Mayor announces delivery timetable for improved cycling infrastructure

09 December 2013

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today set out the delivery timetable for the commitments in his Vision for Cycling during a keynote speech on cycle safety in the capital.

Speaking at the Construction Logistics and Cycle Safety event at City Hall, organised before the recent series of tragic deaths on London’s roads, the Mayor reaffirmed his massive £913m programme to improve infrastructure and safety for cyclists in the capital. Next week he will publish plans for a Central London Grid – a massive network of fully-segregated main road cycle routes and back-street 'Quietway' cycle routes that will make cycling in Zone 1 easier and less intimidating. Many of them will run in parallel with the Tube lines. In addition, he will soon announce the first ‘Quietways’ outside central London, high-quality routes stretching well beyond the centre that will enable long-distance cyclists to avoid main roads. The Cycle Superhighway 2 will be swiftly upgraded. In the new year, he will name the 33 major junctions in London which are in line for major upgrades to make them safer and less threatening for cyclists.

In February, the winners of the ‘Mini-Holland’ competition will be announced – where four outer London boroughs will receive £100 million between them for dramatic and transformational pro-cycling change. And, also in February, the Mayor will announce the final shape of the new Superhighways, a huge network of mainly segregated and semi-segregated routes on London’s main roads, completed to higher standards than now.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “I understand people’s concerns and anger about the recent spate of tragedies on our roads. The lesson I take is not that we should draw back from our ambitious cycling programme – but redouble our efforts to achieve it. A huge amount has already been done to make cycling safer and there’s much more in the pipeline to come. A massive new network of cycle superhighways, completed to far higher standards than before, including two Crossrail segregated routes for the bike through the heart of central London. A new network of back-street Quietways for cyclists who may not wish to encounter some of your members behind the wheels of their trucks. A huge programme to make London’s most dangerous junctions safer and less threatening for cyclists.

"And, of course, a whole set of measures to make lorries safer. The role of lorries in cycle accidents is well known now – roughly half of all fatalities involve HGVs, though they are only 4 per cent of the traffic. I’m very grateful to all those from the industry who pledged to help us tackle this issue and the new construction industry safety standard we are launching is a real step forward and will help save vulnerable users, cyclists and pedestrians, from harm.”

The Mayor added: "I think cyclists and I agree on almost everything we need to make the roads safer. The only difference between us is timing. I am constantly harrassing TfL and my team here about delivery and I, too, would love to see change overnight. The reason why it will take a little longer is not lack of money, or lack of will – but lack of capacity. There just aren’t enough people in Britain who can design good cycle routes – and we are hiring most of them. We also have to agree the changes with the boroughs, who own 95 per cent of the roads. As I promised in my Vision, a promise I renew today, we will do things properly – not repeat the mistakes of the past."

Joined by London’s Transport Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy CBE, the Mayor welcomed the work and commitment of the capital’s construction industry to embrace a common set of standards to help make London’s roads safer for all road users. The Mayor, who will launch a consultation in the new year on a Safer Lorry Scheme to ensure HGV vehicles meet basic safety requirements, today praised developers, trade organisations, contractors and vehicle operators for working to create a common set of Standards for Construction Logistics, including heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). The construction industry led standard will ensure that safety considerations no longer end at the construction site boundary but extend to all parts of the construction process.

Along with a number of major UK developers, TfL, the GLA and Crossrail and their supply chains have all signed up to the standard and both the Mayor and TfL will be championing the standard as part of their wider work to improve safety for all road users. TFL also announced today that it will be trialling a new construction lorry with vastly improved driver visibility and safety equipment. The Laing O’Rourke vehicle, which will be used to transport commercial waste away from the Crossrail project, has a cab with larger front and side windows, significantly reducing the blind spot compared to similar vehicles. TfL will also be working with the industry to identify other models of vehicles with similar high-visibility cabs to help the construction industry further adopt them into their fleet and press manufacturers to adopt these designs for vehicles of the future.

London’s Transport Commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, said: “The hard work and determination of the construction industry to raise standards across the board is both admirable and to be applauded. London is leading the UK in targeting unsafe freight vehicles and, working with the industry, we will continue to drive out poor and dangerous behaviour, and improve standards, to make our roads safer for all road users. Today’s announcement of an industry led road safety standard is something I fully endorse and call on the rest of the construction industry, whether they are based in London or elsewhere in the UK, to do the same.”

Despite significant reductions in overall KSIs in the capital during the last decade, the recent and tragic series of cyclist and pedestrian deaths last month, many of which involved HGVs, shows that there is still much to do. In June 2013, TfL launched its Safe Streets for London plan, which outlined more than 50 key actions to meet the Mayor’s target of reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) by 40 percent by 2020. The plan includes: - Working with the Met Police and City of London Police, all road users will be challenged to understand the risks of their behaviour for themselves and others. This will be backed up by providing road safety information to all London’s school children and working with boroughs to help them take these vital messages out to their residents and businesses; - Take direct action against bad operators and unsafe vehicles through the recently created Industrial HGV Task Force.

Since the task force was launched in September 2013, more than 800 vehicles have been stopped and checked, with less than a quarter being satisfactory. Over 250 Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued so far for a variety of offences including mobile phone use, insurance and driving license offences and unsecure loads, with 14 vehicles seized for being unfit to operate on the UK’s roads.

During 2014, work to upgrade and improve the safety camera network will begin, and TfL will publish a digital speed limit map for use in sat navs so drivers know the safe speed they should be travelling at; - More blind spot safety mirrors will be installed at junctions to make cyclists more visible for lorry drivers, minimising dangerous blind spots still further; improving signal timings for all road users and improving junctions to provide more dedicated space for cyclists; - Work on a Safer Lorry Scheme is progressing well, targeting all HGVS not fitted with basic safety equipment. Later this week, London Councils will be discussing plans to ensure all HGVs used under the London Lorry Control Scheme are fitted with basic safety equipment. Further information on the Safer Lorry Scheme will be made available in the New Year.