With Wiggo mania sweeping the country, more people than ever are getting on their bikes. Sport England recently found that 160,000 more people are cycling than six months ago, and that is set to continue to rise as Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky’s success at the Tour de France inspires more people to ride.
Getting people onto their bikes requires us to make sure that the roads and junctions that are designed to incorporate cycle safety. With Bradley Wiggins flying the flag for British cycling, and a Londoner himself, this announcement by Transport for London that they are going to improve the worst of London’s junctions is very timely.
Earlier in the year, another Olympic cyclist and British Cycling member, Nicole Cooke, wrote an open letter to the London Mayoral candidates, raising the issue of dangerous junctions: “There are also junctions in London that need sorting out to make cyclists less vulnerable. I certainly wouldn’t fancy riding across Vauxhall Cross or Elephant and Castle in rush hour, and those are only two examples. If we want more people to ride their bikes, we can’t have parts of the city where cyclists feel like they are taking a big risk just crossing a junction — it just shouldn’t be that way.”
Thus, Transport for London’s recent announcement of the 100 dangerous junctions they are going to tackle by the end of 2014, with 50 being tackled by the end of next year, is very much welcomed by British Cycling.
Martin Gibbs, Policy and Legal Affairs Director says: “It’s good to see that Transport for London are committed to improving road infrastructure, particularly on the most dangerous junctions and are committed to spending more than the £15million allocated by the Department for Transport.
"We know that safety concerns discourage people from cycling and badly designed junctions are a big problem. Anything we can do to right past wrongs and make sure future infrastructure is well designed will help us to drive up cycling participation figures."
Ten of the first 50 junctions to be redesigned will be completed by the end of 2012. The 100 junctions have been chosen in consultation with the London Cycling Campaign and the Times Cities fit for Cycling online map tool, where readers have been identifying dangerous junctions, following on from a review of junctions that Transport for London started in late 2011.
Transport for London say that the improvements will include widening junctions to allow more space for cyclists, creating more segregated cycle lanes and installing innovative ‘early-start’ traffic signals to allow cyclists to move through the junction ahead of other traffic.