The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has welcomed changes to the Highway Code being made from tomorrow (Saturday 29th January) to improve road safety for pedestrians and cyclists, saying they will help London move closer towards being the best city in the world to walk and cycle.
In his first term the Mayor, working in partnership with London boroughs, tripled the network of protected cycle routes in the capital. An additional 100km of new and upgrade cycleways were delivered during the pandemic, as well as over 100 Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and more than 350 new school streets. Half of London’s roads now have a 20mph speed limit on them, making them safer for vulnerable road users.
With new infrastructure, London has seen a huge increase in walking and cycling since the pandemic. TfL’s Travel in London report showed that the proportion of journeys cycled in 2020 accounted for 3.4 per cent of all journeys – a 48 per cent increase since 2019. Cycling mode shares for London residents – the number of trips made by cycling as a percentage of all their trips – were on average around twice as high (5.3 per cent) as they were before the pandemic (2.7 per cent in 2019/20), and cycling at weekends boomed, with the number of journeys regularly double those of equivalent weekends in previous years, and some seeing an increase of over 200 per cent.
There was also a significant increase in the number of trips walked in the capital in 2020, with the proportion of journeys made on foot by Londoners increasing from 21 per cent of all journeys to 30 per cent – a 43 per cent increase. 30 per cent of people said that they are likely to walk more after the pandemic and 15 per cent stated that they would cycle more.
The Mayor has welcomed the revisions to the Highway Code that are coming into force this weekend, which prioritise people walking and cycling. The changes include new guidance at junctions, low speeds for overtaking, and priority being given to cyclists at roundabouts.
However, Sadiq is clear that the Highway Code is only one element of reducing road danger for pedestrians and cyclists. The continued transformation of London’s roads with new cycleways and pedestrian crossings are an essential part of his Vision Zero Plan which aims to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 2041. Continuing this lifesaving work by TfL and the boroughs will only be possible with a long-term funding agreement with government.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Encouraging people to get around the capital by bike, foot or public transport is vital to avoiding a car-led recovery from the pandemic and replacing one public health crisis with another caused by filthy air and congestion. Walking and cycling have boomed in the last couple of years and, when combined with ongoing improvements to the safety of junctions and the expansion of active travel infrastructure, these changes to the Highway Code will help us make London the best city in the world to walk and cycle.”
Lilli Matson, TfL’s Chief Safety, Health and Environment Officer, said: “Walking and cycling has boomed during the pandemic, and we’re determined to do all we can to support people to walk, cycle and use public transport as the capital recovers from the pandemic. We welcome these changes to the Highway Code which will help improve road safety for people walking and cycling, and hopefully encourage even more people to take up cycling and to make more journeys on foot. However, there is still an unacceptable risk for many road users, particularly from motor vehicles. This is why we will continue to work with the police and the boroughs to embed our Vision Zero strategy into every decision we make, making it easier and safer for people to walk and cycle around our city.”
London has made huge strides in reducing road death since launching its first Vision Zero action plan in 2018. London’s world-first Direct Vision Standard, which reduces lethal blind spots on lorries, is now being enforced on all roads in London and TfL’s ground-breaking bus safety standard is mandating the latest safety technologies and designs on all new buses. More than 1,600 buses, or around 18 per cent, across London also now have Intelligent Speed Assistance, which limits the bus to the speed limit of the road it is travelling on.
London has also seen deaths and serious injuries fall faster than the national average with the number of people being killed or seriously injured reducing by 52 per cent in 2020 against the Government’s 2005-09 baseline.
Despite this progress, too many people continue to tragically die on London’s streets. In 2020, 96 people were killed and 2,974 people suffered serious injuries on the capital’s roads.