Cycling Questions and Answers from the Mayor of London: January 2010

With thanks to the Greater London Authority, here are the cycling-related questions put to the Mayor of London, and his answers, for the month of January 2010.

Commercial vehicle enforcement (1)

Question No: 16 / 2010

Jenny Jones

Are you supporting the creation of a specialist commercial vehicle enforcement team within the Metropolitan Police Service? How big will this team be and what will its annual running costs be?

Answer from the Mayor:

The MPS Traffic OCU will be establishing a Commercial Vehicle Unit (CVU) comprising of two teams; each of 1 Police Sergeant and 7 Police Constables. The work of the CVU will be enforcement and raising road safety awareness. Full running costs are yet to be determined in detail. I support these proposals.

Commercial vehicle enforcement (2)

Question No: 17 / 2010

Jenny Jones

Will there be additional funding in 2010/11 for a commercial vehicle team in the Traffic Operational Command Unit, or will the setting up of a commercial vehicle team require cuts to other areas of work that the Traffic OCU does?

Answer from the Mayor:

The MPS Traffic OCU will be able to fund the Commercial Vehicle Unit within existing resources whilst maintaining performance in all their current areas of responsibility.

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Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (1)

Question No: 18 / 2010

Jenny Jones

Can you confirm that the Metropolitan Police Service does not promote Freight Operator Recognition Scheme membership as part of its procurement code?

Answer from the Mayor:

I am able to confirm that the MPS does not promote Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) membership as part of its procurement code.

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Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (2)

Question No: 19 / 2010

Jenny Jones

How many Metropolitan Police Service contractors have at least bronze membership of the Freight Operator Recognition Scheme? How many MPS (commercial vehicle) contractors are not members of FORS?

Answer from the Mayor:

A count of companies holding bronze level or higher membership of FORS has not been undertaken.

Road works and cyclists (1)

Question No: 27 / 2010

Jenny Jones

Now that the additional guidelines ‘providing for cyclists at road works’ have been adopted by Transport for London, will TfL veto any road management plan for temporary roadworks on TfL roads, which does not comply with the guidelines?

Answer from the Mayor:

The new guidelines ‘providing for cyclists at road works’ to which you refer were developed to minimise the disruption to cycling during temporary road works. These guidelines contain agreed good practice, developed and collated by TfL, including the addition of advisory signing to that commonly authorised by DfT. All engineers have a professional duty to consider available good practice – and I have asked Transport for London to ensure that this and other cycling good practice is referenced in all relevant contracts.

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Road works and cyclists (2)

Question No: 28 / 2010

Jenny Jones

How many boroughs have also adopted the additional guidelines ‘providing for cyclists at road works’?

Answer from the Mayor:

The guidelines are yet to be launched. This will be considered as part of the launch of the final version of my London Cycle Safety Plan, which is scheduled to be launched in the coming months.

Road traffic accidents involving heavy goods vehicles:

Question No: 90 / 2010

Caroline Pidgeon

Further to my question last month on road accidents involving HGVs, (question number 3808/2009), can you please detail what targeted work is taking place in the boroughs of Barnet and Ealing, whose figures give great cause for concern?

Answer from the Mayor:

TfL has recently launched the draft Cycle Safety Action Plan. The Plan sets out a number of areas where existing or future London-wide safety actions will target:

· The provision of new, safe infrastructure for cycling;
· High impact Pan- London advertising campaigns to make cycling safer by warning drivers that it is easy to miss something if one is not looking for it;

· Training to improve driver and cyclists skills, including exchanging places events where HGV drivers and cyclists swap places

· Promoting safer cycling among all road users; and
· Specific initiatives to tackle freight casualties. These include posters on the backs of lorries with warnings for cyclists, distributing over 10,000 free Fresnel lenses to HGV operators, distributing a DVD highlighting the dangers to cyclists of left-turning HGVs, driver training supported through the Freight Operators Recognition Scheme (FORS) and pan-London campaigns on the theme of look out for bikes.

As well as the Cycling Action Plan TfL is implementing Cycle SuperHighways, with the first 2 routes being opened in Spring 2010. These are specifically identified routes that are particularly suitable for cyclists.

Borough specific activities will be managed by individual boroughs and further information on activities in Barnet and Ealing can be obtained from the two boroughs in question.

