Sadiq Khan says “more needs to be done” about cyclists ignoring bus stop zebra crossings

Sadiq Khan says “more needs to be done” about cyclists ignoring bus stop zebra crossings

Sadiq Khan has acknowledged a need to “raise awareness” among London’s cyclists about obeying the rule about giving way to pedestrians at zebra crossings installed on so-called “floating bus stops” or bus stop by-passes, and to “ensure there’s enforcement as well” so that vulnerable bus users are not injured by bicycles.

Answering a question from Conservative Assembly member Emma Best, the Mayor said Transport for London’s approach to installing the infrastructure, whose purpose is to protect cyclists against collisions with buses and other motor vehicles on the main carriageway by re-routing dedicated cycle tracks through pavements behind bus stops, is “completely consistent with the Department for Transport’s guidance and approach” but he accepted that “pedestrians, particularly the visually-impaired ones” should not be put “in danger because of cyclists not following the Highway Code. It’s really important that they feel safe as well.”

Best, who welcomed campaigners from the National Federation of the Blind of the UK to City Hall (pictured outside), referred to a Telegraph newspaper article and accompanying video (below) which claimed that only one in ten London cyclists stops at by-pass zebras as they are meant to, and asked Khan if he would look at stopping “any further funding for floating bus stops while research is carried out and to make sure we aren’t unnecessarily putting people in danger”.

She also stressed that bus by-passes are seen as a problem by organisations representing older Londoners and others, including bus-users who travel with small children.

Khan replied, “I’m not sure we can stop further bus stop by-passes, particularly as they are consistent with DfT guidance,” but he added: “What we must do is look into safety concerns raised by not just those who are visually impaired but others as well.” He said he would ask the Deputy Mayor for Transport, Seb Dance, to “take this away see what more can be done, including meeting with relevant groups but also working with the government. This is an area where all of us probably agree”.

He said he looked forward to reassuring Best “that we are doing all we can within the bounds of reasonableness. Clearly more needs to be done because what we can’t have is a situation where somebody is seriously hurt or even worse as a consequence of cyclists not following the Highway Code and running over somebody.”

“It’s really important that we do that, God forgive, before that happens rather than afterwards. I’m more than happy to make sure that these bus stop bypasses are safer than they currently appear to be,” he said.

This morning’s Mayor’s Question Time can be watched in full here.

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  1. DAVID KANER says:

    My observation (as a cyclist) is that 80+% break the Highway Code (riding through red lights, on pavements, zebra crossings, wrong way on streets). Not to mention e-bikes which are able to go too fast and e-scooters which are currently illegal unless in hire schemes.

    There is very little/no enforcement of the Highway Code. It is the responsibility of Roads Traffic Policing Command (RTPC) and they haven’t the resources to do it. Neighbourhood Police can’t chase a cyclist on foot and anyway how do you stop a cyclist without risk – at least a stolen car has airbags.

    Enforcement for cars is easier – they have a licence plate. If the Mayor wants more enforcement he will need an equivalent.

  2. Whilst there are undoubtedly ‘bad faith’ cyclists, in the same way that there are bad faith drivers, many cyclists break the law whilst seeking to stay away from drivers to preserve their safety. Whilst a cyclist breaking the law is (for the most part) a bloody nuisance, many (the majority) of those cyclists, are seeking to avoid the drivers who will be breaking the law, often without even thinking about it, given that a driver breaking the highway code is a danger to life.
    This is not in any way to ignore the issues raised, particularly by blind public transport users. It’s all very well TFL guidance suggesting that floating island bus stops are a reasonable solution, but they are obviously not good enough, and the needs of users with blindness or limited mobility were not taken in to account sufficiently in development. T’was ever thus with transport in the capital: there are piecemeal attempts at keeping cycle transport users safe via segregation, and confusing rules whereby pavement cycling is not allowed, but apparently *is* every so often, most particularly where budgets do not allow for further segregation or even the inadequate solution of painted on cycle lanes. It is confusing and unhelpful to all non-motor vehicle road/pavement users.
    And funding in active travel has been reduced. So I don’t see this confusion, leading to more anger and accusations aimed at cyclists. By the way, I reject and do not recognise the above cyclist’s “80%” claim. Rule-breakers make themselves both obvious and memorable; those who calmly follow rules are ignored or not seen at all (the majority), which would explain why, by the way, it is those who obey the highway code rules who are more likely to be injured by road traffic than those who do not.

  3. Raymond Attfield says:

    The idea that cyclists will follow defined tracks is unsupportable. A cyclist is in effect a pedestrian with the benefits of fast movement offered by a bicycle which gives a sense of freedom to go almost anywhere. To create this potential and then think it can be denied is an obvious conflict of understanding. The DFT approach, trying to engineer separate realms for different modes of movement is a misunderstanding of the culture of public space. The more it is subdivided the more conflict there will be. London, and most UK cities do not have the spatial structure, or indeed adequate space to organise it a rational way. This reality has to be faced. Current policy is a mishmash of conflicting organisational approaches non of which accept this reality. Our cities are medieval in arrangement not modern. Face it.

  4. Malc says:

    You do seem to enjoy focussing on cyclists, don’t you Dave.

    Yes, some people who cycle break the rules and behave really quite badly towards other road users. I’m not defending or condoning them, nor trying to downplay the very valid concerns of others, particularly pedestrians and especially pedestrians who are disabled.

    And yet, TfL’s figures for 2019 (the last year pre-pandemic) show that 68 pedestrians were killed and a further 1,282 seriously injured in collisions on London’s roads. How many of those were caused by London’s dastardly cyclists? The figures don’t tell us.

    What the figures do tell us is that of all people killed in collisions (125 in total), a bicycle was the other vehicle in the case of two casualties (less than 2% of the total). That is still two too many – but while it may be tempting to jump to conclusions, it doesn’t indicate whether the cyclist was or was not at fault. What of the other 98%? A taxi or private hire vehicle was the other vehicle in two of the cases, equalling the number involving cyclists. Motor vehicles as a whole were the other vehicle in 105. I am guessing the “missing” 18 are collisions with no other vehicle involved.

    Looking at serious injuries, of which there were 3,780 in total, a bicycle was the other vehicle for 84 of the casualties. Again, that is 84 too many, although the figures once again don’t attribute who was at fault. That accounts for a little over 2% of the casualties. What of the other 97%+? Taxis and private hire vehicles were the other vehicle for 235 casualties, more than 6% of the total (again, it doesn’t state whether the taxi or PHV was at fault), while motor vehicles as a whole were the other vehicle for more than 3,000 casualties.

    The figures suggest that bicycles aren’t the biggest risk to other road users, despite the scare stories and prejudices. But don’t let that stop you continuing to focus on them.

    As for David Kaner’s comment above, I’m sure it is easy to wave a figure of 80% around in order to “bash” cyclists. Again, I’m not condoning misbehaviour by people who cycle, but are you singling cyclists out for special criticism? Adherence to the Highway Code and the rules of the road is poor generally – offences such as speeding, drink-driving, drug-driving, using and being distracted by mobile phones, ignoring traffic lights, ignoring traffic signs (including no entry signs), ignoring pedestrian crossings, doing banned turns, driving the wrong side of traffic islands, ignoring parking restrictions, parking on zig-zag markings at pedestrian crossings, parking on pavements, obstructing pedestrian crossings, obstructing cycle lanes, overtaking when it is not safe to do so, overtaking cyclists when it is not safe to do so… would you disagree if I were to take your figure of 80%+ and apply it to drivers of motor vehicles?

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