TfL urges all Londoners to drive safely and watch out for new road layouts
Transport for London (TfL) is reminding Londoners to drive safely as large numbers of people are walking and cycling, and significant temporary infrastructure changes are being made across London to protect them.
Changes are being rolled out at pace through TfL and the Mayor's Streetspace for London plan. Footways and bus platforms have been extended across the capital, creating an additional 19,000m² of space for people walking and cycling in the past month.
In total, 21 Streetspace schemes have now been completed, including expanded footways outside busy commuter hubs such as London Bridge, Victoria and Waterloo stations and a new cycle lane on Park Lane. The speed limit on Park Lane has been reduced from 40mph to 20mph to reduce road danger further, and TfL plans to introduce 20mph speed limits on more main roads across the capital as part of the Streetspace plans.
Lower speed limits were introduced across the central London TfL road network in March and an urgent review is underway to identify how these limits can be expanded to further streets across central London - including next to cycle lanes - to offer further protection to vulnerable road users. This could include reducing speed limits to 20mph in areas where TfL is making temporary changes to road layouts, including on the A503 between Camden and Finsbury Park, and on the A3 between Elephant and Castle and Colliers Wood. In addition, from Sunday 14 June the speed limit on the elevated section of the A40 Westway will be lowered from 40 to 30mph, which will make the road safer.
Plans to boost walking and cycling are helping to ensure London can re-open carefully, safely and sustainably as more people return to work from 15 June. The Mayor of London and the Government are encouraging everyone who can to walk or cycle for all or part of their journeys as lockdown measures are eased. With more people across London choosing to walk and cycle, including young schoolchildren, drivers are reminded to slow down, to obey the rules of the road and to be extra vigilant for other road users.
TfL is taking firm action to tackle unsafe behaviour and speeding to make London's roads safe. TfL funds the Metropolitan Police Service's Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC), which is the largest police command in the UK. The RTPC is made up of more than 2,000 officers who are dedicated to policing London's streets, focusing on the most dangerous drivers and carrying out widespread high visibility roadside operations and patrols, with intensified patrols on roads with 20 and 30mph speed limits.
While the majority of Londoners are driving safely, there has been an increase in speeding, resulting in a number of road fatalities and injuries. Since 20 March when the lockdown began, 16 people have died on London's roads, despite an average reduction of 35 per cent in traffic levels. The latest statistics show that while eight fewer people have died during lockdown compared with the same period last year, the number of people riding motorcycles and cycling killed in road traffic collisions has risen. During this time, there have been ten motorcyclists killed on London's roads, with two people walking and two cycling.
Unsafe driving puts additional strain on the NHS at this time of national emergency. As part of their joint Vision Zero commitment to eliminate death and serious injury from London's roads, the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police continue to target speeding and other unsafe driving across London's roads every day. Police have recorded speeds of over 130mph during speed enforcement activity across the capital. Even a relatively small increase in speed, however, is known to raise risks to drivers and vulnerable road users such as people walking, cycling and riding motorcycles.
Siwan Hayward, TfL's Director of Compliance and Policing, said: "We're working closely with the Mayor and local boroughs to provide a huge range of new walking and cycling facilities, ensuring Londoners can get around safely as lockdown measures are eased. Drivers are reminded that a number of road layouts may have changed and with more people walking and cycling, it is more critical than ever to slow down, drive carefully and within the speed limit.
"We'd like to thank the majority of drivers who are using London's roads safely, and by doing so, are protecting their local communities. Enforcing safe speeds remains a priority for ourselves and the police, and action will be taken against drivers found to be putting themselves and other road users at risk."
Will Norman, London's Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: "It is vital that all Londoners walk and cycle for as many journeys as possible which is why our Streetspace plans are rapidly rolling out more space to enable people to safely do so. If you must drive, you must do so carefully, and be aware that road layouts may have changed. It is more important than ever that you don't speed, including where there are new or existing 20mph limits, to help protect the increased numbers of people walking and cycling, and avoid putting additional pressure on the NHS."
Superintendent Andy Cox, from the Met's Roads and Traffic Policing Command, said: "We recognise the anticipated increase in walking and cycling across London and have intensified roads policing patrols on roads with 20 and 30mph limits. Speeding remains the biggest risk to road safety and it is our number one focus for traffic enforcement. Day and night, each and every day, our roads policing officers are patrolling priority roads across London. I urge people to drive within the speed limit, stay safe and keep a clean licence. I thank the majority of lawful road users who are doing so, and I am pleased serious collisions have considerably reduced when compared to 2019."
