Cycling safety is paramount

The Times has picked up the story of Transport for London potentially facing corporate manslaughter charges over the death of Min Joo Lee at King’s Cross on October 3rd last year, reporting that

The stretch of road where Ms Lee was killed appears to breach TfL’s published standards for minimum safe width for roads used by both cyclists and motor vehicles…

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London who chairs TfL, was asked by the London Assembly last month whether the junction complied with the design standards. He replied that the template was a “best practice document intended to ensure that consistently high standards are applied to new schemes in order to reduce barriers to cycling”. He added that the junction’s layout had been implemented before the guidance was published.

The print edition of the article concludes with the sentence

The Mayor’s office said cycling safety was paramount.

‘Paramount’, of course, means ‘of the greatest importance’ – more important than anything else.

Time to revisit what Transport for London’s Nigel Hardy said to Min Joo Lee’s boyfriend at a public meeting at Camden Town Hall, shortly after her death –

On Monday night, Kenji listened patiently in the Town Hall chamber – a perfect picture of dignity in his blue suit with top shirt button done up – as council officials argued they were mostly meeting cycle safety targets in a presentation of endless graphs and pie charts. A TfL representative insisted that introducing a cycle lane at the junction would “cause considerable queues”, stressing that there was “limited time” to conduct a review of the proposed changes for the junction because of a “commitment” to make them in time for the Olympic Games. “We have taken the comments on board from day one – it is more about whether it is workable,” said Nigel Hardy, TfL’s head of capital development.

I wonder how this statement – which suggests that measures to improve the safety of cyclists are not ‘workable’ because they would ’cause considerable queues’ – squares with the assertion, made by the Mayor’s office, that cycling safety is ‘paramount’.

Do they know what the word means?

This entry was posted in Boris Johnson, Infrastructure, London, Road safety, Smoothing traffic flow, The Times' Cities Safe for Cycling campaign, Transport for London. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Cycling safety is paramount

  1. Mick Mack says:

    Let’s get this absolutely clear about all this discussion around cycle safety; it is, and always will be, the economic imperative that is paramount under the dominant economic system. The politicians know full well what paramount means; the problem is, they just don’t care. How much evidence does one need to be convinced of this? I’m convinced. The dominant economic system is the problem and reform of the situation is just that, reform. We need transformation. Here’s the mindset we’re working against as parodied by George Carlin – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IWx96qPtn8

  2. Both statements were made under TfL’s top-level guidance for roads:

    Convenience of motorists > Safety of all other road users

  3. the back story here is in TfL ignoring a little known 2006-7 Cycle Strategy for Kings Cross they commissioned from Buchanan’s, see
    http://kingscrossenvironment.com/2012/03/07/did-tfl-weaken-pro-cycling-recommendations-for-killer-kings-cross-junction-as-long-ago-as-2007/

    and then asking Buchanan’s in a separate piece of work not to include cyclists in their kings cross traffic model

  4. The statistics are harrowing, 17,000 people killed or injured in the UK each year! We just finished a cycle accident claims infographic with loads of interesting stats on cycle accidents: http://www.accidentclaims.name/cycling-injury-claims-infographic . e.g. 75% of people who are killed in cycle accidents have serious head injuries, a clear case for helmets.

    • Your own graphic states that cycle helmets provide protection in ‘low-impact crashes’.

      This is as much as you can say. A cycle helmet is not designed, or certified, to protect the head in the event of a serious impact of the kind that results from collisions with motor vehicles, which is the prime cause of death for cyclists (your own statistics show this).

      A ‘serious head injury’ resulting from a collision with a motor vehicle cannot, and will not, be prevented by a deformable polystyrene shell.

      Your logic is bogus.

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