Mayor’s Question Time: Cycling (November)

With thanks to the office of Jenny Jones AM, here is the monthly digest of cycling Q&A to the Mayor, for the month of November 2009.

Biking boroughs (1)

Question No: 3155 / 2009

Jenny Jones

Can you confirm that Biking Boroughs will have no extra funds to directly address barriers to cycling in Outer London?
Answer from the Mayor:
The principle behind biking boroughs is to enable a borough to develop strategic plans that maximise the economic, health and environmental benefits of cycling.

Biking boroughs seek to promote cycling in an integrated way; combining smarter travel interventions and investment in infrastructure and traffic management. All of these measures to address the barriers to cycling in outer London can be delivered via existing LIPs funding, so that no additional funding streams are currently proposed. It’s a question of using our resources in a smarter and more integrated way.

However, TfL is currently reviewing what practical support boroughs would need to achieve their aspirations as biking boroughs. In practice this is likely to include supporting the sharing of best practice among boroughs and assisting in disseminating information on key cycling issues.

I am investing a record £111.3M this year in cycling. This is not only on infrastructure projects such as the Cycle Hire Scheme and Cycle Superhighways but also borough level training and cycle parking across London.

Uninsured vehicles

Question No: 3149 / 2009

Jenny Jones

What was the anticipated income for 2009/10 from action against uninsured vehicles by the Metropolitan Police, and what is now the anticipated short fall? Will this affect the financing of your scheme to expand the presence of police officers on buses?

Answer from the Mayor:

The anticipated target for income raised from seizing uninsured vehicles for 2009/10 was £3.2 million. This was based on an originally projected total of 60,000 seizures over the course of the year. The current projected number of seizures is 36,000. This translates into a projected shortfall of £1.3 million.

It is recognised that, for boroughs, this is a new initiative requiring a different focus and approach. Boroughs are being provided with support and a higher level of activity is expected in the next financial year.

The shortfall will not affect the financing of the police presence on buses (Operation Tyrol) as income received from uninsured vehicles from the year 2008/9 has been set aside as a contingency for such eventualities.

* Cycle safety action plan

Question No: 3150 / 2009

Jenny Jones

Having launched the cycle safety action plan at an HGV awareness event in Lambeth where HGV drivers are trained in cycle awareness, will the Mayor be rolling out a similar scheme to HGV drivers across London, and in particular as part of the Cycle Superhighways project?

Answer from the Mayor:

The Cycle Safety Action Plan was launched at a HGV/cycle safety event which was organised by the London Borough of Lambeth. At the event, cyclists were invited to experience the view of the road from inside an HGV cab, to discuss with the driver the problems of limited visibility from the vehicle and to receive general cycle safety information.

While on this occasion the event was organised by Lambeth, other events are also organised on a regular basis in London by the Metropolitan Police. TfL will provide relevant materials (e.g. maps, leaflets) to support such events where appropriate.

Safety is a core consideration in the development and delivery of the proposed Cycle Superhighways. TfL is planning such events to promote the specific issue of cycling safely with HGVs when the routes are opened and is liaising with relevant organisations on that matter.

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Cycle superhighways (1)

Question No: 3151 / 2009

Jenny Jones

If the Mayor’s objectives for first class Cycle Superhighways are to be achieved a reduction in road space for motor vehicles will be necessary in some places. When faced with this choice will the Mayor sanction the reduced capacity for motor vehicles or instead opt for a sub-standard Cycle Superhighway?

Answer from the Mayor:

The extent of the potential impact to general traffic is being considered whilst Cycle Superhighways are being designed. Where traffic impacts are manageable within the overall network, space will be given over to cyclists. Where traffic impacts are significant, mitigations will be considered to find the best balance for both cyclists and motorists. A key objective of the pilot routes is to explore and assess the way motorists and cyclists respond to different road layouts, while keeping cyclist safety a priority.

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Cycle superhighways (2)

Question No: 3152 / 2009

Jenny Jones

What is the cost breakdown on the £22m for the two pilot Cycle Superhighways?

