According to TfL, we’re undergoing a Cycling Revolution.
Behind the PR, the reality is that there are avoidable deaths on London’s roads and a disproportionate amount of these are caused by TfL. In June 2009, where a father of three was dragged under the wheels of a cement mixer, the police said,
“Our traffic management unit has advised me that that cycle lane is not of the required width. It is not the proper width for a cycle lane.”
What does this have to do with TfL? Well, there are a number of trunk roads which are managed directly by TfL, rather than the borough that they are in (and according to Cyclists in the City, 50% of road casualties occur on these 5% of London’s roads.) Vauxhall Bridge Road (the A202), where this death occurred, is one of them.
Let’s take a journey down the A202, 4 miles south-east of where Everton Smith was killed, to Queens Road, Peckham. TfL have resurfaced this road to make it two-way since this time – around August 2010, if I recall correctly. This is actually quite convenient when travelling eastbound. Westbound, however, is a different story. The junction with Kender Street, by the Montague Arms, has been redesigned:
What used to look like this (thanks Google Earth),
Fortunately, unlike the above case, the cycle lane here is wide enough to fit a picture of a bicycle in it. Not without painting over the red lines, of course, but it’s there. No, wait, that’s exactly like the above case:
After Everton Smith was killed, Sergeant Seeley of the Met Police said that the problem was that, “the road layout was too cramped”. Fortunately, TfL have the foresight to ensure that on Queens Road, there remains plenty of space for cyclists despite the “traffic calming” island: