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Wall of Death protest, 2nd April 2014. Photo: Stop Killing cyclists.
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  • Wall of Death protest, 2nd April 2014. Photo: Stop Killing cyclists.
    Wall of Death protest, 2nd April 2014. Photo: Stop Killing cyclists.
  • The London Boroughs' Wall of Death - making the banners.
    The London Boroughs' Wall of Death - making the banners.

Protesting the London Boroughs 'wall of death'

Donnachadh McCarthy

3rd April 2014

London cyclists were protesting yesterday at the failure of all but a handful of London's 33 Boroughs to invest in safe cycle routes - and the many thousands of deaths that failure is causing. Donnachadh McCarthy reports.

Southwark is still refusing to build segregated cycle-lanes - and is intent on using kids and pensioners to slow huge HGV trucks and double-decker buses.

I have lived in Southwark since 1986. And every election cycle the main political parties have extolled how they support cycling safety for kids and other local residents.

And yet here we are in 2014 and Southwark's streets are more dangerous than ever with almost no integrated safe cycling infrastructure installed.

Since the last local elections in 2010 Southwark has not installed a single meter of segregated cycle lanes - despite the Labour Party's election literature repeatedly promising cycle-lanes.

Cyclists as speed humps

But they went even further when they adopted the Head of Planning's Transport Plan which opposed segregated cycle-lanes as they wanted "cyclists to slow down the traffic".

Yes, 45 years after the Dutch erupted with their Stop Murdering Children cycle safety-campaigns, Southwark is still refusing to build segregated cycle-lanes - and is intent on using kids and pensioners to slow huge HGV trucks and double-decker buses.

But I had a feeling my experiences in Southwark were not unique among London's 32 local Boroughs. So our newly founded cycling direct action group Stop Killing Cyclists commissioned research from Will Nickell of the University of East London.

All but a few Boroughs are stuck in a lethal time warp

His key findings following Freedom of Information requests to all 33 boroughs, showed how many of London Boroughs are stuck in a 1950's lethal motor-centric time-warp.

  • 13 London Boroughs have zero segregated cycle-lanes.
  • 24 London Boroughs installed zero cycle lanes since last London elections.
  • Only 3 boroughs installed any segregated cycle lanes since the last election: Ealing (£400,000), Camden (£320,000), and Waltham Forest (£400,000).
  • The sum total spent by all boroughs over last 4 years on segregated cycle lanes was a tiny £0.795 million. This equated to a miniscule £7,000 per borough per year since last election.
  • Only 4 London Boroughs plan to install any segregated cycle lanes in the year after this May's London elections. (Barking, Barnet, Hounslow, Waltham Forest).
  • Less than 0.5% of the London's Boroughs' roads has segregated cycle lanes installed.
  • The total installed km of segregated cycle-lanes in 28 Boroughs were an almost invisible 36 km, in an estimated 11,900 km of roads. (5 boroughs did not respond)
  • In addition to the 13 boroughs with zero segregated cycle lanes, 13 other London Boroughs' roads have less than 1% installed.
  • Only two boroughs have more than 1% installed Waltham Forest (1.79%) and Camden (1.63%).
  • The four boroughs with the highest kilometres of segregated cycle lanes installed are: Waltham Forest 8.7km; Greenwich 6.5km; Barking 4.5km; Camden 4.2km
  • The 13 boroughs with zero segregated cycle lanes installed are: Barnet, Bexley, Bromley, Enfield, Haringey, Havering, Hounslow, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Richmond, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, and Wandsworth.
  • Just three boroughs have adopted 100% of their boroughs as 20 MPH zones. (Southwark, Islington, Camden)
  • Kensington & Chelsea was the only reporting borough to have zero 20mph zones.
  • Four boroughs had less than 5% of their roads designated 20mph. (Bromley 4.9%, Barnet 3%, City of London 1%, Westminster 0.13%)
  • In 2012, Camden spent by far the most on road-safety since the 2010 elections: £11.7 million.
  • The average spend among other 32 boroughs was £2.6 million.
  • The lowest spend on road safety was an almost invisible £0.009 million by Ealing.
  • Six boroughs spent less than £1 million on road safety: Southwark, Barnet, City of London, Ealing, Havering, Bromley.


The 326 pedestrians and cyclists killed are but the apex of a huge pyramid of death

But it is important to understand the lethal consequences of the failure by London's Boroughs to invest in cycling infrastructure. The death, injury and disease toll from the consequences of London's motorised traffic, in addition to the 54 cyclists killed since the last elections is truly staggering.

  • 54 Cyclists Killed
  • 272 Pedestrians killed1
  • 2,224 Cyclists seriously injured.
  • 3,749 Pedestrians seriously injured
  • 11,260 Est. deaths from physical unfitness due to lack of cycling infrastructure3
  • 13,400 Est. deaths from traffic pollution2
  • 32,600 Pedestrians and cyclists killed or injured4
  • 108,600 All motoring deaths and injuries.5


As you can see the direct cycling and pedestrian fatalities are just the tip of a horrific pyramid of death.

The really big killers: air pollution, lack of exercise

80% of London's air-pollution is traffic related, with researchers estimating 4,200 excess deaths every year from all sources of London's air-pollution.

