Briefing Paper - Meeting with TfL and Cycling Commissioner

(this paper referenced in Stop Killing Cyclists’ press release HERE)

21 January 2014

Briefing Paper for Stop Killing Cyclists Meeting with Transport for London’s CEO Leon Daniels and the London Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan.

Cycling is major positive contributor to London’s quality of life.

It enables people who cycle to be fitter and healthier.

It reduces the toxic pollutants contributing to 4,000 Londoners deaths per year.

It reduces road and public transport congestion. Every car-driver who chooses to cycle to work is a car off the road and every bus/tube passenger who cycles frees up a space for others.

It is one of the most cost efficient ways to reduce central London’s carbon emissions.

It eliminates transport poverty for thousands of low-waged workers who cycle to work.

Cycling is already making an enormous positive contribution to London’s economy.

It is one of the healthiest and most environmentally sustainable transport modes. It enables us to travel the kind of distances that allow us to reach most destinations within a city.

Cycling is economically sustainable with research indicating phenomenal payback for investments in cycling infrastructure when compared to investments in roads and high-speed rail with paybacks ranging from £9-£20 per pound invested.

Cycling investment has a payback period of 1-3 years, compared to over 20 years for road schemes.

Transport Poverty

The cost of cycling is low and if it was perceived to be a safe mode of transport, it would make a major contribution to reducing transport poverty for hundreds of thousands of Londoners, due to the very high cost of public transport in the city.

For someone earning the current national minimum wage of £12, 62, living in zone 4, the cost of a zone 1-4 travel card is £2,136 per year (if you pay annually, which most people can’t afford to do).

That consumes a staggering 17% of their wages on transport alone and tips them into official transport poverty.

Rent for a small studio flat (excluding bills) is likely to be £150 per week, which is £7,800 per year.
Transport + rent = £9,936 - or 79% of total annual income.

That leaves less than £51 per week for bills, food, clothing etc.

Removing the transport cost by spending a one-off payment of £100 on a bike would give such a minimum wage earner an extra £40 per week, giving an approximate £90 per week for bills and food instead.


Reducing Congestion

As bikes take up far less road space than cars they are a major solution to London’s traffic congestion problems.

Congestion is estimated to cost London around £2bn every year (GLA, 2011).
Cycling having zero emissions is also a major solution to reducing the estimated 4,000 excess deaths are attributed to pollution in London each year (Miller, 2010).

In London, cycling and walking have been side-lined due to the excessive focus on motorised transport.

London does not feature in any of the lists of the world’s most liveable cities (Walker, 2013), in large part due to the hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists. It is an ancient city not designed for the motor-car but which has had a car-culture jammed into it.

While huge amounts of money are being poured into projects like Crossrail and upgrading the Underground network, investment towards making walking and cycling safe and enjoyable are tiny in comparison.

The previous increase in the cycling modal share has stalled in the last two year and is still tiny when compared to many other European cities.


Fairness and Equality

The profile of people cycling in London is not representative of the general population: women, the elderly, children, and minorities are all under-represented.

According to the report “Understanding Walking and Cycling”, due to lack of infrastructure investment, risk perception and convenience (Pooley et al., 2011), all three of which can be tackled by addressing the demands below.


London Transport’s Pyramid of Death

Despite the advantages cycling brings to London, Stop Killing Cyclists and Stop The Killing are alarmed at the level of death and disease that Transport for London and the Borough’s transport policies are imposing on Londoners.

The staggering statistics demonstrate that these bodies as currently constituted and run are not fit for purpose. Since 2008 – under current Mayor and Borough leaders:

  • Over 90 cyclists killed.
  • Over 420 pedestrians killed.
  • Over 3,600 cyclists seriously injured.
  • Over 15,000 pedestrians and cyclists killed or seriously injured.
  • Over 24,000 deaths from lung and other transport pollution caused diseases.
  • Over 300,000 people died globally from CO2 emissions with transport emissions.
  • Over 2,000,000 Londoners suffering from obesity and lack of fitness leading to a range of related diseases, which could be radically reduced if they felt London’s roads, were safe to cycle on.

Transport contributes 20% of climate crisis emissions, with millions more predicted to die as forecasts for the rise in global temperatures soar to between 3-6C0. 

