Road Safety News
 

London Assembly publishes “feet first” pedestrian report

Monday 7th April 2014

The London Assembly Transport Committee has published a report into what it describes as “a worrying rise in the danger to pedestrians on the capital’s streets”.

More than six million journeys are made on foot in London every day, and millions of people take to the streets as part of longer journeys made by public transport.

The report, Feet First – Improving Pedestrian Safety in London, points out that more pedestrians are killed or seriously injured on London’s streets than any other road user group, adding: “Following a decade of progress in reducing the number of pedestrians killed or injured, casualty numbers began rising again in 2011. 69 pedestrians were killed and another 1,054 seriously injured in London in 2012 – an average of three people a day.”

Recommendations in the report include adopting a “Vision Zero” approach to eliminating road death and injury, and appointing a “senior representative to champion walking”.

It also suggests adopting an assumed walking speed of 0.8 metres per second to calculate minimum crossing times and develoing plans to improve 24 pedestrian collision hotspots by October 2014.

Other recommendations include “publishing a timescale for implementing 20mph speed limits on suitable roads” and improving the safety record of large vehicles.

 

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Rod:
On reporting of near-misses, there are about 10 SI and 50 slight injuries for every fatality so logically there must be far more than 50 near-misses.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (3) | Disagree (3)
0

I think it matters not who was driving, but what the mumsnet forum reveals is that the child was 3yrs old, and it was the second time in a week he was out exploring alone. Twenty minutes before parental supervision turned up? Readers will indeed make their own conclusions. They may also note that the driver was apt to calm their nerves with a bottle of gin, and admit to have been on a speed awareness course after being caught doing 40 in a 30 limit. Nice to see the driver re-educated, perhaps the parent next?
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (5) | Disagree (1)
+4

You are indeed correct Hugh.

I usually try and provide 3rd party references and links to any of my comments. It is disapointing when people take the trouble to criticise yet won't take the trouble to look up the source. But I guess that as Nick says, readers will make their own judgements.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (7) | Disagree (2)
+5

I think a couple of readers have presumed that the near-miss which Rod described happened to him, when in fact I believe he was simply quoting someone else's tale from an unrelated website. Wouldn't like to see Rod's driving ability be wrongly tarnished.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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+11

I can find no mention anywhere in this about pedestrians who cause accidents by concentrating on their earphones/mobile phones instead of looking where they are going. This seems to be an increasing danger on the roads, yet TFL appear not to mention it.
Bobbio Chiswell Green

Agree (10) | Disagree (1)
+9

Rod:
How do you manage to enter into parking spaces without decrementing speed limits, 20, 15, 10, 5, 2, 1? Knowing when to drive below the limit and by how much is fundamental to normal safe driving. Where did this child come from? If there was no visible obstruction, you should have seem him earlier. If there was and you had to drive close to it, you should have instinctively slowed right down far below 20.
Dave Taylor, Guildford

Agree (6) | Disagree (0)
+6

It seems to me that a number of our regular contributors are absolutely determined to have the last word in any discussion threads about 20mph and speed management in general, which can lead to long-winded and repetitive debates. May I respectfully suggest that a more successful approach may be to put your point, allow others to put their points - and then let the readers decide for themselves.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

Agree (13) | Disagree (3)
+10

Rod:
That is not an accident that would credibly not have happened had 20mph previously been implemented. It is a report of a probable accident that might have happened in a 20mph limit. Nothing there to support a case for 20mph, other than a confession from a driver who thinks they sometimes drive in a way that means they cannot stop in an emergency.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (7) | Disagree (10)
-3

Rod:
The near miss was due to your driving ability, not the speed limit. Near misses are not recorded, nor are the billions of miles driven at speeds higher than 20mph where there were no accidents. If the speed limit was still 30mph, would you have chosen to drive at 30mph? Width of road, hazards in the street - all define how fast one should be going – not a number on a pole. Driver ability is down to education, consideration and anticipation. Have you considered the possibility that if you had been driving faster – the child might have run out behind you? Not advisable in the circumstances maybe, but quite plausible. Like someone ducking a ball, only to find they ducked into its path. Sometimes it’s just chance. Not all accidents can be avoided.

Any child should not be allowed to run around the streets unsupervised, no matter what speed limit. Unfortunately, slower limits can also lull people into a sense of false security – “It’s OK, there’s a 20 limit in our road” – wrong! Dangerously wrong.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (10) | Disagree (12)
-2

Eric

Posted on Mumsnet on Saturday:-

Thank God for the 20mph speed limit! Because if it had still been 30mph I would have probably killed a small child this morning.

He ran out in front of my car. I was able to stop but only just. Poor little bugger ran to the side of the road. I opened the car door and shouted at him..."Don't move, stay there". He burst into tears. No parent to be seen so I left my car in the road (hazards on) and went to search for his mother. 20 minutes later his Dad found us.

