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Safer junctions for cyclists

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 6th November 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Pidgeon Caroline Pidgeon Liberal Democrat

Are all junctions undergoing works by TfL compatible with your Vision Zero standard?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Thank you, Chair. Vision Zero is not a standard for designing a junction. Instead, it is my commitment that deaths and serious injuries will not be tolerated on our transport network. It is an utter tragedy that 103 people have lost their lives so far this year on the roads, including four people just last week. TfL and I are continuing to do everything possible to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from London’s transport network.

Early next year, 20-mile-per-hour speed limits will be brought into effect on TfL roads in central London and, soon after, enforcement of our world-leading Direct Vision Standard will begin. This will be on top of the tripling of safe space for cycling by next spring compared to the eight years of the previous administration, 900 buses with intelligent speed assistance, and 31 safer junctions that have been delivered so far.

Over 70% of all the collisions in London occur at a junction. My Safer Junctions Programme is taking an evidence-based approach, targeting the 73 junctions on the TfL road network where the greatest numbers of people have been killed or injured while walking, cycling or riding motorcycles. TfL are addressing specific safety risks at each junction but also creating a more pleasant and safe environment for walking and cycling. There has been an average reduction in collisions of nearly 30% across the safer junctions delivered so far.

Other junctions outside this programme, such as the Old Street roundabout, which is currently under construction, also contribute to road danger reduction by separating people walking and cycling from traffic. TfL designers consider a wide range of guidance when developing junction schemes, including the Healthy Streets check, the London Cycling Design Standards and Department for Transport (DfT) design guidance. For example, all projects undergo formal road safety audits at each stage of design and construction.

TfL is of course looking at what more it can do to reduce danger on our roads. This includes looking at where the perception of road danger is highest and bringing forward more holistic schemes to tackle some of the most high-risk parts of our road network.

Photo of Caroline Pidgeon Caroline Pidgeon Liberal Democrat

Thank you very much. I welcome the initiatives you have outlined there and your Vision Zero objective: by 2041 all deaths and serious injuries should be eliminated from our transport network.

However, are TfL’s actions really meeting this objective? I have here a 3,000-signature petition signed by the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) and handed to myself and other Assembly Members today expressing concerns about a number of recently changed junctions, junctions that have received serious investment from TfL, authorised by you. Do you really believe that every junction that TfL has recently invested in is meeting the standards and your ambition for Vision Zero and are fit for purpose?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Can I say, Chair, and put on record? You have been extremely helpful in us reaching better standards. I am really happy to get my team to speak with you and the LCC. The LCC has been fantastic as well.

If you are concerned about particular junctions, you have been really helpful in the past. Please work with the team. I am happy for you to sit down with the team. There is a real can-do attitude there. If there is any criticism about junctions that have just been installed, let us know, but genuinely we are working incredibly hard and taking all advice from everyone to make sure that junctions are safe.

Each junction is different. That is what I would say. You cannot have a checklist approach. Continue to work with us. I am more than happy, Chair, to organise a meeting as soon as possible if there are particular junctions you are concerned about to make sure we sort them out before they are changed.

Photo of Caroline Pidgeon Caroline Pidgeon Liberal Democrat

The LCC highlights some of the recent improvements at junctions funded by TfL. They do not believe they are safe. TfL’s latest improved junctions include sites where we have seen recent fatal and serious collisions. Ludgate Circus has recently seen a fatality and a serious injury. The junction at Camberwell New Road and Brixton Road has also seen a serious injury.

Do you accept that junction standards by TfL need to be further improved and to get this right the first time; otherwise, you are going to face expensive retrospective investment?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

That should not be happening because, as I have said, we have seen a huge reduction in incidences where we have had the work done. There were 73 junctions earmarked for improvements, 31 are now completed and 43 are at the design and construction stage. As I said, at the design and construction phase, there are lots of road safety audits taking place in relation to those. There may be some that are not perfect, but they have led to massive improvements.

If it is the case that the LCC - which is fantastic on this stuff - or the Assembly Member have concerns, speak to us. Some of the time it is balancing different vulnerable road users. It is not one against the other, but sometimes pedestrians take priority over cyclists and take priority over powered two-wheeled mopeds and motorcycles. We are keen to make sure we get it right.

I will just say this. A lot of the roads are not our roads and so it is about working with the councils. There are 210 schemes that are not ours but are councils’ and it is about meeting the councils’ concerns, objections and views as well. It is a difficult exercise but we want to get it right and so I am more than happy to address any concerns there may be.

Photo of Caroline Pidgeon Caroline Pidgeon Liberal Democrat

Thank you. This is all about saving lives and preventing serious injuries.

Photo of Caroline Pidgeon Caroline Pidgeon Liberal Democrat

You have raised there the issue of London boroughs. Will you review some of the Local Implementation Plan (LIP) payments to boroughs if their plans fall short of your Vision Zero safety standards?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

We will and the Assembly Member will know that we did so in relation to cycleways. If you remember the concern, a concern that you had and others, including the LCC, had was questioning the quality of cycle schemes that are funded. With the excellent work of Will Norman [Mayor of London's Walking & Cycling Commissioner] we now have clear criteria for schemes we will fund. Similarly, if it is the case that any funding we give through LIP money or other money from TfL is going to a borough scheme that does not meet the safety standards we want, of course we are not going to fund those. Again, if there is information that you have, please work with us to make sure we get that right.

I hope boroughs want to do the right thing. You will know there are some boroughs that are an absolute nightmare to work with and do not appear to care about pedestrians or cyclists. We want to make sure we persuade them do the right thing.

Photo of Caroline Pidgeon Caroline Pidgeon Liberal Democrat

Yes. Thank you very much. I look forward to meeting with your team and the LCC further on some of these junctions, but we do want to strive for perfection, whether it is a TfL road or a borough road.

Photo of Caroline Pidgeon Caroline Pidgeon Liberal Democrat

Thank you very much, Mr Mayor.