The rate of cycling deaths or serious injuries on London’s roads has increased since 2010, according to TfL figures.

The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured per million journeys was 2.37 in 2010, but rose to 3.17 by 2012, a rise of 33%!


Stop Killing Cyclists Demands:

The following are the demands made by the campaign group “Stop Killing Cyclists”. All of them are realistically achievable with the right leadership from TfL and the Boroughs, as
examples of each of them being implemented can be found around the world.

Their purpose is to enable TfL to maximise the enormous positive contribution cycling can make to London and to replace the current shocking TfL Pyramid of Death with a Zero KSI* Vision as the Mayor of New York as just adopted. (*Killed and Seriously Injured).

1) We want 10% of TfL budget spent per year on cycling until such time as we have a safe network completed. (£600 million/year).

The Dutch spend £24 per person per year on cycling infrastructure.

TfL currently spend approximately £82 million per year, which equates to £9.90 per person. The ten year cycling plan announced a budget of £913 million, which due to London’s rapidly increasing population means that spending per person will basically remain frozen.

If we spent at Dutch levels per person, the expenditure would be £200 million but the Dutch already have been investing in a safety infrastructure since the 1970s.

Thus to deliver Dutch standards across the TfL and Borough networks, investment needs to be at least triple their current budget or 10% of TfL budget.

The annual capital expenditure on cycling which is less than £82 million can be seen for the derisory amount that it is when compared to the £500 million Bank Tube station refurbishment or the equivalent of 0.5% of the £16,000 million single Crossrail project cost.


2) Cycling Organisations need 2 formal Board Members on TfL Board.

The current TfL Board composition is not fit for purpose.

The active participation of cycling and pedestrian organisation representatives in TfL board meetings would help ensure that cycling/pedestrian issues become a priority in decision-making.  More informed decisions will be possible with regards to projects ranging from train station upgrades through to roadwork management, keeping cycle provision in mind at all stages.

Pedestrians likewise deserve representation.

Our analysis is that the current board composition is:

5 bankers/big business, 2 taxi reps, 2 aviation industry, 1 HGV, 3 Conservative Politicians, 1 trade unionist and 1 disabled person.


3) We need ALL Boroughs to be spending at least 10% of their Mayoral approved transport budgets spent on cycling infrastructure.

Many boroughs are actively blocking progress on safer cycling despite warm words expressed in policy and statements.

Southwark Council for example has allocated £Zero to new segregated cycle lanes in its current 3 year transport budget. Lambeth Council likewise spent Zero on segregated cycle lanes in the last 4 years.

Their planning departments are often designing in new dangerous junctions and refusing to grab the opportunities for safer cycling infrastructure which new developments provide.

The failure of TfL to actively intervene in planning applications along the proposed Superhighways means that once in a century opportunities are being lost.


4) All Borough and TfL Transport Heads to be qualified to deliver Dutch style “Sustainable Safety” or be replaced.

The Dutch have adopted five principles of “sustainable safety” which are designed to prevent crashes, or at the very least, prevent serious injury in those that do occur. This proactive approach takes into account the physical vulnerability of pedestrians and cyclists, as well as the cognitive capabilities and limitations that so often contribute toward crashes (SWOV, 2012). While some principles are already incorporated into UK road design, such as the predictability of road design, other principles are not currently accommodated for. Thus, adopting these principles could be an important step in making cycling (and walking) both safer and more appealing, thereby increasing their modal share. Table 1, reproduced from a SWOV factsheet, lists the five principles of “sustainable safety”; more information on the subject can be obtained by reading the relevant document in the reference list.

Sustainable Safety Principle Description
Functionality of roads Mono-functionality of roads as either through-roads, distributor roads, or access roads in a hierarchically structured road network
Homogeneity of mass and/or speed and direction Equality of speed, direction, and mass at moderate and high speeds
Predictability of road course and road user behaviour by a recognizable road design Road environment and road user behaviour that support road user expectations through consistency and continuity of road design
Forgivingness of the environment and of road users Injury limitation through a forgiving road environment and anticipation of road user behaviour
State awareness by the road user Ability to assess one’s capacity to handle the driving task

Table 1. The five principles of sustainable safety

Southwark’s Head of Transport has publicly and in policy terms opposed segregated cycle lanes and called for the use of cyclists to slow traffic instead!

