Chris Boardman on road safety


Great to hear Olympic Gold medallist Chris Boardman speak very well on the issue of road safety on the BBC.

It is the environment we have to make safer. The health service should be saying, people want to ride bikes, government get everything out of the way and get these people riding bikes. 35,000 people die of obesity.

Link to the BBC Breakfast segment here and you can read more about it on the British Cycling website.

LBRUT Cycling Champion Press Release

Post Updated – 21 November
The London Assembly Transport Committee has released the report from its Cycle Safety Consultation and it’s pretty hard hitting. An article by BikeBiz can be found here and you can read the full report here. It is worth a read, particularly in the context of our campaigning to get a safe and inviting Twickenham. Two interesting statements (among many) are:

Outer London is home to the majority of London’s cycling potential (54 per cent). Half of all trips in Outer London are less than 2 miles, but only 5 per cent of ‘cyclable’ trips are cycled. Increasing cycling – and reducing car traffic – can have multiple benefits: it can work to improve air quality, ease congestion, and deliver an economic boost to local shopping centres

and

Cycling will not increase without political leadership which treats cycling as a mainstream form of transport

Coming as Richmond Park MP, Zac Goldsmith, has sponsored an Early Day Motion to “embed cycling into the heart of transport, planning and other relevant policies”, we hope that LBRUT will take this opportunity to take on board our concerns and those of other cyclists in the borough. A simple start would be to restart consulting RCC on road consultations again and unlike their latest two consultations, ensure that they consider the impact of any road schemes on pedestrians and cyclists from the outset.

Post Updated – 22 July
The first public meeting of the London Assembly consultation on cycling safety took place on Thursday 12 July. Local father of two Tim Lennon spoke eloquently about the barriers to his daughter cycling to primary school and London blogger David Ardetti has an excellent analysis on some of what was said.

Following on from that, we received another press release from LBRUT’s Cycling Champion which we’ve copied below in full. Continue reading

TfL Safety Statistics

Richmond's Cycling Infrastructure

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:

Hounslow:http://www.hounslow.gov.uk/cycling
Richmond:http://www.richmond.gov.uk/cycling
Can you spot the differences?

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 campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk

“Oi !!!”, “oww !!!” and knee nor, knee nor

The 3 cycling related deaths we know about in our Borough this year prompted us to ask Richmond Council about all accidents, or collisions as they’re called by the responsible authorities, involving cyclists.  At the end of September’s meeting of the Cycling Liaison Group we were given a map for collisions recorded between 1st January 2006 and 31st December 2010.  We’ve only got it on paper at the moment but it looks like this [clicking on it makes it a bit bigger]

Now, whatever the Council, TfL and RCC does to encourage cycling, eliminating, or at the very least minimising, risk of harm to cyclists must be the priority.

Recent research tells us why people don’t cycle. It includes fear of harm stopping adults from allowing their children to cycle to school in significant numbers and a perception of risk of harm among other demographic groups, regardless of the economic and health benefits of cycling to both the individual and society in general.

The London Cycle Network and Cycle Superhighways are 2 examples of responding to the problem of harm, reducing risk by moving cyclists on to roads with less vehicle traffic, creating separation from that traffic and managing conflict with it at high risk locations like road junctions.  And we’ll know more about what London Cycling Campaign means practically by Go Dutch when they tell us in November about their Manifesto for the 2012 Mayoral Elections.  This is what it means to the Dutch. And, if you’re a parent of school age children, have a look at this video of cycling to school and the very different challenges of the school run there.

So, how does the map help us to adopt a problem solving approach to reducing harm?

Remembering mapping is only a first level of analysis, answering the question “where?” but not “who?“, “what?“, “how?” or “why?“, you won’t be surprised to see clusters, concentrations, in certain places like:

East Sheen’s Upper Richmond Road, notably between Clifford Avenue and White Hart Lane:

Richmond Circus, including the southern end of Kew Road and alongside Old Deer Park:

That’s one reason why we took the Green Party Mayoral Candidate, Jenny JONES, there last week. We also took her there because Richmond Town Centre was voted the number 1 priority in our recent e-mail poll.

Teddington, in particular the High Street junctions with Waldegrave Road, Broad Street and Park, but also Ferry Road junction with Kingston Road:

Twickenham, with Heath Road, King Street junction with Cross Deep and then London Road up to A316, standing out:

It’s also interesting to note where collisions, or at least reported collisions, don’t happen, like Hampton [A1] and parts of Whitton [A16]

While the map is only “where?” what all these locations suggest, most clearly the line of blue squares [serious collisions] and green circles [slight collisions] along Upper Richmond Road, is the role junctions play in the “how?” and “why?”  Knowing this should drive 2 things. First, and foremost, a priority list for highway engineering works in the Borough. Second, the test that work at a location does something about the problem there. Will TfL’s work on Upper Richmond Road reduce collisions?

In our view neither Richmond’s Second Local Implementation Plan for Transport or its associated Draft Cycling Strategy make harm reduction a priority or adopt a problem solving approach. Click here to see how our neighbours in the London Borough of Hounslow are encouraged to report problems.

Back in June we pointed out the consultation document for Twickenham Town Centre didn’t actually use the words “bicycle”, ”cycling” or “cyclist” and “cycle” appears only once, on page 3: “Limited widening of eastern footway in London Road through removal of cycle lane”. This is very disappointing when you see the number of blue squares and green circles:

We also said back in May the apparent enthusiasm police showed for issuing fixed penalty notices for cycling on the pavement in Heath Road was likely to mask a problem with cycling on the road; borne out again by the blue squares and green circles.

We said at the beginning this is a map of recorded collisions so reporting them in the first place is important and the Metropolitan Police Service explains when and how to do that here.  They also invite you to report drivers here.  Note they say they are happy to hear about “Road layouts that you think may be dangerous or can be improved.

Finally, you may be interested in: http://www.crashmap.co.uk/

E-mail campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk with your thoughts on taking a harm reduction approach to cycling in Richmond.