In addition less than 20% of Londoners now achieve the recommended level of physical activity. If you take Denmark and Netherlands as two cycle-friendly countries otherwise similar to the UK, the actives are 70-80%.

Assuming, then, that 75% of the population in London were to reach the desired activity level, 2,815 fewer people would die per year, or 11,260 over 4 years (figures from Public Health England).

So you are looking easily at well over a quarter of a million Londoners directly affected, and millions more with reduced fitness due to failure to install cycling infrastructure.

And that's without counting any of the worldwide deaths that will result from London's enormous CO2 transport emissions.

Follow Holland into the 21st century

Will Nickell, the author of our report, says: "This research for the first time exposes the lethal failure by the vast majority of London's Boroughs to invest in Go-Dutch standard segregated safe-cycle lanes, for London's kids and cyclists over the last four years".

"Boroughs must urgently follow Amsterdam into the 21st century and invest a minimum of 10% of their local transport budget on Dutch standard cycle lanes and include space-for-cycling in all new developments and transport infrastructure."

We demand 10% of transport budgets for safe cycle routes

Stop Killing Cyclists supports his demand that the London Boroughs spend a minimum of 10% of their Transport Budgets on segregated cycle lanes and to include safe space for cycling on all new developments.

We are likewise demanding 10% of Transport for London's (£600 million) and the Highways Agency budgets to be spent on safer cycling provision.

People should ask every candidate in May's local and European elections if they will support 10% of their transport budget to be spent on segregated cycle lanes.

With that pressure we can move out of this 1950's lethal motorised time-warp and create instead a modern European Dutch-style people friendly transport future.

 


 

Donnachadh McCarthy FRSA is co-founder of Stop Killing Cyclists and Co-organiser of the major cycling and road safety protest in November 2014 - The National Funeral for the Unknown Victim of Traffic Violence Oxford Street, London.

He is also a former Deputy Chair of the Liberal Democrats but is now a member of no political party. His third book on the corruption of UK politics, The Prostitute State will be published in 2014. He can be reached via his website 3acorns.

Action: today's protest Facebook Page.

Action: Stop Killing Cyclists are organising a national protest in November to take this cycling and road safety protest campaign to the UK government.

Read the report: The London Boroughs: saving lives or saving pounds?

Check out our website www.stopkillingcyclists.org to see how you can help or check out the events Facebook Page.

 


Appendix 1 - FOI Questions and Table of replies:

Questions:

 

 

 


Q1. What percentage of your borough's total road kilometres consists of fully, hard-segregated cycle routes?

 

 

Q2. How many total kilometres of fully, hard-segregated cycle routes does this equate to?

 

 

Q3. Since the 6th of May 2010, how much money in pounds sterling has

been spent from your borough's transport budget on creating further,

fully, hard-segregated cycle routes?

 

 

Q4. In relation to the above question, what percentage of your total

transport spend within your borough for the named period did this

constitute?

 

 

Q5. For the period between the 1st of April 2014 and the 31st of March 2015,

how much total money in pounds sterling from your borough's

transport budget has been, or will be, allocated to creating further,

fully, hard-segregated cycle routes?

 

Q6. For the period mentioned in Q5, what percentage of your borough's transport budget does this constitute?

 

 

Q7. What percentage of road kilometres under your sole control are 20mph roads?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Authority

Q1 (%)

Q2 (Km)

Q3 (£)

Q4 (%)

Q5 (£)

Q6 (%)

Q7 (%)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barking

1

4.5

0

0

750000

34

15

Barnet **

0

0

0

0

400000

11

3

Bexley

0

0

0

0

///

///

7.25

Brent

1

1

///

///

///

///

28.38

Bromley

0

0

0

0

0

0

4.9

Camden

1.63

4.2

320000

3.1

0

0

100

Croydon

///

///

0

0

///

///

///

Ealing

<1

1

400000

2

///

///

50

Enfield

0

0

0

0

0

0

19

Greenwich

1.2

6.5

0

0

0

0

39

Hackney

0.2

0.5

0

0

0

0

87.9

Hammersmith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haringey

0

0

0

0

///

///

42.8

Harrow

***

-

-

-

-

-

-

Havering

0

0

0

0

0

0

///

Hillingdon

<1

3

0

0

0

0

///

Hounslow

0

0

0

0

200000

9

25

Islington

0.5

1

0

0

///

///

100

Kensington

0

0.1

0

0

0

0

0

Kingston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lambeth

0

0

0

0

0

0

67

Lewisham

0.05

0.25

0

0

///

///

64

City of London

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

Merton

1

1.5

0

0

///

///

20

Newham

****

 

 

 

 

 

 

Redbridge

0.38

2

0

0

0

0

18

Richmond

0

0

0

0

///

///

DIY

Southwark

///

///

///

///

///

///

DIY

Sutton

0

0.5

0

0

0

0

10

Tower Hamlets

0

0

0

0

0

0

85

Waltham Forest

1.79

8.79

75000

3

320000

14.9

33

Wandsworth

0

0

0

0

0

0

DIY

Westminster

0.05

0.178

0

0

///

///

0.13

 

 

/// = Answer not provided.

 

 

 

DIY = Council provided some data, but stated maths should be done by us.

*** Harrow replied in un-openable format. Alternative requested.

**** Newham said response delayed.

 

 

 

 

 

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