Road safety Has the City woken up?
After months of apparent denial, the City has finally accepted that the level of cyclist and pedestrian casualties is unacceptable. Councillor Mark Boleat, addressing a recent cycle forum held by the City, commented that the upward trend in injuries to vulnerable road users must be halted and that the City was taking urgent steps to make roads in the square mile safer.
The City had argued that the unique nature of its streets combined with the pressure of over 350,000 workers makes it a potentially dangerous place for people on foot or on bikes. But a report by Ted Reilly, comparing the City with Westminster cast doubt on this argument. Westminster shares many of the safety challenges of the City, but has reduced the relative level of vulnerable casualties. In the City they continued to rise.
The City's bureaucracy has been accused of complacency but it is certainly ready to engage constructively with its critics. Ted's report is highly critical of the City's Streets and Walkways sub committee (charged with road safety in the City). Despite this Christine Cohen (Chairman) and Peter Wynne Rees (City Planning Officer) submitted the report to the committee, where it was given a surprisingly positive response. You can read the minutes here.
Ted has had a continuing and positive exchange with Peter Wynne Rees, parts of which you can see here, and the City is actively supporting the formation of Cyclists in the City, a group, which will champion the needs of cyclists in the City. Details of the group can be found here.
This change in attitude is very welcome. CityBeast is in the middle of a review of how the City spends its "road safety dollar", which it will publish soon. When we see a change here we will know that real progress is being made.
Links and resources
Map Showing the location and details of accidents resulting in the serious injury to or death of cyclists in Greater London between 2000 and 2008
Map showing the location of all cyclist and pedestrian casualties in the City of London in 2007
Map showing the location of all motorist casualties in the City of London in 2007
Article on Ted's campaign in CityA.M. Scroll down to the third heading "Road Wars"
Ted's earlier report comparing the City's road casualty record with Westminster's
Minutes of the City's June Streets and Walkways subcommittee
Report of the National Audit Office on pedestrian and cyclist casualties in Great Britain