The people in charge of London roads do not understand safe road design

From the monstrous victim-blaming TfL Commissioner, Peter Hendy, to simpleton Councillors, like Phil Jones in Camden or Robert Benham in Havering, the people in charge of London roads have no clue on the principles of safe road design.

They are quick to blame victims or drivers, but refuse to learn the lessons from the killing fields.

Take the killing of Harry Keller & Colin Hicks in Romford last year. The couple was mowed down by a bus driver who ran a red light. The driver has been recently sentenced to 30 months in jail. For TfL and Havering Council, that is the end of the story: a rogue driver caused the death of two people. 

Any intelligent person would ask: “Why did someone with twenty years of experience driving buses do such an evil act?” The prosecutor at the trial said:

The driver pulled out from a lay-by 12 metres from the pedestrian crossing that already had been red for two-and-a-half seconds, continued accelerating towards the crossing which remained red. [CCTV] footage shows he did not slow down. He carried on over the stop line and drove head on into and over both Mr Keller and Mr Hicks narrowly missing a third pedestrian. The defendant simply did not see, or if he did, he did not register, both the victims at the pedestrian crossing.

And the idiot Judge William Kennedy’s answer to why, was:

All those who drive: look in the mirror, tell me if you ever got to the end of the road and wondered what happened in the last 150 yards. Thank god in that 150 yards nothing dreadful happened. If anyone tells me that that’s never happened to them I will tell them I don’t believe them. A tragedy occurred inexplicable of proper decision.

i.e. “inexplicable behaviour” by the driver was the reason of the collision.

I often wonder if these people are just idiots or are so arrogant that they think we can just believe any idiocy that they say.

Dave Holladay, who is not an idiot, made these simple observations:

  • There are 27 (twentyseven!!!) bus routes stopping on this stretch of road
  • The speed limit is 30mph
  • The bus stop is only 15 metres from the pedestrian crossing
  • Bus drivers at the head of the bus stop have to pull out to progress; in other words, the driver instead of looking ahead to the pedestrian crossing, has to look to his side mirror to make sure no vehicle is coming at 30mph.
Suddenly we have a likely explanation of what happened; the “inexplicable behaviour” is simply due to the fact that bus drivers are tasked to look ahead for vulnerable pedestrians and at the same time look to the side mirror for oncoming traffic from behind. Most of the time, a human being can do it; but it is totally reasonable to expect an occasional failure, when a driver looks ahead, sees a green light and then spends too much time looking at the side mirror and fails to register that the light ahead has changed.
It is an error which should not be a death sentence for two people and a jail sentence for another.
The real error is designing what is basically a bus garage in the middle of a shopping centre, allowing vehicle to drive at 30mph and having conflicts of sight for drivers of buses.
Those are the errors which should be punished with jail sentences. 
David Holladay makes these simple recommendations:
  • 10mph speed limit (as in all bus depots)
  • zebra crossing (so drivers don’t rely on the lights)
  • bus stops should run straight to the road rather than be angled away from the pedestrian crossing (as is the case in the opposite direction)
In the two years prior to the killing of Keller and Hicks, there were five other collision at that crossing and yet Cllr Robert Benham, cabinet member for StreetCare, denied road design played a part in the deaths.
He should be the one serving time; as Tom Kearney said: They got the wrong guy

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