From the Street Talks archive – Ashok Sinha and Richard Lewis, London Cycling Campaign

Street Talks with Ashok Sinha and Richard Lewis, London Cycling Campaign: Love London, Go Dutch – how we can make our streets as safe and inviting for cycling as they are in Holland (3rd April 2012)

Presentations from all previous Street Talks are available here.

Transport Question Time – Listen again

On 5th April over 200 people attended Transport Question Time to hear representatives from the four main parties debate their proposals for the future of transport in London. The panel consisted of:

Opening statements

Question 1: A great city for walking, plus supplementary questions on:

  • Smoothing traffic flow
  • Wheelchair users
  • Traffic engineer attitudes and training
  • Car free days

Question 2: 20mph speed limits on Mayoral controlled streets, plus supplmentary questions on:

  • Enforcement of speed limits
  • 20mph on residential streets

Question 3: The war on the motorist

Question 4: Public transport in outer London, plus supplementary questions on:

  • Long term planning and investment
  • Accessibility

Question 5: Cyclist safety

Questions 6: Air pollution, plus supplementary question on accessibility

Closing statements

Transport Question Time was organised by Living Streets, in partnership with Movement for Liveable London and Campaign for Better Transport.

A City of 20

A guest article from Tom Platt, London Coordinator, Living Streets

How we might work towards a safer, more liveable London is a topic debated energetically at each month’s Street Talks.  Whether it is the pros and cons of shared space or the practicalities of segregated cycle lanes, the desire is to create a safer London where people feel comfortable to walk, cycle and spend time. Yet the fact remains that last year alone, 65 pedestrians and 16 cyclists were killed on the capital’s streets.  So what can be done?

Living Streets is the national charity working to create safe, attractive and enjoyable streets around the UK. In our opinion the single biggest change we can make to creating a more liveable London is to reduce vehicle speeds across the capital.

That’s why this year in the lead up to the London mayoral elections Living Streets, Sustrans and a coalition of 27 other prominent organisations are asking for mayoral candidates to commit to introducing 20mph on parts of the mayoral controlled streets where we live, work and shop in our campaign a City of 20.

Simply put, if you get hit by a car driving at 30 mph you are much more likely to get seriously injured or killed than at 20 mph. If fact a pedestrian struck at 20 mph has a 97% chance of survival whilst at 30 mph the figure is 80%, falling to 50% at 35 mph.

In London, Transport for London (TfL) found 20 mph limits to have cut fatal and serious casualties by almost a half. Applying results from previous TfL research to the four hundred 20 mph zones London has today suggests an equivalent of 192 killed and seriously injured casualties are already being prevented each year.

So far most 20mph campaigning in London has focused on residential streets and near to schools. We strongly support this and are calling for the next Mayor of London to inspire and encourage local authorities to follow Islington’s example by implementing a default 20 mph speed limit on all residential streets.

However we also know that around a third of London’s collisions are happening on those streets controlled by the Mayor (the TLRN) and that’s despite it only making up 5% of the street network.  The reason the City of 20 campaign is focusing on parts of the TLRN where we live, work and shop is simple -that’s where the biggest impact can be made.  By first tackling those streets where the greatest risk of conflict arises we can make the greatest benefit to people’s everyday lives. These are community centres and local high streets – the streets where people live, walk to school and go to their local shops.

Of course 20 mph doesn’t just make our streets safer, it also makes for better streets where people are more likely to walk and cycle. Unsurprisingly, in Europe 30km/h (18mph) speed limits are the foundation of cycling and walking policies in Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

Importantly 20 mph can be implemented at low cost, and is easy to do. Portsmouth converted 1,200 streets in the city to 20mph for a cost of just over half a million pounds. Prior to this, they had been planning to spend £2 million on ten targeted 20 mph zones over five years. New government legislation makes it now possible to introduce 20 mph limits without expensive roads calming measures. In fact the cost of road casualties suggests a sound economic argument for 20mph simply with the amount casualties it will prevent, with the DfT estimating that a road fatality costs in the region of £2 million.

There simply is no excuse for the entirety of the TLRN to be exempt from 20 mph. Already other main roads such as the Walworth Road in Southwark have a 20 mph limit. Islington has recently announced plans to expand 20mph from residential to all main roads in the borough.  Getting London to be a truly world class city for walking and cycling is a huge challenge but 20 mph speed limits on the streets where we live, work and shop would be an excellent start. Please join the campaign by writing to the future Mayor of London today.

For any enquiries about the City of 20 campaign, please contact Tom Platt on 020 7377 4900 or email tom.platt@livingstreets.org.uk