It's a smallish village and the 20mph limit has been in operation for a few months now. Lots of people think it uneccessary but today really showed that it saves lives.

I am still (over an hour later) feeling a bit shaky. I suppose it's a bit early for gin!

http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/_chat/a2045695-Thank-God-for-the-20mph-speed-limit

Of course no-one collects statistics on near misses do they!
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (14) | Disagree (7)
+7

Sledge hammer to crush a peanut. Where in the City of London can 30mph be sustained? For that matter, where can 20mph be sustained? Probably the only time of day that either could, would be after 7pm and before 7am. The City is dead between those hours. Save for the Barbican, barely anyone lives there, so what comparable data will be available for a before and after implementation of a reduced limit? None of any consequence. Another triumph for a committee. Another failure for common sense.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (10) | Disagree (11)
-1

Hugh (and Rod)
The point is that over six years of research into the road safety, and two years looking specifically into 20mph, has failed to yield any example of a casualty that would credibly not have occurred if the speed limit had previously been changed to a lower number (20mph or otherwise).

The failure of 20mph proponents to provide an example to answer my question, coupled with the negative effects of 20mph which I have described on this website before, are why I have formed the conclusion that I have. I have drawn a blank. It's not through lack of trying but because no such example exists. I would be delighted to be proved wrong.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (8) | Disagree (13)
-5

Today the Planning and Transportation Committee of the Court of Common Council of the City of London voted unanimously to proceed with implementing the 20mph limit on all City of London roads. This will come into effect on July 20th 2014.

See: http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/about-the-city/what-we-do/media-centre/news-releases/2014/Pages/citys-20mph-speed-limit-passes-final-hurdle.aspx
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (9) | Disagree (6)
+3

Thanks Idris. Eric should have no trouble researching the answer to his own question then? Having a day job to do with aerospace and miltary safety is not the same as having a day job to do with traffic and road safety which far more people on this forum have. Nice try though.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (12) | Disagree (7)
+5

Hugh:
Doubt that you are qualified to lecture Eric on safety research - his day job at a senior level involves aerospace and military safety. And I can say with confidence that he has done more analysis of road safety than most people here. As for 6m journeys on foot each day - a statement so ill-defined as to be meaningless - at less than 1 per day per inhabitant, let alone including commuters, the figure is absurdly small.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (5) | Disagree (15)
-10

Another "Independent Road Safety Assertion" from EB with no other basis than his own fixation on speed management. "

It takes one to know one, Rod. I invariably find Eric's comments more soundly based than yours, I am afraid.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (7) | Disagree (13)
-6

That's a good question Eric. If you've got the courage of your convictions and you're "confident no such example will be found", why not try finding out for yourself and let us know the answer? It's called research. (Don't forget to be objective)
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (15) | Disagree (5)
+10

Mr. Bridgstock may be independent, but he is not alone. Transport for London have statistics for road accidents and fatalities within Greater London, where the average speed of vehicles now is less than 12mph in many areas, and in the majority of cases those pedestrians who suffered from being struck by vehicles of any description, suffered due to negligence on their behalf. How many? In 2002 there were 107 fatalities and 1539 seriously injured. Those categorised as ‘slightly’ injured numbered 5,811. These figures are after a steady decrease in numbers since the early 1980s.

In a table of contributory factors the vast majority of pedestrians were;
crossing road heedless of traffic elsewhere 2851
crossing road masked by parked vehicle 912
crossing road heedless of traffic at pedestrian crossing 768

All other categories are 308 and less.
The lowest number of KSI occurred by disobeying automatic traffic signals 109.
Speed of vehicles being the contributory factor: going too fast having regard to road environment 271.

As a note, most of the accidents occurred during fine weather rather than severe.

Nonetheless, we are treated by a committee that amongst 6,000,000 pedestrian journeys undertaken each day, an average of 3 people are killed or seriously injured (a reduction on 2002) - and something must be done.

“Look right, look left, look right again” ?

Instead of "Feet First" a practice of 'Eyes First' should be adopted.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (17) | Disagree (6)
+11

Another "Independent Road Safety Assertion" from EB with no other basis than his own fixation on speed management.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us, Cheshire

Agree (14) | Disagree (11)
+3

Here we go again - KSI have increased as the roll out of 20mph limits has progressed. And the answer is ... to recommend more 20mph limits!

Of those 69 deaths and over 1000 injuries, is there a single one that would credibly not have happened had the road been a 20mph limit? I am confident that no such example will be found, and I am also confident that, for a least one, the conditions created by 20mph (such as encouraging less care from pedestrians) is a credible contributory factor. If no casualties can be found that could credibly been prevented by 20mph, then there is no reason to believe that any casualty reductions can be attributable. The 20mph bandwagon must be stopped in its tracks. Two-Oh is too slow, and there are reasons to believe that it is bad for road safety.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (9) | Disagree (19)
-10