Westminster’s Head of Transport is equally failing to support new segregated cycle lanes.

The City of London is opposed to segregated cycle-lanes.


TfL needs to call for an urgent cycling summit between all the Heads of Borough Transport Departments and the cycling bodies.


5) ALL dangerous junctions need to be redesigned to Dutch standards ASAP.

For signalised junctions, this includes the provision of separate signals for bicycles (on the same stage as pedestrians if in parallel), kerb protected left-hand-turns as well as the provision of segregated paths on busy roads that allow the safe bypassing of T-junctions and allowing left-on-red without ever interacting with other vehicles, thus reducing travel times as an added benefit.

There are thousands of dangerous junctions in London whose design has never taken cycle safety into account. The Mayor’s programme of dealing with just tiny 38 of the most dangerous junctions is woefully inadequate.

6) Make Oxford Street a pedestrian/cycling only street

Oxford Street is Europe’s ‘busiest shopping street’ (Daily Telegraph, 2 August 2010), yet is also the most dangerous in the London in terms of collisions (35 times higher than the average London Street according to the GLA’s “Streets Ahead” Report) resulting in, since April 2010, an average of over four vehicle-pedestrian reported collisions per month, around two of which involve buses, and a pedestrian is seriously injured about every month-and-a-half.

Since April 2010, buses have been involved in sixty percent of the collisions resulting serious injury on Oxford Street.

Other cities around the world, from New York to Paris, have been converting busy pedestrian/traffic areas into pedestrian-only zones; for example, Times Square has already been partially pedestrianized, with further improvements being started (CBS, 2013). This pedestrianizing of the area has already proved hugely popular, with increased store sales being reported (New York Times).


7) All London streets to be 20mph

TfL should immediately introduce 20 mph speed limit for its road network and for all its contracted buses on all Borough road networks.

It should also work with the 32 Boroughs to introduce a consistent 20mph speed limit across London asap.

TfL also needs to lobby ACPO for enforcement of 20 mph speed limits.

Impact speed vs Pedestrians

8) Require Compulsory Cycle Awareness training for all truck/bus companies operating in London

This will ensure raised awareness of bicycles and their vulnerability to drivers of HGVs and buses, especially during the interim period while better infrastructure is being constructed.


9) Increase safety for cyclists by allowing filtered left-hand-turns (i.e. changing the junctions to “Yield Right of Way” designation for cyclists, to become standard design at junctions, with top priority for pedestrians

This measure would reduce the incidence of collisions with motorised traffic and resultant fatalities.


10) End TfL’s disastrous policy of prioritising smooth flow and speed of traffic and instead adopt policy of placing safety of vulnerable road users - cyclists, pedestrians and children at the top of your transport hierarchy.

Given the huge benefits of walking and cycling in terms of reducing obesity, lessening air pollution, improving mental health, increasing social equality, reducing congestion, and even improving sales for local businesses that lie along cycle routes, the idea of continuing a traffic-engineering based approach that focuses solely on maximising hourly PCUs through an intersection, and reducing travel time for motorists, is akin to trying to put out a fire with petrol.

Priorities must be stated, and goals must be set – a transport department in a city that has its priorities focussed on the movement of motor traffic, rather than the movement of people, is one that is in dereliction of duty in adequately performing its role. The focus of enabling mobility in a city must be on active and public transport. While the latter has been achieved well in London, the former is sorely lacking.

Thus, the policy of smoothing the flow and increasing speed of traffic, which comes at the expense of those choosing to use active travel, is one that should be dropped immediately.

11) Where provision for traffic and space for safe walking and cycling are in conflict, TfL must change its current lethal policy to one of prioritising vulnerable road users

As stated above, cities are, above all, places for people. Therefore, for a city to be healthy in all respects, it must focus on the wellbeing of people. Making streets safe and friendly for pedestrians and cyclists is good for business and tourism and helps promote an atmosphere of socialising and easy mobility rather than one of fear and negative emotions where people do not want to spend time (Mehta, 2013).


12) Ban on any vehicles whose drivers cannot see adjacent road-users. Children, pensioners and inexperienced adults should not be forced to share space with HGVs.