Answer from the Mayor:

This is set out in the table below.

£ million Route 3 Route 7 Total
Infrastructure costs 3.27 5.53 8.80
Design, legal, property, management and monitoring costs 1.30 1.75 3.05
‘Smarter travel’ costs (‘home’ and ‘work’ end measures including cycle parking, work facilities, training, information and communication) 2.90 2.91 5.81
Risk and contingency 2.05 3.28 5.33

Total 9.52 13.47 22.99

* Cycle superhighways (3)

Question No: 3153 / 2009

Jenny Jones

Will the specification for Advanced Stop Lines on Cycle Superhighways ensure they are large enough to ensure that the drivers of HGVs can see all cyclists inside them?

Answer from the Mayor:

Yes. Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs) will be constructed in line with the London Cycling Design Standards. The preferred length of the ASL reservoir for cyclists is 5m with a minimum of 4m.

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Cycle superhighways (4)

Question No: 3154 / 2009

Jenny Jones

Will additional policing resources be allocated to monitor and enforce Advanced Stop Lines, cycle lanes and speed limits on Cycle Superhighways?

Answer from the Mayor:

Transport for London is currently progressing work on Cycle Superhighways and is keeping the MPS Traffic Operational Command Unit updated on progress. Within the current budgetary constraints there are no plans to allocate additional policing resources to these areas.

However, the Traffic Operational Command Unit is working with City of London Police, who are leading for both organisations, on a review of Advanced Stop boxes with the Department for Transport and also engaging with partners to reduce cycling fatalities involving lorries. This multi-agency group may broaden its remit to include wider cycling safety issues.

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Biking boroughs (2)

Question No: 3156 / 2009

Jenny Jones

The Transport Strategy figure of a 400% increase in cycling by 2025 is based upon a Transport for London calculation of the number of potential new cycling trips in London. Given that cycle hire and superhighways account for a small proportion of this potential increase, with the bulk of the potential new trips being on boroughs roads, have you calculated how many boroughs will need to become Biking Boroughs in order to achieve the Transport Strategy target? Will your Transport Strategy include targets for the number of Biking Boroughs?

Answer from the Mayor:

Achieving a 400% increase in cycling trips in London by 2025 will require a significant uplift in cycling across all London boroughs. Analysis of the number of potential trips that could be transferred from car and public transport modes to cycling suggests that the potential for mode shift to bike is particularly high in outer London boroughs. The draft Transport Strategy does not set targets for a number of Biking Boroughs required in future – rather TfL will aim to work collaboratively with all boroughs which are interested in prioritising cycling and increasing cycling rates in their area.

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Biking boroughs (3)

Question No: 3157 / 2009

Jenny Jones

Will your Transport Strategy include borough by borough targets for the number of new cyclists?

Answer from the Mayor:

The draft Transport Strategy does not include borough-based targets for cycling. The decision on whether to adopt local targets for cycling is one for boroughs themselves to make, informed by London policy – such as the Transport Strategy – and local circumstances, priorities and conditions. TfL will aim to work collaboratively to develop a Biking Borough Plan with any borough that is interested in prioritising cycling and increasing cycling rates in their area.

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Exchanges Places

Question No: 3158 / 2009

Jenny Jones

How many ‘Exchanges Places’ events for cyclists were held in London in 2008/09? How many of these were organised by the CVEU?

Answer from the Mayor:

There were two ‘Exchanging Places’ events organised in 2008 and nine events in 2009. Of those, two were organised by the Commercial Vehicle Education Unit. These events are normally organised by the MPS Traffic Operational Command Unit and supported by the Commercial Vehicle Education Unit. Approximately ten further events have been arranged across the MPS through Borough Road Safety Officers. For 2010, the Traffic Operational Command Unit is planning to hold an event each month to support a reduction in those either killed or seriously injured through cycling.

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Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (1)

Question No: 3159 / 2009

Jenny Jones

Your draft Cycle Safety Action Plan puts great stress upon membership of the Freight Operator Recognition Scheme. What is the current gap between current FORS membership and the London Freight Plan target to sign up 75 per cent of Transport for London, Greater London Authority group, and boroughs’ own and contracted fleets to FORS by spring 2010? What additional resources are you committing in order to bridge this gap?

