Enhancing safety of cyclists must be a top priority
The recent incident of a woman cyclist suffering serious injuries after a collision with a truck in Royal College Street, Camden Town, is another in a series of terrible and often fatal accidents in London over the last year. All our sympathies are with
The recent incident of a woman cyclist suffering serious injuries after a collision with a truck in Royal College Street, Camden Town, is another in a series of terrible and often fatal accidents in London over the last year.
All our sympathies are with this cyclist and it is a reminder of how much more still needs to be done to make sure that cyclists and pedestrians are safe from heavy goods vehicles and cars.
Camden Council's executive recently considered the proposed transport strategy put forward by transport officers. Green Party councillors pointed out that the strategy did not go far enough and listed key steps that need to be taken if Camden is to be transformed into a place where walkers and cyclists feel safe and can happily go from one place to another.
Only then can we have more cyclists and pedestrians on the streets - good for climate change, air quality and health, and of course cycling and walking are inexpensive means of travel too. This aim of increasing cycling was strongly supported in the consultation exercise by a diverse range of groups - from schools like Acland Burghley to cyclist groups.
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We asked for a default 20mph speed limit on all roads other than ones that deserved to be made an exception. The evidence shows that this cuts accident rates significantly and people feel safer. We asked for a survey of truck movements to understand where they were travelling to and to see if they were full to capacity to see if this sort of traffic could be reduced. We also asked for a plan to address key safety issues such as cyclists trying to go straight ahead at a junction and a car or truck turning left - which may have been the cause of this recent near fatality.
Other issues that should also be looked at include fitting variable speed limiters on heavy goods vehicles so that such vehicles cannot exceed the speed limit in a particular area.
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Fortunately, the executive decided that the transport strategy was not good enough and only approved it subject to amendments. I hope the amended strategy and the review of the cycling plan for 2008 will lead to a greater focus on ensuring safety and addressing key problems. We need to make big real progress towards a greener Camden where the considerations of pedestrians and cyclists are the key concerns in our transport system and where we have less pollution and noise from cars and traffic and where, most importantly, we have no more serious accidents like this one.
Cllr Maya de Souza
(Green Party) Highgate ward, Camden