘not stupid’. I’m glad that we seem to have transcended the age of stupid, but wisdom will be needed to avoid the Age of Complacency.

On the plus side, the days are long gone when seemingly every media interview was a battle with climate change deniers or contrarian journalists. Key figures across all sectors of society now comprehend that climate change is real, driven by human activity, essentially irreversible and the greatest of threats to civilisation.

But on the debit side is the worrying indifference seen towards the humanitarian catastrophe caused by Hurricane Idai, the blistering heatwaves in Australia, the widespread retreat of glaciers, and the accelerating loss of global species — all of which (and more) comprise a pattern of worsening climate impacts that is absolutely consistent with predictions.

The blitheness with which these impacts are described as the ‘new normal’ suggests a collective complacency about the severe threats they present to billions of people — not to mention the resulting political-economic instability and conflict by which no-one will be untouched.

School strikes

Thank goodness then, for the schoolkids. I am sure, like me, many readers of London Cyclist have accompanied their younger children to protest against stupidity and complacency at a school climate strike. Many will also have been led by their children, whether of school age or young adults, to join one of the extraordinary Extinction Rebellion protests. We would be wise to realise that these young protesters are deadly serious: they will hold our generation to account for an irreversible screw-up, one that will hit them worst of all, if we don’t rouse ourselves to action.

LCC has been organising action on two wheels to support the strikers. We were born out of the environmental movement of the late 1970s, and that heritage remains part of our DNA. We will continue to strive to reduce the dangers that prevent people from being able to cycle as their everyday mode of transport — not only so that they can enjoy the flood of happy hormones that getting around by bike brings, but to play our part in rapidly eliminating carbon emissions.

I’m an optimist. I remain confident that humanity will prove itself neither stupid nor complacent. LCC will do its bit; we will assure the school strikers through even more determined lobbying and campaigning that we are, and will remain, on their side and on the right side of history. They are demanding wisdom from us, and we owe it to them to show it — to be ‘Not Stupid’.

Categories: London

Take action: “Safer” junctions not safe enough

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 10:43

 

A year ago, LCC held a demonstration at the deadly Holborn gyratory, following a fatal collision there to highlight the lack of action on road danger. Given that the Mayor’s Transport Strategy promises rapid action to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on our roads – of which there were 111 and 3,954 respectively in 2018 – to zero by 2041, he needs to get a move on!

To give him some impetus we are asking everyone to sign our new petition to not only deliver “safer junctions” to a higher standard, but faster too.

Please click here to sign.

In the last year, and in response to our protest, pressure from the London Assembly and our petition run at the time, signed by nearly 3,000 LCC members, we have seen some positive steps. Camden Council won funding to fix issues around Holborn (including for removing the gyratory), and Greenwich and TfL are bringing forward work on the deadly Angerstein junction too.

Both of these are very welcome steps forward. But far too many other dangerous junctions have seen no improvements, and perhaps even more worryingly, the vast majority of the junctions where alterations have been proposed under Sadiq’s Safer Junctions programme are nowhere near good enough.

We have been studying the junctions that have already seen “improvements”, and most that we have looked at have seen further serious injuries and even fatalities since the junction was changed. For instance, Ludgate Circus in 2017 alone saw both a pedestrian fatally killed and another seriously injured, both on the south side of the junction, while Hackney’s Manor Road/Stamford Hill junction saw a pedestrian hit with serious injuries, and the junction of Southwark Bridge and Queen Street has seen two serious injuries to motorbikers since changes.

Now a spate of new Safer Junctions proposals have come forward that retain “critical issues” in TfL’s own Healthy Streets Check – these are objective measures of design for safety, and represent the absolute no-nos for designing safer streets and junctions.

Safer Junctions consulted on recently include Edgware Road and Harrow Road junction. This horrific multi-lane junction is an underpass of the A40 with complex turning movements. The revised design adds pavement width, early starts for cyclists on some arms, bans a turn, but also retains 3 “critical issues”. The crossing of East India Dock Road scheme retains 2, the Kingsland Road/Balls Pond Roads scheme has 2, and Clapham Road at Union Road and Stirling Road has 1. The prize however goes to the Holloway Road Safer Junctions scheme, which retains 5 major safety “critical issues”! (At least it cuts 1 from the previous 6!)

The catch seems to be that these aren’t Safe Junctions, but Safer Junctions. They’re not “Vision Zero” but “Vision A Bit Better”.

The concerns around delays to buses, and even private motor traffic, are trumping the safety of people walking or cycling through them. This simply isn’t acceptable – people’s lives and limbs are more important than a 30 second delay to drivers or bus passengers. These junctions also represent hostile barriers that keep many more people from ever cycling in London.

That’s why we’re asking everyone to sign our new petition calling on the Mayor and his deputy to deliver better Safer Junctions, and faster too.

Please click here to sign.


Categories: London

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