Sian Berry pledges to drive road deaths in London down to zero
Green Party candidate for Mayor of London Sian Berry has pledged to eliminate deaths and serious injury on the roads of London with a new, more ambitious “vision zero” strategy.
Sian claims that the current Mayor’s actions don’t add up to a plan, and points to occasions when Labour Assembly Members have failed to back a call for safer speed limits where people live, shop and work.
In 2019, there were 25,341 collisions on London roads, resulting in 125 deaths and 3,780 serious injuries. 2,128 of these were people walking or cycling, making up over half of all such incidents. The number of fatalities increased from 2018.
The Green Party’s vision zero strategy will prioritise reduction of deaths among people walking and cycling.
Sian points to underinvestment in prevention, reluctance to make evidence-based changes like lower speed limits, and enforcement as key reasons for fatalities and injuries on London’s roads.
As an Assembly Member, Sian has scrutinised the current Mayor over cuts to the Road and Transport Command which was most notably affected by officer redeployment in 2018 and has never been restored to levels of resource seen when it was inaugurated in 2015.
Caroline Russell AM has scrutinised the Mayor over other safety aspects of London’s roads, including calling for reduced speed limits in outer London where two thirds of deaths occurred in 2019.
A motion put forward by Caroline to enforce a 20mph speed limit on all roads with pavements was not carried by a majority of Assembly members in 2018.
Sian’s plan to reach zero road deaths will fill gaps and extend the current Mayor’s plans by:
Setting a 20 mph default speed limit on Transport for London roads everywhere there is a pavement, to protect people where they live, work, shop and walk, requiring a special case to be made for any increase on specific roads. Our call to get the current Mayor to consider this was rejected by Labour and the Conservatives in the London Assembly.
School streets and play streets close roads to traffic at certain times for community use. A Green Mayor will review the streets outside every school in London, and massively expand investment from the Mayor for councils to help schools and communities introduce these schemes.
Making sure there is a pedestrian crossing at every junction with traffic lights, and ensuring crossing points are located exactly where people need them; for example providing diagonal crossings at busy junctions, ensuring two stage crossings and waits on traffic islands are an exception and that signalised junctions have a pedestrian phase on every arm of the junction.
Main roads will also get new design standards – our investment plans to improve main roads will make sure they include frequent opportunities to cross the road, side roads with continuous footways across the junction, and protected bike lanes with accessibility friendly bus stop bypasses.
A focus on bus, freight and delivery driver welfare to prevent collisions that occur when drivers are tired or overworked. Caroline Russell has taken up issues of fatigue, safety and welfare raised by drivers and unions within City Hall already.
To cut dangers from heavy vehicles, we will review all death and serious injury collisions where an HGV has been involved to monitor the effectiveness of Direct Vision cabs and the new Safe System approach, and will develop the scheme to further reduce lorry danger. We will also aim to extend Intelligent Speed Assistance that automatically limits speeds to more working vehicles beyond buses (including taxis, private hire vehicles, HGVs, council vehicles, car share/club vehicles, and working vans) in London by 2024.
We will restore road policing capacity – currently more than 100 officers have been removed from the Roads and Transport Policing Command to create the Violent Crime Taskforce. This was supposed to be reviewed after six months and they should have been replaced as soon as possible. We will target road police resources in particular on speeding and extreme speeding offences, which cause so much harm
A Green Mayor will commemorate people killed on London’s roads appropriately with a minute’s silence on the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. Alongside murder victims, she will read out the names of all people killed on our roads at the beginning of each Mayor’s Question Time.
Sian’s approach is inspired by pioneering work in other cities around the world such as in Oslo which recorded zero pedestrian or cyclist deaths in 2019, or Helsinki which also recorded zero pedestrian deaths in 2019, compared with an average of 20-30 in the mid 1990s.
Sian Berry said:
“No firefighter runs into a burning building with a target of rescuing 65 per cent of the people from the blaze. They want to save every single life. Why would we not apply that ambition to road deaths in our city?
“With a Green Mayor vision zero will be a reality. Under successive Mayors, getting to zero road deaths in London has been held back by underinvestment, poor standards, and low ambition. When I’m Mayor, I’ll invest in real safety measures on the ground, bring in evidence-based changes like lower speeds, and build a practical programme to reach our target.”