19 November 2013

Southwark is now one of the most dangerous places to cycle in the whole of London

I have today written to Peter John, the Leader of Southwark Council, as follows:
"Dear Peter,

I am writing to express the dire sense of emergency felt by cyclists using Southwark roads. 

Southwark is now one of the most dangerous places to cycle in the whole of London. 

There is a systematic failing in Southwark to prioritise and improve cycle safety, as I am sure you have seen from reading Southwark’s Annual report on delivery of the transport plan 2012/13. 

Policy 5.3 - Target commuter cyclists in road safety campaigns.

Unfortunately injuries to cyclists have increased for the fourth year running as shown in figure 49 on page 106.  

This must be a major concern for us all as Councillors.

Pg 96

Maintain the % of principal road length in poor condition at 11.1% by 2013/14

Delivered:   2012/13: 16.7% of principal road network length – Failing (Red)

Pg 104 

RAG status for road safety targets:

Reduce the number of casualties by 33% by 2020 – Failing (Red)

Reduce the number of KSIs by 33% by 2020 compared with a 2004/08 baseline – Failing (Red)

Reduce all cyclist casualties by 44% by 2020 based on a 2004/08 baseline – Failing (Red)

The recent tragic deaths on Southwark’s streets and several serious incidents bring home just how dangerous Southwark is becoming for cyclists. 

Policy 5.6 - We will seek to create conditions where our roads are safe.

Comparing Southwark to other inner London boroughs, Southwark ranks third worst in terms of total and killed and seriously injured casualties and that Southwark’s casualty numbers are higher than the inner and greater London borough averages.

If you “cycle” across Southwark, it really is one of the most dangerous places to cycle in London, and your Administration does not appear to have, in my view, any robust plan to tackle and change this.

The nature of our inner London Principle A roads (or Red Routes and Borough routes) means there are many, many cyclists in close proximity to the most dangerous large vehicles (lorries and buses) and specific planning measures are needed, now as the growth in cycling inside and across our borough continues.   I call upon you and your Cabinet to act and put in place a radical overhaul of current policy, practice and procedure with and commit to investment in a safe cycling infrastructure along Dutch and Danish engineering design lines. 

I hope the new London Cycling Design Standards developed under Mayor Johnson will give a clear means to “measure” and assess all Southwark’s future schemes and road proposals.  If so,  there may be hope Southwark’s seemingly outdated and old-school approaches can be ended and, in my belief, lives saved. 

Principle inner London A roads and their junctions need higher priority and improved designs and maintenance than at present. 

Please match the talk about lorry bans with practical investment in saving lives and building safe space for cycling in Southwark. The healthy reserves you have built up may well provide the means.

Your sincerely,


Stephen Govier

Councillor for South Camberwell

London Borough of Southwark