TfL has launched a panicky review of major junctions across London in response to overwhelming pressure from cyclists, local politicians and media outlets. As part of this review, TfL has admitted that some junctions are ‘challenging’ for cyclists. TfL says:
We’re reviewing cycle safety at all junctions on Barclays Cycle Superhighways and major junctions on the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN).
The review supports our other cycle safety initiatives, including our cycle safety action plan and work with HGV drivers.
Which junctions will be reviewed?
We’ll review all junctions on the existing Barclays Cycle Superhighways (routes 2, 3, 7 and 8), focusing on 50 key locations.
We also plan to review 150 major junctions on the TLRN. The majority of these are locations where work is already planned and is being designed.
Additionally, we’re looking at a small number of junctions where no scheme is planned, but where it is felt that there are particular challenges for cyclists.
So why is this review panicky? Firstly TfL admits that some of its junctions present
This is an amazing admission – TfL has been in charge of these junctions for about ten years during which time there has been an explosion in cycling. Yet, despite TfL’s loving engineering and safety culture the junctions remain challenging for cyclists. To my mind this is a prima facie admission of a breach of TfL’s duty of care to people who use its roads.
Secondly, only in November last year the Chair of TfL (Mr Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, also Mayor) in the Assembly was firm that engineering solutions, remodelling junctions and putting in specific cycle lanes were largely not the answer in the exchange below with Caroline Pidgeon (AM) -
You have got to be honest and sometimes, Caroline, it is not the case that you could materially affect the outcome by engineering. You have got to be honest about this. You cannot just tell people that it can all be magically changed simply by rebuilding roads
And third, in the same exchange in the Assembly the Chair of TfL says that junctions ‘are under constant review‘
So what’s going on here? TfL already has these junctions under constant review, their Chair has said so – where are the results of this constant review? Why is another review needed? Why, when the junctions are under ‘constant review’, has TfL admitted that the junctions remain challenging for cyclists (in one tragi-comic instance the TfL cycling superhighway review team went to Archway and refused to ride around it, dismounting and pushing instead)?
Overall this review shows a bureaucracy on the run, terrified that they are to be held to account by the media and the courts. But there is one team that comes out of this winning – the TfL PR team they’ve done a magnificent job of suckering The Times into seeing this as a victory for their #cyclesafe campaign as London leads the way, rather than the shabby cover up of a decade of mismanagement.
That Pidgeon/Johnson exchange in full below, for more see our earlier post.
Caroline Pidgeon (AM): Yes, but what I am asking is will you commit to make sure you review these junctions personally and particularly the cycle superhighways. A lot of cyclists that I talk to see it as just some blue paint on the road and at some of the very difficult junctions – whether it is Oval or Stockwell – you have not really tackled some of the more expensive mechanics that you need to make at those junctions to make them work and safe for cyclists.
Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL): Of course. That is why –
Caroline Pidgeon (AM): Of course – is that a yes?
Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL): They are under constant review and I can tell you that I personally cycled all of these areas and I have strong views –
Caroline Pidgeon (AM): And reviewed them?
Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL): — about them. I make my views known to TfL. You have got to be honest and sometimes, Caroline, it is not the case that you could materially affect the outcome by engineering. You have got to be honest about this. You cannot just tell people that it can all be magically changed simply by rebuilding roads –
Caroline Pidgeon (AM): It is not just engineering – it goes along with training and some of the other measures from HGVs that I welcome. I still want you to be reviewing those dangerous junctions to make sure you are doing everything you can.