Innovative trials to further improve cycle safety across London

13 June 2014

As it embarks on an unprecedented programme of improvement to cycling infrastructure, Transport for London (TfL) has outlined a range of innovative trials and initiatives, which will begin later this year as part of the continuing work to make the capital's roads safer for everyone. 

The work, which will include making bicycles more easily visible and vehicle braking systems more responsive, forms part of TfL's revised Cycle Safety Action Plan which was published for public comment today.  

The fully updated London Cycling Design Standards, which inform the work of those designing cycling infrastructure in the capital, have also been published for public consultation today to help further transform London's streets with world leading cycling provision.  

One of TfL's top priorities is to reduce by 40 per cent the number of people killed or seriously injured on London's roads by 2020. Recently, the Mayor and TfL published six commitments that are guiding initiatives to deliver this, and action is being taken to prioritise the safety of the most vulnerable road users:  pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.  

The revised Cycle Safety Action Plan builds on the previous plan published in 2010, and contains 32 new actions which TfL, the police, London boroughs and all organisations involved in making cycling safer will work together to deliver between now and 2020.  New actions within the Plan include:   ·                      

Helping to reduce HGV traffic during peak hours by trialling innovative quiet vehicle technology to help expand off-peak delivery. This would remove conflicts between cyclists and lorries during morning and evening rush hours

Working with manufacturers to develop better designs for side guards in order to further prevent fatal and serious injuries, as well as delivering the Safer Lorry Scheme this year

Carrying out trials of detection equipment on London buses to help drivers be more aware of pedestrians and cyclists near their vehicles, which if successful could be rolled out across London's bus fleet. TfL will also look to trial Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA), which would monitor and potentially restrict the top speed of buses

Working with the automotive industry to explore how improvements to car design could further protect cyclists, such as Autonomous Emergency Braking Systems, which could help make vehicles stop more quickly, and the introduction of a EuroNCAP safety rating system for cyclists so that car buyers can assess the cycle safety credentials of any new vehicle

Working with cycle manufacturers to improve how easy it is to see bicycles by building lights or retro-reflective equipment into bike frames

Continuing to develop and deliver the Safer Urban Driving CPC course to help put more than 10,000 freight and fleet drivers a year through essential safety training

Doubling the number of adult cyclists receiving advanced skills training by creating a dedicated London Virtual Skills Hub. This will allow online booking of cycle training and advanced safety skills across London to attract more commuter cyclists to take up training.  

The London Cycling Design Standards have also been comprehensively updated to highlight best practice, as well as the lessons from TfL's recent trials of innovative measures such as methods of segregation and low-level cycle signals. The new design standards reflect the Mayor's Roads Task Force 'street-types' approach, and are geared towards helping planners and designers deliver the ambitions of the Mayor's Vision for Cycling.  

Andrew Gilligan, The Mayors Cycling Commissioner said: "The Mayor is spending hundreds of millions of pounds on better bike infrastructure to cater for the vast growth in cycling on London's roads. This document aims to see that those projects are delivered to higher standards. We do not expect perfection, and the best must not be the enemy of the good. But as the Mayor has said, everything we pay for must be done at least adequately, or not at all.   "At the same time, we know that TfL and City Hall have no monopoly of wisdom. The standards will be consulted on before they become final by the end of the year. We welcome ideas, and we know that many of the ideas which people liked most in the cycle vision were pioneered in the London boroughs."  

Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL said: "Cycling in London is now commonplace on our roads with around 600,000 cycle journeys taking place every day across the capital, the equivalent to almost ten per cent of daily bus journeys and about a fifth of trips made by tube passengers. These proposed revisions to the London Cycling Design Standards, as well as the revised Cycle Safety Action Plan, will help us further encourage more to take to two wheels, while ensuring that they can do so in the safest and most direct way possible."  

TfL is also formally responding to the Department for Transport (DfT)'s consultation on changes to the national regulations governing roadsigns and markings. The proposed new document by the DfT includes a number of changes which have been heavily lobbied for by the Mayor and TfL during 2013, including the ability to install low level, cycle-specific traffic lights; improvements to pedestrian and cyclist crossings and relaxation of requirements for traffic regulation orders for many cycle friendly facilities such as mandatory cycle lanes. To support these steps, the London Cycling Design Standards includes the regulatory innovations proposed by DfT.  

For more information on the work TfL is carrying out to improve cycle safety across London, visit

  • In March 2013, the Mayor launched his Vision for Cycling in London, which detailed his £913m programme to improve infrastructure and safety for cyclists in the capital
  • Public comment on the London Cycling Design Standards opens on 13 June and runs until 25 July -
  • Public comment on the Cycle Safety Action Plan opens on 13 June and runs until 25 July -
  • TfL will shortly begin public consultation on new segregated cycle lanes as part of Cycle Superhighway 5 at Vauxhall, improvements to Archway and Old Street roundabout, and the new East-West cycle-route along Victoria Embankment, with a look to deliver all these as quickly as possible. All these schemes will be built to the new stringent design standards, ensuring that the right approach is taken when making improvements at locations
  • In June 2013, the Mayor and Transport for London published Safe Streets for London: an ambitious and comprehensive plan to reduce further the number of people killed or seriously injured in London by 40 per cent by 2020:
  • In December 2013, TfL published plans for a Central London Grid - a massive network of fully-segregated main road cycle routes and back-street 'Quietway' cycle routes that will make cycling in Zone 1 easier and less intimidating. Many of them will run in parallel with the Tube lines. In March 2014, the winners of the 'Mini-Holland' competition will be announced - where four outer London boroughs will receive £100 million between them for dramatic and transformational pro-cycling change
  • In February 2014 the Mayor and TfL published six safety commitments, which supports the plan and brings focus to the range of actions needed by us and our partners to make our streets safer:   
  • The six key commitments are:
  1. To lead the way in achieving a 40 per cent reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the capital's roads by 2020 - with a longer term ambition of freeing London's roads from death and serious injury
  2. To prioritise safety of the most vulnerable groups - pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists - which make up 80 per cent of serious and fatal collisions
  3. To provide substantial funding for road safety, invested in the most effective and innovative schemes
  4. To increase efforts with the police and enforcement agencies in tackling illegal, dangerous and careless road user behaviour that puts people at risk
  5. To campaign for changes in national and EU law to make roads, vehicles and drivers safer
  6. To work in partnership with boroughs and London's road safety stakeholders to spread best practice and share data and information
  • Earlier this year,  the Mayor confirmed that regular road safety police operations, based on the original "Operation Safeway" which ran at the end of last year, will continue to operate across London for two days every month, on unannounced days. The multi-agency Industrial HGV Task Force also continues to operate across London, targeting non-compliant heavy goods (particularly construction-related) vehicles, drivers and operators using the capital's roads
  • TfL is working with London Councils to deliver the Mayor's plans for a Safer Lorry Scheme across London, which would see dangerous vehicles not fitted with sideguards or mirrors giving the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicles, banned from London. Subject to a formal consultation and legal procedures, which will start later this month, the scheme could be introduced by the end of the year.