Answer from the Mayor:

The current FORS sign-up of Transport for London, Greater London Authority group, and boroughs’ own and contracted fleets is approximately 30%. London Fire Brigade is already a bronze FORS member and as at 6 November, of the 19 London boroughs signed up to FORS, seven are now accredited bronze FORS members.

The Managing Director of TfL Surface Transport has recently written to all TfL fleet managers encouraging them to ensure both their own fleets and those of contracted suppliers are registered with FORS.

With the launch of my Responsible Procurement code, which also promotes FORS membership, it is forecast that FORS will be able to secure 50% sign-up by the end of March 2010. However with existing financial constraints, no additional resources are planned to bridge this gap.

Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (2)

Question No: 3160 / 2009

Jenny Jones

What resources are there in the Transport for London Business Plan to enable you to reach the target in the Freight Transport Plan of 50 per cent of HGV and van fleets serving London being signed up to FORS by spring 2016?

Answer from the Mayor:

TfL’s Business Plan sets aside approximately £800,000 per year funding for the FORS initiative.

Since the launch of FORS in the autumn of 2008 and from a standing start, a significant number of organisations have signed up to FORS. Membership currently equates to 36,606 vehicles across London or 11.1% of London’s commercial fleet.

At this rate and with the FORS brand now being actively promoted, I have no reason to believe that the 2016 target will not be reached in good time.

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Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (3)

Question No: 3161 / 2009

Jenny Jones

Freight companies being in legal compliance is a minimum requirement of membership of the Freight Operator Recognition Scheme, with companies losing their membership if they fail to meet this requirement. The Freight Plan makes clear that the Commercial Vehicle Education Unit has a lead role in ensuring legal compliance and monitoring it. Who will take over this function?

Answer from the Mayor:

FORS bronze membership requires an operator to demonstrate that they are using best practices to ensure (as far as reasonably practicable), that they would be highly unlikely to be prosecuted or other enforcement action taken in the unfortunate event that they were involved in a collision or incident affecting personal safety.

Each of the enforcement agencies in the FORS partnership: the Health & Safety Executive, Metropolitan Police Service and Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, undertake legal compliance testing and monitoring as part of their normal activities.

If a FORS member is subject to enforcement action from any of the partners, information is shared with the FORS partnership to ensure membership is either revoked or an improvement action plan issued. This arrangement remains unaltered by the change in funding for the Commercial Vehicle Education Unit.

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Cycle safety and speed reduction

Question No: 3162 / 2009

Jenny Jones

Do you have an ideological objection to the inclusion of speed reduction or 20mph zones/limits in your draft Cycle Safety Action Plan and is this linked to your cut in funding for safety cameras in London?

Answer from the Mayor:

I have no ideological objection to 20mph zones and recognise the road safety and environmental benefits they bring to communities. I support London boroughs that want more 20mph zones, ideally without using engineering measures such as road humps. There is no link to the funding for Safety Cameras.

In 2006, the Department for Transport committed to providing TfL with £12.5m funding for road safety measures in 2009/10. The DfT subsequently withdrew this funding from TfL’s settlement. The continued funding of the LSCP was therefore unbudgeted and as a result there has been a 50% reduction in funding.

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Uninsured drivers

Question No: 3163 / 2009

Jenny Jones

Given the success of Operation Reclaim and the scope for further enforcement work by the Metropolitan Police, do you now agree that the target of a year on year reduction in the number of uninsured drivers would be a good idea?

Answer from the Mayor:

The general contribution that Operation Reclaim can make to both crime disruption and road safety is recognised. However, the MPS informs me that at the moment, there is no accurate data on which to base a target of a reduction in uninsured drivers.

Nevertheless, this is expected to change in the future with the introduction of ‘Continuous Insurance Enforcement’ where the Motor Insurers Database (MID) will be able to be compared to the vehicle record held by the DVLA. This is not scheduled to be fully implemented until 2011 and, from that date, it will be possible to consider – in light of the data – what the most effective approach to reducing the number of uninsured drivers should be.