Rotherhithe Tunnel

Question No: 213 / 2010

Valerie Shawcross

There have been two unplanned closures of the Rotherhithe Tunnel within one calendar year (March 2009 & January 2010). What steps are TfL taking to ensure that there is adequate advance signage warning drivers, cyclists and pedestrians of this along feeder routes in Southwark and Lewisham?

Answer from the Mayor:

The tunnel is sign posted with four dedicated signs located on the south side of the river: Lower Road, Jamaica Road, Brunel Road and the tunnel entrance. In addition, there are three dedicated signs on the north side of the river; two signs on the A13 Commercial Road and one at the tunnel entrance. All these signs are linked to the tunnel closure system and display the message “Rotherhithe Tunnel Closed” automatically when the traffic signals and closure barriers are activated.

Cycle Racks – Kennington Cross

Question No: 219 / 2010

Valerie Shawcross

The Kennington and Oval Forum have contacted me about the need for Cycle Racks at Kennington Cross particularly for local cyclists. An area outside the Dog House on Kennington Road is a suitable place supported by local residents and Lambeth Council. There appears to be a lack of support for the request at TfL. Please can you ensure that TfL engages with this project and supports this request for cycle racks?

Answer from the Mayor:

I am pleased to confirm that Transport for London has engaged with this project, supports this request and that this location is on the action list. A site inspection has taken place with further investigative work required before implementation can proceed. TfL has scheduled the implementation of this scheme to take place in May 2010.

Velib Scheme costs

Question No: 224 / 2010

Jennette Arnold

The investment programme report for the second quarter 2009/10 estimates the final cost of the cycle hire scheme at £91.6m. This is a 60% increase in comparison to figures produced in early 2009 when the costs for this project were estimated at £58.9m. Can you explain the reasons behind this huge increase?

Answer from the Mayor:

It was always the case that costs would not be finalised until procurement of a service provider was complete. TfL followed a competitive procurement process and Serco’s bid was the most economically advantageous.

The figure of £58.9m was an early estimate, prepared prior to completion of the procurement process. Estimating costs for the Cycle Hire scheme at the early stages proved challenging due to the innovative nature of the project compared to other major projects and schemes. This figure was also based on an assumption of implementing 365 docking stations. As a result of further site identification work it was necessary to increase this number to 400, resulting in additional costs.

Cycling on pavements

Question No: 227 / 2010

Jennette Arnold

I have been dealing with an increasing amount of casework about dangerous cycling on pavements and pedestrian crossings especially on Essex Road and Upper Street in Islington. What do you have to say to my constituents who rightly question whether there is any will at all in your office to do something about this?

Answer from the Mayor:

I know that cycling on pavements is a concern for many residents. It has been raised in the consultation on my draft Transport Strategy and is often raised in safer neighbourhood team panel meetings. I am also aware of the concerns of many cyclists at the impact of others’ behaviour on their safety.

I can assure you that I am determined to deal with the issue of inappropriate behaviour by cyclists. Transport for London and the Metropolitan and City of London Police Services are working together to step up enforcement against cyclists who put themselves or other road users at risk through their behaviour. There will be series of operations this year at problem locations to use education and enforcement to bring about a change in cyclists’ behaviour and to encourage safer, considerate cycling. This will be complementary to other activity that Transport for London may plan under the ‘Share the Road’ initiative that seeks to encourage responsible and respectful behaviour by all road users. In addition, the potential to increase the penalty for cycling on pavements to £60 is being investigated.

I encourage you to ask the Safer Neighbourhood Team for Essex Road and Upper Street to engage in this activity.

Road safety in Westminster

Question No: 298 / 2010

Murad Qureshi

I was alarmed to note that in 2008 Westminster had the highest number of pedestrians, pedal cyclists and motorcyclists killed or seriously injured of any borough, thus it also had the highest number of all road users either killed or seriously injured. You say you want to encourage more walking and cycling, but what are you doing specifically to make London safer for cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users?

