Mayor & Transport for London plan to improve cyclists safety

The Mayor of London and Transport for London have released a plan to improve cyclists safety on the roads of London.

London’s boroughs and cycling groups are being asked to comment on the content of the plan, which highlights the needs for action by:

· Promoting the cycling safety message to all road users.

· Delivering new, safe cycle routes and facilities – such as the new Cycle Superhighways routes and the central London Cycle Hire scheme with its 6,000 bikes.

· Confidence boosting training for cyclists, and other road users –£3 million has been invested in cycle training this year.

· Encouraging HGV(heavy goods vehicles) operators in London to take cycling safety seriously  – including engaging with 7,000 London companies and encouraging them to join TfL’s Freight Operators Recognition Scheme.

· Working with over 300 freight companies which operate construction vehicles – they will be encouraged to install side-bars or other safety devices on HGVs that are currently exempt.

· Calling for Government action to improve HGV safety – by removing the current exemption for some construction vehicles to have side-bars and requiring cycle safety awareness as a mandatory part of HGV drivers ‘Certificate of Professional Competence’ (CPC) periodic training requirement.

· Championing the need to allow trials of innovative safety measures – such as Trixi mirrors in London to examine their potential benefits for cycling safety.

· Creating a Cycle Safety Working Group of key road user and cycling organisations

The Plan will also be:

· Sent to around 100,000 cyclists across London.

· Circulated to all 33 London boroughs – drawing on the expertise of road safety and cycling officers.

· Supported by Exchanging Places HGV/Cycle events taking place on launch day -  with more to follow in November and coming months – giving London’s cyclists the opportunity to learn about riding safely near HGVs.

· Accompanied by a cycle safety advertising campaign -  currently running across London cinemas.

· Supported by research into collisions involving cyclists – to ensure the efforts of TfL and other partners are focused where they will make greatest difference.

A major aim of the plan is to reduce the number of cyclists injured or killed by collisions with goods vehicles. The Mayor is calling on freight companies operating in the capital who are exempt from fitting side guards on their vehicles to fit them or other safety devices. New research has revealed that fitting guards, which run along the side of the vehicle, might have contributed to preventing the deaths of 15 out of 23 cyclists killed by a collision with a large vehicle moving to a left lane or turning left in London between 2001 and 2006.

With a nine per cent increase in cycling on London’s streets since the Mayor’s election, he wrote to the Transport Secretary today (23 October) to highlight his safety plan and areas where the Government could work alongside the Mayor to improve cyclists’ safety.

With the clocks going back this weekend and nights getting longer, the release of this plan is also a timely reminder to cyclists to ensure they take every care to make themselves as visible as possible over the winter months. It is vital they put some time aside to check their lights, perhaps pick up some reflective tape and ensure they have a high visibility jacket to wear when out on their bike.

The numbers of cyclists being killed or seriously injured on London’s roads has fallen by around a fifth in the last decade, despite the fact that cycle journeys on major roads has more than doubled in that time. But with increasing numbers of Londoners taking to two wheels the Mayor and Transport for London are aware that there has never been a more important time to focus on cycle safety.

The Mayor and TfL are also calling for more people to sign up for the free, TfL-funded, cycle training that is available to adults and children through London’s borough councils. Last year 5,875 adults and 39,118 children took part in training funded by TfL. An on-line five minute cycle safety training film was also developed, which can be watched on www.tfl.gov.uk/cycling and YouTube, that gives safety tips and advice to cyclists and drivers of goods vehicles, on how to behave around each other.

Ben Plowden, Director of Integrated Programmes at TfL, said: “Roughly 200 million cycle journeys are made every year on London’s roads, and the vast majority of those journeys are completed safely. Tragically though, every year a small number of cyclists never make it home, and the majority of those cycle deaths involve a goods vehicle.

“The plans we are announcing today are the next stage in our ongoing work to help cyclists and HGV drivers navigate London’s busy roads, and each other, safely. Measures such as installing side-guards on construction vehicles could save cyclists lives every year, and seem a small price to pay for a human life. We will continue to work with both cyclists and HGV drivers to highlight the risk posed by HGVs turning left or changing lanes at junctions.”

The cycle safety action plan was launched in the London Borough of Lambeth. The council has a track record of promoting cycle safety and takes a pioneering approach on cycle training for HGV drivers, along with its partner Veolia Environmental Services. All Lambeth Council employees who drive as part of their jobs must undertake specific ‘cycle awareness’ training.

Cllr Nigel Haselden, Lambeth Council deputy cabinet member for sustainability, said: “London has the potential to be a world class cycling city – more and more people are taking it up and figures show that although twice as many people are cycling now in the borough than 10 years ago, the number of those being injured in collisions has not risen.

“However, half of all fatalities involve heavy goods vehicles. We are making sure our drivers get specific training which includes both discussion sessions and practical cycle training to make them more aware of the dangers their can lorries pose, as well as running a sustained education campaign for cyclists to make sure they are aware of the dangers of left turning vehicles.

SOURCE: Mayor of London

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