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Cycle parking in Trafalgar Square

Question No: 3164 / 2009

Jenny Jones

What are you doing to provide secure and supervised cycle parking in or around Trafalgar Square?

Answer from the Mayor:

In response to the strike by some London Underground tube drivers in June, TfL provided secure, supervised cycle parking at Trafalgar Square. This was a temporary measure designed to meet the demand generated by those who cycled as an alternative and it had good public take up.

More generally, I am aware that there is a shortage of provision for cycle parking in this area. Some provision has been made for cyclists in the Abingdon Street car park and there may be spare capacity for cycle parking in other underground car parks within the Westminster security zone. TfL is continuing to explore what might be possible.

TfL has this year been working with the Cross River Partnership to establish a secure cycle park in a Westminster City Council owned car park. Progress is dependent on the City Council reaching favourable contractual arrangements with its car park managers.

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Road safety

Question No: 3165 / 2009

Jenny Jones

Thank you for your answer to my question 2700 / 2009 regarding data recorders. What are the reasons given for not fitting them to police motorbikes? What would be the cost of retrofitting data recorders to a) the black cab fleet b) buses?

Answer from the Mayor:

Data recorders must be mounted horizontally for accurate data recording. Any deviation from this alters the value of the force recorded.

Motorcycles tilt as they negotiate bends and carry out overtaking manoeuvres. This generates forces that are not in the horizontal plane as required by the data recorder. The MPS assessment is therefore that the data collected will not be robust. Work is underway to identify a reliable system that can be installed on motorcycles.

TfL does not currently have any plans to require the fitting of incident data recorders in taxis. London’s 21,500 licensed taxis are involved in very few fatal or serious injury collisions and to date a case has not been made for fitting them with data recorders. However, the cost of retrofitting data recorders to the black cab fleet if fitted through the MPS contract would be in the region of £600 per vehicle.

TfL is not able accurately to estimate the cost of retrofitting data recorders to buses. However, bus operators are considering fitting equipment that monitors driving performance, primarily for environmental management purposes. TfL is encouraging this move for the emission reduction and fuel efficiency benefits that should arise.

Improving safety for cyclists

Question No: 3298 / 2009

Caroline Pidgeon

A constituent has asked me to raise with you whether you would support new legislation making it compulsory in London for cyclists to (a) wear a helmet, (b) to carry working lights on their bikes at the front and rear (c) wear a fluorescent jacket, day or night ?

Answer from the Mayor:

I agree with your constituent that cycling safety is very important and that many people are not aware of what they can do to lessen the risks of injury when cycling in London; that is part of the reason why Transport for London is consulting on a draft Cycle Safety Action Plan that includes a significant workstream around promotion, incentives and awareness raising.

There is already a legal requirement for cycles to be fitted with working front and rear lights if being ridden on a public road when it is dark. My view on the other matters raised by your constituent is that these are quite rightly a matter of individual choice – not legislation or compulsion.

Closure of CVEU police unit

Question No: 3330 / 2009

Caroline Pidgeon

In the light of the tragic deaths of ten cyclists on London’s roads this year, with eight involving heavy goods vehicles, how do you justify Transport for London’s decision to shut down the Metropolitan Police Commercial Vehicle Education Unit (CVEU) despite the fact that 70% of lorries checked by CVEU since 2005 were found to be defective in some way ?

Answer from the Mayor:

TfL research shows that fewer than one in twenty cycling fatalities involved a defective HGV, whereas over a fifth involved a large vehicle changing lanes to the left or turning left. This suggests that the key priority in reducing cycling fatalities is to reduce the risk to cyclists from left turning HGVs.

This will be done by changing the design and use standards for HGVs, encouraging the retro-fitting of mirrors and safety sidebars to existing HGVs and raising awareness amongst both cyclists and HGV drivers on the need to travel safely on the road.

TfL and the Metropolitan Police are working closely together on these issues including promoting Exchanging Places Events through which cyclists experience the realities of driving an HGV.

