Month: June 2015

Good riddance

The sycophants, and among them is astonishingly the London Cycling Campaign, seem to forget that during Hendy’s stewardship of Transport for London, close to 900 vulnerable road users have been killed and tens of thousands of Londoners’ lives have been severely affected by traffic violence. 

Fatalities
Year Pedestrians Cyclists Total KSIs
2006 100 19 3946
2007 109 15 3784
2008 94 15 3526
2009 88 13 3227
2010 58 10 2886
2011 77 16 2805
2012 69 14 3018
2013 65 14 2324
2014 64 13 2167
2015 32 8
756 137 27683

 

In the vast majority of these killings, Transport for London had an important contributory role, either by 
  • prioritising capacity of the road network over the safety and convenience of active travel, 
  • prioritising timing of bus services over passengers and pedestrian safety,
  • failing to give a clear lead in the adoption of 30kph speed limit across London
  • fostering a culture of non-compliance of pedestrian lights, by setting absurdly long waiting times
  • prioritising archaic bus routing over the health and safety of millions of shoppers on Oxford Street and many other high streets. 
Hendy symbolises the ignorance, arrogance and nastiness of many in the British Establishment: the callous, inhumane pursue of self-enrichment with total disregard of the welfare and lives of others,  seasoned by a sickening amount of bullshit. 

Victim blaming is ingrained in British culture and Hendy was a master; here are a few examples: 

  • When Dan Harris was killed by a driver of an Olympics bus on a hostile road built for the Olympics, Hendy falsely blamed the victim for cycling on a prohibited road. 
  • When Brian Dorling was killed by a tipper truck driver, Hendy blamed the victim for riding through a red light when the layout of the junction was the primary cause of the fatal collision. 
  • The day after Brian Holt was killed by a Crossrail contractor on a blue strip of paint euphemistically called Cycle Superhighway, Hendy told the TfL board that it was important to release mis-information to shift away the blame from Transport for London. 

Part of the reason for Hendy’s resilience, despite his record of killings and cover-ups, is that he started his career as a bus driver, and in London it seems you cannot touch this sacred cow; we will defy this stupid rule in a future article.

One of the most sickening piece of bullshit spouting from this vile man was that Transport for London has adopted Vision Zero. In most countries he would have been pilloried for having made such a dishonest remark, but in the world capital of bullshit nothing sticks. 

This is only surpassed by the repulsive rejoicing every year when, 6 months late, Transport for London issues road casualty figures boosting that “only” 65 pedestrians have been killed in the previous year. Absolutely no sympathy from Transport for London for the families of those people which would be alive today had they done their job properly.  

Hendy’s likely successor comes from the Tube, where the culture of safety is very different. 

Just in case Mike Brown gets corrupted by the Bus Mafia, beheaded but still powerful at TfL, here is what needs to happen for London to adopt Vision Zero:

  • Renunciation of prioritising “smoothing traffic flow” over safety and comfort of active travel.
  • Establishment of an independent investigator over all road in London; failures, ie KSI to be properly assessed with mandatory recommendations. [It is clear that both TfL and Councils flagrantly breach Section 39 of the Road Traffic Act 1988]
  • Removal of rat-running through adoption of the Motoring Grid were through traffic is limited to arterial roads
  • Re-phasing of pedestrian lights so that waiting time at all but the busiest intersections is reduced to 20 seconds. 
  • Redirecting “Operation Safeway” to 3 primary goals, 
    a. enforcing 30 kilometres per hour speed limit 
    b. ridding London of cowboy lorry operators
    c. enforcing Rule 170, disregard of which epitomises #nastyBritain. 

We’re sure that the next Mayor will have Vision Zero as a core principle of her/his transport policy, so it is in Mr Brown’s interest to start now to change the culture of the juggernaut.

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Revealing comments by Gilligan

We hope that the following comments by Andrew Gilligan make cycle campaigners reflect on their strategies:

There is, in fact, a power in the GLA Act which allows the mayor to take control of any road in London. We have to get the agreement from the Secretary of State so it’s not quite the slam dunk we hoped it was.

