Camden road deaths rise as safety measures come under fire

The number of people injured on Camden’s streets rose for the fourth year in a row, sparking fears that campaigns to improve safety have hit a “glass ceiling”.

Some 945 people were involved in accidents in the borough last year – up from 908 in 2009 and nearly 100 more than in 2008. In 2007, there were 841.

The alarming increase is thought to have been mainly caused by rising numbers of cyclists injured and killed on busy arterial roads.

Among these is Camden Road – dubbed “death mile” by campaigners – where London Metropolitan University student Paula Jurek was killed while cycling home in April 2011.

Ms Jurek’s friend Paul Dean, who launched a petition calling for better road safety, said: “It does feel that there are people out there aware of the problem but there seems to be a real lack of will to deal with it. I think it comes down to people not being terribly interested in cyclists and their safety being right down the agenda.

“It is like there was a glass ceiling that other people had bumped into over the years.

“Fairly simple safety measures can be installed, like cycle lanes and trixie mirrors. But, if these measures aren’t taken, more lives will be lost. If there is no change then we are going to see tragedies happening again and again.”

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Recently, Min Joo Lee, a 24-year-old fashion student from Korea, died after her bicycle collided with a truck outside King’s Cross station.

She is the third cyclist in five years to die at the junction, joining Euston Road, Pentonville Road and York Way.

A Camden Council spokesman said: “We have road safety as a core objective within our transport strategy with the aim to reduce the number of casualties but also to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads.

“The latest data for 2011 shows that casualties have started to fall again following specific targeted works to improve pedestrian crossings, widened footpaths, advanced stop lines for cyclists at junctions and road safety awareness campaigns.”

Following Min Joo Lee’s death, the council is asking cyclists to attend forums to discuss road safety.

TfL will be invited to discuss their own programmes to reduce cyclist and pedestrian casualties on roads within Camden.