The Metropolitan Police will continue to undertake on-street enforcement action in relation to freight operators in London. TfL will continue with its Freight Operator Recognition Scheme, which offers direct safety benefits for cyclists, including bespoke driver and freight planner training, discounted driver-licence checking services and introductory offers for driver profiling.

Cyclist Safety

Question No: 3386 / 2009

Valerie Shawcross

There is a cross-party agreement that Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) are a significant factor in cyclist deaths and any measure proposed to mitigate this is welcome. How will your new measures be co-ordinated now that you have axed the Metropolitan Police’s Commercial Vehicle Education Unit?

Answer from the Mayor:

The Metropolitan Police will continue to undertake on-street enforcement action in relation to freight operators in London. TfL will continue with its Freight Operator Recognition Scheme, which offers direct safety benefits for cyclists, including bespoke driver and freight planner training, discounted driver-licence checking services and introductory offers for driver profiling.

TfL and the Metropolitan Police are not complacent, however, and will be looking to maintain the enforcement drive and education work in new ways. The Traffic Operational Command Unit is reviewing all of its functions and staff. Within this review, the unit are looking at how to manage commercial vehicle enforcement in the future.

In addition, TfL has set up a Cycle Safety Action Group to co-ordinate activity relating to cycle safety across London. This follows the publication by TfL of the Mayor’s Cycle Safety Action Plan on 23 October 2009. This Group will bring together all the key organisations involved in increasing cycling safety, including representatives from the freight industry and the Metropolitan Police.

Cyclist Safety 2

Question No: 3387 / 2009

Valerie Shawcross

How will the axing of the Metropolitan Police’s Commercial Vehicle Education Unit improve safety for London’s cyclists?

Answer from the Mayor:

Please refer to my answer to MQ3386 / 2009.

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Cyclist Safety 3

Question No: 3388 / 2009

Valerie Shawcross

How many initiatives in your new cycle safety action plan are genuinely new activities which have not been in operation previously?

Answer from the Mayor:

The draft cycle safety action plan was drawn together to build on the success to date in achieving safer cycling in London and to address the findings of recent research into cycle fatalities. It is this latter work that informed the need for new action on lobbying for better side guard protection, mirrors on lorries and trucks, and changes to road markings (such as Advanced Stop Lines) to facilitate safer cycling. I have now raised these matters with the Secretary of State.

The research work also pointed to the need for better awareness raising among all road users. While TfL will look to new technical measures and training requirements to this end, they will also rightly look to continue and expand much of the excellent work on safety promotions and campaigns that has been developed and delivered with a wide range of partners and stakeholders.

Much of the strength of the action plan will rest in the way future activity is focused and co-ordinated through a high-level working group to determine the requisite combination of new and tried and tested measures to improve cyclists’ safety.

London Safety Camera Partnership

Question No: 3389 / 2009

Valerie Shawcross

As Chair of Transport for London, how do you justify the decision to reduce funds to the Metropolitan Police Service for operation of their London Safety Camera Partnership by £2.8million?

Answer from the Mayor:

In 2006, the Department for Transport committed to providing TfL with £12.5m funding for road safety measures in 2009/10. The DfT subsequently withdrew this funding from TfL’s settlement. The continued funding of the London Safety Camera Partnership (LSCP) was therefore unbudgeted and as a result there has been a 50% reduction in funding.

TfL and the MPS remain committed to the operation of the LSCP and they are currently working on options to achieve the same road safety benefits with this new constrained funding environment.

London Safety Camera Partnership 2

Question No: 3390 / 2009

Valerie Shawcross

How will your funding reduction to the MPS London Safety Camera Partnership – meaning staff will only be able to process half the yearly number of camera enforcement incidents – improve road safety in London?

Answer from the Mayor:

In 2006, the Department for Transport committed to providing TfL with £12.5m funding for road safety measures in 2009/10. The DfT subsequently withdrew this funding from TfL’s settlement. The continued funding of the LSCP was therefore unbudgeted and as a result there has been a 50% reduction in funding.