However we did contemplate using that power in one or two cases on the superhighways. We didn’t have to in the end, the threat of it was enough.

I wonder if it might be worth asking future mayoral candidates whether they would be prepared to use that.

and:

We’re still in the foothills of making London a cycle friendly city and the task for Londoners is to make sure the progress we’ve made continues after May 2016.
There is a chance that whoever is elected next might not care so passionately about cycling. There is also a risk that parts of TfL might feel they have ‘done their bit’ by delivering the segregated routes they are doing now; they have ticked the box, they can get back to buses and trains.
It’s a mistake to think transport investment is a zero-sum game, in which any investment comes at the expense of everyone else. Most of the schemes we’re doing for cyclists have huge benefits for almost everyone else.

and:

My hope in delivering these segregated routes is people realise that traffic doesn’t melt down, it is not the end of the world, it becomes less difficult to do more routes like that.

Gilligan is a clever guy and the message he gives is very clear:

  • The task of making London a cycle-friendly city is monumental, not because of its geography but because of strong myopic reactionary forces entrenched in local government
  • His primary objective was to score an important win; the EW and NS Cycle Super Highways constitute that first crucial victory
  • The ultimate goal is a NETWORK of safe cycle routes; the fight to score the first win was much more demanding than anticipated; as a consequence, insufficient effort has been devoted to the Central London Cycling Grid, with the consequence that no progress has been made on the core of the Vision
  • As it is probable that he will not be involved in the new Mayoralty, it is imperative that Cycle Campaigners concentrate their strategy on selling this message to the new Mayor: “Bicycle infrastructure benefits all Londoners” and on convincing her/him that the Cycling Vision cannot be left in the hands of Councils. The Mayor will have to use overwhelming power to defeat the Reactionaries who are making London sick.

Quotes recorded by Laura Laker for Road.cc

Crown Prosecution Service lets another killer off the hook

Christopher Tandy was killed on 2nd August 2014.

Picture courtesy of Evening Standard

He was riding northbound on London Bridge. It was a Saturday evening and the carriageway was fairly free. After crossing the river, Christopher started to move right from the bus lane, in anticipation of his right turn at the hostile and dangerous junction at the end of the road. For reasons unclear, he miscalculated his trajectory, hit the central kerb and fell over onto the other carriageway.

At the same moment, on the southbound carriageway, a young driver of a powerful BMW,  relieved that a bus in in front of him had just pulled to the left, accelerated and reached a speed of 61 kph. At that speed, the driver had no time to react when Christopher fell in front of him. Christopher was run over and killed.

At the Coroner’s Inquest, the investigating officer testified that

“Had the driver been driving at the speed limit of 20 mph (= 32kph), he would have been able to avoid the collision.”

However the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute the driver for causing death by dangerous driving.

The driver was prosecuted and convicted for speeding; so there is no doubt that he broke the law and was driving at almost twice the speed limit. Why then no prosecution for the much more serious offence?

We can only speculate that in the mind of the prosecutor was probably the view from the driver’s seat of a cyclist suddenly flying over the kerb.

This is a total misconception of why 20mph speed limit have been adopted. The limit is a fundamental pillar of Vision Zero, because it is based on the concept that people are fallible and errors should not be death sentences.

The key and only fact that the CPS should have considered was “Would Christopher Tandy have been killed if the driver had been driving according to the law?” The expert opinion was a clear NO and there was no opposing view. It is a stone dead case of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving.

The fact that Christopher had made an error or that he had drank 5 pints of beer through the day are irrelevant.

We still have a long way before British authorities understand Vision Zero. The tragedy is that until they do, young people like Christopher will continue to be killed unnecessarily.

It is sadly significant that the Coroner considered a Prevention of Future Death report because he was concerned about the size of speed signs  and not about the lack of enforcement of the speed limit.

Drivers know very well that they are speeding. They do it because
1. they know they can get away with it and
2. they feel that they can handle the higher speed.

The latter may be true most of the time, until a fellow human being makes an error.

UPDATE: The Coroner did issue a PFD report asking:

  1. better speed limit signage
  2. protected cycle tracks on London Bridge