Answer from the Mayor:

There are a number of initiatives supported by TfL that are making London safer for cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users. These include TfL’s draft Cycle Safety Action Plan published in 2009. The Plan sets out a number of areas where existing or future London-wide safety actions will target:

· The provision of new, safe infrastructure for cycling;
· High impact Pan- London advertising campaigns to make cycling safer by warning drivers that it is easy to miss something if one is not looking for it;

· Training to improve driver and cyclists skills including changing places events where HGV drivers and cyclists swap places

· Promoting safer cycling among all road users; and
· Specific initiatives to tackle freight casualties. These include posters on the backs of lorries with warnings for cyclists, distributing over 10,000 free Fresnel lenses to HGV operators, distributing a DVD highlighting the dangers to cyclists of left-turning HGVs, driver training supported through the Freight Operators Recognition Scheme (FORS) and pan-London campaigns on the theme of look out for bikes.

For pedestrians, alongside London-wide programmes of road safety engineering measures at particular locations and publicity/awareness campaigns, TfL is trialling the introduction of pedestrian countdown information at traffic signals.

The Pedestrian Environment Review System (PERS) is a walking audit tool which is used to assess the level of service and quality provided for pedestrians on the TLRN and to identify specific improvements which could be made.

TfL has a Motorcycle Policy Unit which is responsible for the coordination and operation of the BikeSafe and ScooterSafe partnership. These initiatives aim to improve the level of rider skills and therefore reduce future powered two wheeler casualties.

TfL continues to work on new and innovative Pan London publicity campaigns to educate drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Cycling on pavements

Question No: 363 / 2010

Darren Johnson

Following concerns from local residents about cycling on the pavement along New Cross Road can you look at additional enforcement measures here in your role as both Chair of the MPA and Chair of TfL?

Answer from the Mayor:

I know that cycling on pavements is a concern for many residents. It has been raised in the consultation on my draft Transport Strategy and is often raised in safer neighbourhood team panel meetings. I am also aware of the concerns of many cyclists at the impact of others’ behaviour on their safety.

I can assure you that I am determined to deal with the issue of inappropriate behaviour by cyclists. Transport for London and the Metropolitan and City of London Police Services are working together to step up enforcement against cyclists who put themselves or other road users at risk through their behaviour. There will be series of operations this year at problem locations to use education and enforcement to bring about a change in cyclists’ behaviour and to encourage safer, considerate cycling. This will be complementary to other activity that Transport for London may plan under the ‘Share the Road’ initiative that seeks to encourage responsible and respectful behaviour by all road users. In addition, the potential to increase the penalty for cycling on pavements to £60 is being investigated.

Air quality strategy (1)

Question No: 63 / 2010

Darren Johnson

Michele Dix of Transport for London told a conference in November 2009 that TfL needed a Government contribution of between £70m and £90m to fund proposals in your draft air quality strategy. Your environment adviser told a Parliamentary select committee that an estimated £200m was needed. Which of these figures is nearer to your current estimate? Have you approached the Government to fund your proposals?

Answer from the Mayor:

I am currently preparing my draft Air Quality Strategy for public consultation in the Spring. Initial estimates at the time of publishing my Assembly draft were that it would cost approximately an additional £70 million to implement the new measures in the Strategy. This does not include the cost of measures we are proposing be implemented by Government at a national level. This figure may change as actions are refined during the preparation of the next draft. My officials are in active discussions with Government over funding as these measures are additional to the TfL budget settlement agreed with Government previously. The public consultation draft will contain more information on implementation costs for the Strategy.

Air quality special measures

Question No: 67 / 2010

Darren Johnson

Can you legally implement special measures such as diversions and road closures prior to the air quality strategy being approved? Can you outline the necessary consultation periods and legal processes which you have to go through to obtain the legal powers to implement such road closures?

Answer from the Mayor:

TfL is the traffic authority for all GLA Roads, and all GLA Side Roads in Greater London, while London borough councils are the traffic authorities for all other roads in their areas.

Both can make Road Traffic Orders (RTOs) for, or in connection with, implementing the UK’s obligations under air quality directives and otherwise, with respect to air quality assessment and management, which can include road closures and diversions. The precise procedures are set out in the Local Authorities’ Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996 (SI 1996 No 2489). They provide for consultation with a range of stakeholders (including the police, bus operators, emergency services, freight and haulage operators etc), and a minimum 21 day period for objections, following publication of formal notices. Public inquiries are also held in certain cases for Borough RTOs.

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