Transport bosses are preparing an “ambitious” plan to boost the safety of cyclists and pedestrians on London’s roads.
Due to be published this Summer, the document will outline how Transport for London will deliver on two targets set down by Mayor Sadiq Khan – that 80 per cent of all trips are made on foot, by cycle or by public transport by 2041 and that no-one is killed or seriously injured on London’s roads by the same year.
Despite a series of high profile accidents, cycling in London has grown in popularity in recent years and TfL’s figures show that in 2016, 730,000 daily trips were made by bike – more than the number taken on the Overground and DLR combined.
However many Londoners remain hesitant to take up cycling, with fear of traffic cited as the most common concern.
In order to encourage more Londoners onto bikes, TfL’s new plan will commit it to “tackling the danger that cyclists experience, rather than seeking to change their behaviour” and outline an “intelligence-led” strategy to achieve this.
Official statistics show that 79 per cent of all deaths and serious injuries to cyclists happen at or near a junction, with the most common contributing factors being the drivers of the other vehicle involved either using excessive speed or failing to look.
Under the plans being drawn up, speeds will be reduced on both borough and TfL controlled roads through the introduction of formal speed limits and by “using street design” to slow traffic down.
TfL will seek to lead by example through the previously announced introduction of speed-limiting technology on its bus fleet.
Other measures include continuing to revamp dangerous junctions and accident hotspots and delivering “the next-generation of high-quality cycle routes,” as well as continuing efforts to ensure HGVs and buses are designed with the safety of other road users in mind.
And TfL will use its status as the largest bus franchising authority to mandate safe bus designs in all new operator contracts.
Infrastructure projects and safer vehicle designs will be supported with a revamped marketing strategy which seeks to change the behaviour of motorists and motorcyclists rather than cyclists.
However a briefing paper drawn up for the TfL board warns that the agency’s formal powers are “limited” and that it needs “the support of Government through regulatory and policy reform” if the vision of zero deaths is to be fully realised.
Reforms identified which will need government backing include amending the default urban speed limit to 20mph and updates to the Highway Code “to help people understand risk better and better reflect the needs of those cycling in an urban environment”.
TfL is also seeking further powers to enforce infringement of cycle lanes and advanced stop lines.
The briefing notes that while TfL’s efforts are supported by the Met and NHS, it will need “a groundswell of support from local communities and the public” in order to fully change driver behaviour.