The safety of cyclists on Islington's roads is a matter of life and death which the council takes extremely seriously. So, at last night's council meeting, amid ongoing concern following a spate of fatal accidents in the capital, I announced a new three-part package of measures to be introduced by summer next year:
1) The council will send all its own Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers on the one-day Safe Urban Driving (SUD) training course, which includes spending half a day on a bike to get a cyclist’s view of the road and experience what it’s like riding in a lorry’s blind spot.
2) The council will, when procuring any major new contract that involves the use of HGVs in the borough, require that the drivers of these vehicles complete the SUD training (or equivalent).
3) The council will use the Construction Management Plan for any major new development in the borough to urge the developer to ensure that any HGV drivers used on the development complete the SUD training (or equivalent).
The new rules will apply to vehicles weighing 3.5 tonnes or more, contracts over £100,000 in value and developments of 10 units or more. We will expect contractors and developers to satisfy the conditions within a reasonable timeframe and at no additional cost to the council. Existing council contract managers will monitor implementation alongside the council’s public protection team.
The new policy, using a range of levers at the council’s disposal, enjoys the backing of Islington Cyclists’ Action Group and the London Cycling Campaign. It builds on the council’s existing efforts to protect cyclists in the borough, including through:
- engineering improvements at known accident hotspots
- cycle safety training and educational work
- lobbying Transport for London (TfL) to make roundabouts and gyratories at King’s Cross, Archway, Nag’s Head, Highbury Corner and Old Street safer.
Only 6 per cent of Islington’s roads are under the control of TfL, but these roads account for 47 per cent of all traffic accidents, including those involving cyclists.
We can never eliminate all risk on our roads, but by acting now on our fleet, procurement and planning policies we are doing what we can to minimise it, not only for people on bikes, but for pedestrians and drivers too.
Cllr Andy Hull, Executive Member for Finance and Performance