- EVENING STANDARD COMMENT
- 14 hours ago
The Mayor’s new cycling and pedestrian commissioner, Will Norman, takes up his job a week after three cyclists died on London streets. Yet he is upbeat about his role, insisting that he would not allow his young children to cycle in the capital if it weren’t safe. Obviously, he faces formidable challenges, including notorious killer road junctions, resentment from motorists and cab drivers about disruption caused by building cycle super-highways, as well as the imperative to get the most dangerous lorries off London roads by 2020.
In fact, that date should be brought forward: building firms especially should be encouraged to fit existing vehicles with technology to help lorry drivers see and avoid cyclists. Some fleets are already fitted with forward-facing cameras for their blind spot, motion-sensor alarms and advanced mirrors. Larger windows and lower cabs would help, too. These measures save lives.
Mr Norman takes seriously his responsibility for pedestrians. They rarely attract the attention that cyclists do but they — and almost all of us are pedestrians at some point in the day — are vulnerable road-users. There were 66 pedestrian fatalities last year but they attracted hardly any public attention, presumably on the basis that they are too commonplace to merit concern. Yet walkers are victims of irresponsible cyclists as well as motorists. Road-planners feel no compunction about constructing cumbersome pedestrian railings to confine them rather than to make motorists behave responsibly. If Mr Norman is to initiate a new road-safety campaign, as he should, he must make walkers as well as cyclists part of it.