There are two very good reasons for this statement, as well as some proven steps to prevent such interaction from occurring. The main concern is that the sharing of road space between HGVs, buses, and cyclists results in negative impacts upon both actual and perceived safety. This can be seen in London, where the rate of cycle deaths (2.2 deaths per 100 million km cycled) greatly exceeds that of the national rate in the Netherlands (1.1 deaths per 100 million km) or Germany (1.6 deaths per 100 million km) (Department of Transport UK, Buehler and Pucher, 2012).

London has the highest KSI rates (70/100 million km cycled) in the country for cyclists, with it being 35% higher than the South-West. (UK Department of Transport).

Perceived safety is very important in getting people onto bikes. Perceived risk associated with cycling on busy roads was one of the main reasons given in the UK for not using one’s bike more often (Pooley et al., 2011). Furthermore, it is exactly the groups mentioned – children, the elderly, as well as women – who are most risk averse, and this risk aversion is likely the main reason for the under-representation of these groups cycling in London (Steinbach et al., 2011; Garrard, Rose, and Lo, 2008).

HGVs and Buses are responsible for 20% percent of deaths and 25 percent of serious injuries to cyclists in London each year (RoSPA 2013).

The use of side detection technologies (cameras, radar) in the blind spot of large vehicles must become compulsory.  We need also to reduce the numbers of HGVs through the use of freight distribution centres and use of cycle logistics and seeking way to reduce unnecessary transport e.g. returning waste transport to barges. It is crucial to crack down on the shocking levels of trucks being driven illegally or in an illegally dangerous condition on London’s streets. A recent Metropolitan Police action found over 70% of trucks stopped to be breaking the safety laws. The estimated total figure is about 30%. This urgently needs to be prioritised with a target of 99% found to be compliant with existing safety laws.


13) We need a FULL, integrated, safely designed, segregated cycle network in London within 5 years.

A segregated cycle network alongside major or busy roads, combined with filtered permeability on minor roads, would go a long way in increasing cycle accessibility to those currently excluded in London. It would increase both actual and perceived safety, thus eliminating one of the biggest barriers to cycling in London. This network should be integrated with public transport, and provide ample cycle parking, a combination that Pucher, Dill, and Handy (2010) say is key to ensuring the success of city cycling.

The most useful measure of all would be the implementation of Dutch quality segregated cycle paths, along with separate or advance staging for cycle traffic on these paths. While separate bicycle stage signals will require time at junctions with high saturation flows, increased cycle mode share and reduced car use would compensate for this over time.


Dutch Cycling Expenditure: click HERE (Dutch)

British Cycling Economy: click HERE

Buehler, R. and Pucher, J., 2012. International Overview: Cycling Trends in Western Europe, North America, and Australia. In: Pucher, J. and Buhler, R. eds., 2012. City Cycling. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

CBS, 2013. Bloomberg Unveils Redesign Of Times Square Pedestrian Plaza. [online] 23 December.

CROW, 2007. Design manual for bicycle traffic. Ede, The Netherlands: CROW.

Garrard, J., Rose, G. and Lo, S.K., 2008. Promoting transportation cycling for women: The role of bicycle infrastructure. Preventative Medicine, (46) pp. 55-59.

Greater London Authority (GLA), 2011. The Future of Road Congestion in London. [pdf]

Mehta, V., 2013. The Street. New York, NY: Routledge.

Miller, 2010. Report on estimation of mortality impacts of particulate air pollution in London. [pdf] Institute of Occupational Medicine.


Pooley, C. et al, 2011. Understanding walking and cycling: summary of key findings and recommendations, [online]

Pucher, J., Dill, J. and Handy, S., 2010. Infrastructure, programs, and policies to increase bicycling: An international review. Preventative Medicine, (50) pp. S106-S125.

Steinbach, R., Green, J., Datta, J. and Edwards, P., 2011. Cycling and the city: A case study of how gendered, ethnic, and class identities can shape healthy transport choices. Social Science & Medicine, (72) pp. 1123-1130.

SWOV, 2012.  SWOV Fact sheet - Background of the five Sustainable Safety principles. [pdf]

Speed/Fatality Graph:

Walker, P., 2013. London: no city for cyclists. Bike blog, [blog] 3 December.


— Drafted by David Hicks, Tom Kearney, Donnachadh McCarthy and Will Nickells. 

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