We know from the feedback we get from you to our newsletters and web posts that the safety issues created by poor road design is one of your main areas of concern. (There are lots of examples here, here, here and here!) For this reason, it is a key priority in our discussions with TfL and the council. It has also been the focus of the recent Times ‘Cities Safe for Cycling’ campaign (which LBRUT claims to support) and LCC’s ‘Go Dutch’ campaign. People feel threatened on our streets and roads and it is stopping them cycling. Even the London Assembly has launched a consultation on cycle safety focusing on infrastructure.
This week, TfL released the road injury statistics for 2011, showing a 36% increase in cyclist serious injuries on the long term trend. You can read the full breakdown from TfL (pdf – 56kb), Danny from Cyclists in the City has a good analysis of the numbers and it was also picked up in The Evening Standard. Some key points to note for the borough of Richmond:
- Highest number of cyclist injuries in outer London (48% higher than Kingston)
- 17% increase in cyclist injuries over 2010 (much greater than increase in cyclists)
- 1 in 4 of every road incident related injury in the borough was a cyclist
- 13th worst (out of 33) London Borough for cyclist injuries
In our discussions with LBRUT on the importance of safety, we’ve been told by the council’s cycling champion that “campaigning to improve safety is counter productive“ and that “Can we please have RCC encouraging people to cycle not putting them off. It would be better for everyone.” [Note we've still never received a reply to our follow up on this one]. This has been backed up by a refusal to consult RCC on road traffic schemes affecting cyclists in the borough (including those installing cycle lanes!)
Our remaining means to try and influence the council has been the Cycle Liaison Group meetings the council has and which we attend. You can read previous posts on these meetings. We wrote to the council ahead of the next meeting to add relevant items to the agenda for discussion.
We were told in response that although “One of the primary aims of the committee is to promote more cycling in the borough and introduce more people to cycling” that “Cllr Harborne [LBRUT Cycling Champion] is keen to steer away from discussions about road design/signage”
We’re not giving up easily, this subject is important to us. Changes can be made, and councils have a significant influence on the safety of our roads. It is interesting to compare though what Richmond is doing compared to Hounslow:
Meanwhile evidence of what improvements can be made is provided by the example of Copenhagen, as shown in this video:
Such improvements in Richmond would do more than anything to promote cycling in the borough.
As ever, send your thoughts, views and queries to us at firstname.lastname@example.org