Acting Inspector Myles Hilbery, of the City of London Police's Roads Policing Unit, said: "As London changes and adapts to the gradual easing of government COVID-19 restrictions, TfL is encouraging people to cycle and walk more in the capital. It's therefore vital that those who choose or have no alternative to drive remain vigilant on the road and stay within the speed limits.
"The City of London Police is committed to keeping people in the Square Mile safe. Anyone caught speeding in the City could face a speed awareness course, fine, points on their licence or disqualification from driving. Even a few miles over the limit can have life changing consequences in the case of a collision, so by adhering to the speed limit, drivers can help keep themselves safe, as well as pedestrians, cyclists and other road users."
Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns at Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Seeing more people choosing to walk or cycle to get around has been one of the few glimmers of hope in recent months - we must do all we can to protect them from harm, and harness this momentum for change. Dedicated infrastructure for walking and cycling is key to a healthier, safer future in our cities and so it's great to see widescale changes rolling out across London.
"We urge all drivers to stay within speed limits at all times and to be aware of changes to road layouts and an increase in other, more vulnerable, people using the roads. When you're sat in the relative safety of your car it can be easy to forget how vulnerable someone walking and cycling is and the impact of your vehicle being too close or moving past at a high speed. Every death and serious injury on the roads is preventable and we can all play a part in eliminating these tragedies for good."
James Austin, London Director for the cycling and walking charity Sustrans, said: "The much-needed street changes TfL and boroughs are making will start to give Londoners space to move and help our incredible city to bounce back. As we slowly start returning to shops, leisure activities and workplaces, millions more people will be walking and cycling instead of taking public transport. And there will be even more young children walking, scooting and pedalling to school.
"So today's news of the increase in reckless speeding and road traffic deaths is appalling. Drivers who speed or take risks shatter lives and devastate families. If you have to drive, slow right down, watch for changes to street layouts and please take extra care. All Londoners deserve safe streets and space to move. Our lives depend upon it."
Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive of the Child Accident Prevention Trust said: "With many more families now walking and cycling, and people sometimes needing to step off the pavement to maintain safe social distancing, it's really important for drivers to watch out for children on our roads and keep an eye on their speed. The difference between 20mph and 40mph can mean the difference between life and death for a child out walking or on their bike."
Streetspace for London is fast-tracking the transformation of London's streets to enable millions more people to safely walk and cycle, including turning parts of central London into one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city. Since March, 5km of new and improved cycle lanes have been delivered with another 60km to be added to London's Cycleway network over the summer. An initial 1,000 extra cycle parking spaces are being installed, focused around busy areas like high streets and transport hubs.
Changes have also been made to more than 1,000 sets of traffic signals to ensure people are waiting for as little time as possible on the pavement.
TfL is working with London's boroughs to identify places where further temporary changes are needed to support social distancing and are requesting feedback from the public. Londoners are now encouraged to report any pavement crowding on TfL roads (TLRN) using TfL's online tool, Streetcare, at www.streetcare.tfl.gov.uk . Feedback will be analysed to create changes where they are needed most.
This transformational work as part of Streetspace is absolutely essential to enable safe social distancing on the capital's streets and on public transport as lockdown restrictions are eased. The plan will also ensure improvements to the city's air quality are maintained after lockdown.
Notes to editors
TfL and the Government continue to advise everyone to work from home where possible, avoid public transport, walk or cycle if they can and - if using public transport is essential - travel outside of peak hours and wear a face covering.
Streetspace for London
Full information about TfL's Streetspace for London plan is available online at https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/improvements-and-projects/streetspace-for-london. Work has already been completed at the following locations:
Stoke Newington High Street
Camden High Street
Northwold Road/Stoke Newington
Earl's Court Road
Borough High Street/St Thomas Street
Nags Head - Seven Sisters Road, Holloway Road
Dalston - Kingsland High Street
Tottenham High Road
CS8 upgrade - Embankment
Latest statistics: Road safety
Since 20 March, 16 people have tragically died on London's roads, including 10 motorcyclists
At the peak of the lockdown at the end of March, traffic was at 50% of normal levels. By mid-May, traffic was at 68% of normal levels and today and by the start of June, traffic was at 78% of normal levels
In July 2018 the Mayor, TfL and Metropolitan Police launched a bold Vision Zero Action Plan to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on London's streets by 2041. Each year more than 4,000 people are killed or seriously injured on our roads, taking a devastating toll on the people involved, their families and communities across the capital. Enforcing lower speeds is vital for achieving this commitment
In addition to preventing additional strain on the NHS, driving safely will protect local communities, helping to create healthier, more pleasant neighbourhoods