Transport for London (TfL) has today reinforced its urgent and continued action to make the capital’s roads safer, as it released data showing that 125 people were killed on London’s roads in 2019, with 3,780 seriously injured. The latest statistics underline why TfL is continuing to focus on making streets safer for those most at risk, as part of its Vision Zero ambition to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries from London’s roads.
In 2019, 68 people were killed while walking on London’s roads, up from 57 in 2018, accounting for 54 per cent of all fatalities. Of these, 44 were as a result of a collision with a car. Five people died while cycling, down from 12 in 2018, and 31 motorcyclists were killed, up from 22 in 2018.
There were 25,341 reported collisions in London in 2019. People walking, cycling and motorcycling made up 83 per cent of all people killed or seriously injured last year, highlighting the need for urgent lifesaving measures including segregated cycle lanes, 20mph speed limits, Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, the removal of lorry blind spots and improved motorcycle training, which all aim to protect the most vulnerable on the capital’s streets.
Superintendent Liz Hughes from the Met’s Road and Transport Policing Command, said: “We have seen the devastation caused to families when officers tell them their loved one has been killed or seriously injured on the roads of London. Across the Met, we are committed to bringing down these numbers and targeting those road users who put others at risk by speeding or driving dangerously. By continuing to work closely with Transport for London in taking tough action against dangerous road users, we can help make London’s roads safer for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.”
Overall, 2019 shows a continuing decline in the number of people killed or seriously injured on London’s roads compared to the 2005-09 baseline, helping TfL towards its Vision Zero goal. However, the rate of the decline has slowed in recent years, and TfL today set out how it aims to reduce the number of families suffering unnecessary heartbreak.
While the majority of Londoners are driving safely during the coronavirus pandemic, there has been an increase in speeding, resulting in a number of road fatalities and injuries. A Met police review of fatal collision investigations for 2019 showed that around half of these had speed as a contributing factor to the collision, which is why speed enforcement across London is a priority for TfL and the police. TfL will bring in a 20mph speed limit on over 20km of roads as part of the Streetspace plan to make walking and cycling safer. Following the launch of a 20mph speed limit within the Congestion Charging Zone in March, the same limit has recently been introduced on Edgware Road, Park Lane and Hampstead Road.
Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “It is not acceptable that anyone should be killed or seriously injured when travelling in the capital, and these sobering statistics highlight the vital importance of our work to protect those using London’s roads. Tough new regulations like the Direct Vision Standard, alongside measures making it easier for Londoners to walk and cycle around London, will make a huge difference in improving safety and preventing any more devastating incidents on our roads.”
The latest statistics show that 28 people riding motorcycles have died so far in 2020, representing a 27 per cent rise compared with 22 deaths by the same period last year. Protecting the safety of people riding motorcycles is a high priority for TfL and the Metropolitan Police, who are taking firm action to tackle unsafe driving that puts riders at risk. TfL part funds the Metropolitan Police Service’s Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC), the largest police command in the UK. Made up of more than 2,000 officers dedicated to policing London’s roads and bus networks, the RTPC carries out widespread high visibility roadside operations and patrols. Drivers are urged to look out for motorcyclists, and all road users are reminded to abide by the rules of the road. TfL is also offering free online, face-to-face and socially distancing motorcycle and scooter training courses.
Earlier this week, TfL confirmed that the pioneering Direct Vision Standard will be enforced from 1 March 2021. Introduced with the support of London Councils, it is set to reduce lethal blind spots by introducing a permit system for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), assigning vehicles a star rating based on how much the driver can see directly through their cab window. HGVs with a zero star rating will be required to fit additional vehicle safety features.
Between 2015 and 2019, Larger Goods Vehicles were disproportionately involved in fatal collisions, with 55 per cent of those involving people cycling and 21 per cent of those involving people walking. The first of its kind, the Direct Vision Standard tackles road danger at its source by minimising blind spots which contribute to many tragic deaths and life-changing injuries.
Lilli Matson, Chief Safety, Health and Environment Officer at TfL, said: “Protecting everyone on the road – particularly people walking, cycling and motorcycling – is a priority for TfL, and the latest casualty statistics reveal why bringing in these strict new regulations is more important than ever. Introducing the Direct Vision Standard – the first standard in the world to reduce lethal blind spots from HGVs – combined with our wider work to reduce road danger will prevent more families, friends and communities from experiencing the devastation of road trauma.”
TfL has also been focusing on enabling Londoners to walk and cycle safely in London, boosting active travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and helping to avoid a car-led recovery. Since May, TfL’s Streetspace programme has led to more than 80km of new or upgraded cycle infrastructure being built or currently under construction, along with more than 22,500 square metres of extra pavement space on the TfL network alone so far. This segregated space has boosted safety for people walking and cycling, allowing them to feel confident while travelling while protecting them from vehicles. Since March, 74 Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) have been introduced across London to reduce motor traffic on local roads and make it easier for people to walk and cycle. With LTN schemes, TfL and London’s boroughs are delivering safe and attractive streets for walking and cycling by preventing through traffic from using residential neighbourhood roads (often known as ‘rat running’), while maintaining essential access. Successful LTNs reduce road danger as well as local air and noise pollution.