Enough is enough. It is time to get angry. The death of a young woman hit by a tipper truck at Bank yesterday highlights the lack of concerted action from both Transport for London and the City Corporation on bike safety.
The huge increase in cycling in central London is no longer a new phenomenon as there has been rapid growth for years. While there are lots of plans for improvement, there is no sense of urgency about them. Bank, for example, is due for improvement some time in 2020.
Yet the continuous series of deaths, about one a month, requires a much more urgent approach. These deaths are taking place at very obvious danger points where instead of waiting for the perfect scheme that will cost millions, remedial action can take place quickly with the use of plastic and paint, as happens in New York. Permanent changes can then be introduced at a later stage.
Transport for London has long promised a freight strategy that would reduce conflict between lorries and cycles but little has happened since the Olympics, despite a commitment to reduce the number of lorries coming in.
Calling for a total ban is cheap politics but in reality difficult to bring about, as there is a night time ban in London that prevents trucks coming earlier. Therefore nothing would be able to enter the central area until after 9 30, something that the freight lobby would protest loudly about. Instead we need a more intelligent approach – a systematic assessment of what lorries need to come in, and the introduction of a licensing system in order to ensure that only those with a real need can enter the central area at rush hour. In tandem, we need to rush through the creation of a Dutch style segregated network of cycle lanes on TfL’s strategic road network. The main routes used by trucks could be prioritised to ensure they were made safe first.
Much, too, can be done about deliveries reducing the number through consolidation centres. All this, though, needs urgency and strong direction, something that has been lacking from mayor Johnson.
So in order to press for rapid action, join me and hopefully hundreds of others at the flash mob at the Bank on Wednesday morning June 24th at 8 30 (don’t be late, it will only last 15 minutes)