We need an end to endless delays and excuses on our most #DangerousJunctions. We’re calling on London councils and the Mayor to fix what TfL and DfT call “critical issues” on every single one in London. No more stalling, no more shifting around the blame, no more delays and no more shrugged shoulders at another fatality.
We explain in depth below why we’re launching our petition on dangerous junctions now, but most importantly, please sign the petition. Without your voice, the forces of inertia in this city will win another year of inaction – and we’ll eventually see yet another one of us fall.
On the morning of Wednesday 6 August 2021, the tragic news came out that for the fifth time in eight years, a person had lost their life at the Holborn gyratory. This time, as so many times across London, it was a woman cycling, hit by a large, turning lorry. Dr Marta Krawiec, 41, was a paediatric doctor who moved to London in 2016. Police are calling for witnesses.
The Holborn gyratory has already been the site of two LCC protests due to fatal collisions for cyclists negotiating its tangle of high-speed and hostile one-way streets and lethal junctions. The specific junction this time, where Theobalds Road meets Southampton Row, has been the site of a previous cycling fatality, yet it is also directly on the alignment of the ‘London Boulevard’ – where there are more people cycling daily than just about anywhere in London without a cycle track.
Campaigners from Camden and Islington joined LCC staff yesterday to mark our respects and launch a new petition and campaign to call for far more rapid action on our most #DangerousJunctions. Yards away were fresh flowers and a ghost bike for one of the previous victims. And the junction where LCC last protested is less than 150m away.
Camden Council was funded by TfL under its Liveable Neighbourhood programme for major changes to the entire gyratory in 2019, including this specific junction. But schemes have simply failed to progress since then, and tragically there has been yet another fatal collision. This is a pattern playing out all too often across London.
Over the last year, we’ve seen an incredible and rapid rollout of routes for cycling; wand-protected cycle tracks on main roads and low traffic neighbourhoods; also the rollout of 24/7 bus lanes. But where haven’t we seen progress? Junctions.
Too many of the temporary schemes simply ignore the junctions – where nearly every serious collision occurs and where the most fear-inducing and hostile cycling moments occur. If we cannot get junctions right, we cannot expect to grow cycling to become a mainstream transport mode.
Even before the pandemic and associated temporary schemes (and indeed restricted and short-term government funding), however, junctions were increasingly the noticeable gap in doing better on walking and cycling.
The Dangerous Junctions programme LCC campaigned for was gradually whittled down to a handful by previous Mayor Boris Johnson’s teams. When Sadiq was elected, he brought in the Safer Junctions programme, but that never really delivered and was quietly mothballed in the end.
To those of us who spend every day arguing the case for more cycling, it feels like every single stakeholder involved always has a reason not to do junctions. And the end result of that is a kids’ doctor dead today at a junction known for years to be a killer.
Is it because Crossrail had a depot there and objected to any changes to the junction during its tenure? Or did Islington object to Camden plans as being too radical? Or did Camden just take it too slow and not have design capacity? Or did TfL Buses or “Network Assurance” object to plans because of a minor delay to traffic or bus passengers? We do not know. We may never know. But we know the pattern over and over across London is that people’s lives seem to matter less than delays to traffic, particularly buses.
Just look at the work on the Lavender Hill junction where Lucia Ciccioli was killed. The arm of the junction where she was killed and where there was a critical Coroners report was fixed, but every other arm of a deeply hostile, dangerous junction remains untouched.
No more delays, no more excuses. We’re calling on London councils and the Mayor to fix what TfL and DfT call “critical issues” on every dangerous junction in London. Prioritise the worst first and get on with it. The alternative is that the welcome growth in cycling (46% in a year) stalls because road danger is not properly addressed – and tragedies occur again.
Inaction costs lives. The time is over for excuses. Proper action is needed now.