Ongoing work to investigate ways to fund the London Safety Camera Partnership in future is looking to ensure that more drivers who receive tickets are processed though the system to resolution: for example, receiving three points and a fixed penalty, attending a speed awareness course; or a court summons.

However, what I want is for fewer drivers to re-offend, and the evidence is that educating drivers is far less likely to produce re-offending than the set fine and points on the licence option. Therefore the new way of working will focus on educating drivers in order to improve road safety.

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London Safety Camera Partnership 3

Question No: 3391 / 2009

Valerie Shawcross

Why did Transport for London not inform the MPA that it was cutting funds for the London Safety Camera Partnership by £2.8million until May this year, thus leaving them inadequate time to address this in-year withdrawal of funds, resulting in an overspend?

Answer from the Mayor:

As soon as TfL became aware of the scale of the budgetary reductions for the whole of the LSCP, it made the MPS aware of what was expected from them. The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) informed the London Safety Camera Partnership (LSCP) in January 2009 that it was looking to reduce the number of tickets issued by over half, so there was sufficient time to implement plans to reduce budgets.

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London Safety Camera Partnership 4

Question No: 3392 / 2009

Valerie Shawcross

Will you convene a meeting between TfL and the MPA, both of which you chair, in order to discuss London Camera Safety Partnership funding issues?

Answer from the Mayor:

In 2006, the Department for Transport committed to providing TfL with £12.5m funding for road safety measures in 2009/10. The DfT subsequently withdrew this funding from TfL’s settlement. The continued funding of the LSCP was therefore unbudgeted and as a result there has been a 50% reduction in funding.

Discussions are already underway at a senior level between TfL and the Metropolitan Police Service on options for the future funding and operation of London’s safety camera network. The issues raised by the potential changes to the management of the camera network are operational in nature, rather than policy related. It is therefore appropriate that the discussions continue at this level.

Bicycles on the DLR

Question No: 3408 / 2009

John Biggs

Given that the DLR is a relatively modern network, and given your aim of encouraging more and more Londoners to cycle, could the current adaptations of the DLR to extend trains to three carriages not have incorporated measures to allow capacity for bicycles to be carried?

Answer from the Mayor:

The capacity enhancement measures being put in place on the DLR are to meet the forecast passenger demand with three car services being used as appropriate to meet that demand; to seek to include special measures for bicycles would detract from this aim. The system itself, in terms of access, does not lend itself to bicycle use, the rail vehicles are not equipped to handle them and risk assessment indicates that safety factors make it unacceptable for full-sized bikes to be carried on DLR. DLR is investing £300,000 this year on a programme of developing secure and well lit cycle facilities at stations.

Whitechapel Road / Vallance Road Junction

Question No: 3413 / 2009

John Biggs

In response to my question 2815/2009 regarding a recent fatality at Whitechapel Road / Vallance Road junction, you said that defects had been identified following the police inquiry and that work was in hand to address these. Can you detail exactly what works are in hand, what further works you propose to undertake, and a timeline for this?

Answer from the Mayor:

The Police identified that some road markings should be repainted and that a traffic signal call-box should be repositioned. The road markings at this junction have already been repainted. TfL intends to have re-positioned the call-box by the end of this year.

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Cycling Safety Plan

Question No: 3414 / 2009

John Biggs

Please can you give further details about the ‘trial of safety measures such as Trixi mirrors’ which I read to be a feature of this plan.

Answer from the Mayor:

Improving safety for all road users is one of my key priorities and Trixi mirrors are an example of an innovative measure that has potential to be of help to cyclists. It is a simple idea, namely that mirrors can be attached to traffic signals and other street furniture to give drivers better sight of cyclists, and may be of particular benefit to drivers of large goods vehicles. TfL has engaged consultants to quantify what benefits such mirrors may have and how best to locate them. TfL propose to submit an application for a limited, closely monitored on-road trial in 2010 and hope that such a trial, if permitted, will demonstrate that these mirrors are effective in helping drivers to see vulnerable road users in close proximity to their vehicles.

I have also written to the Secretary of State calling for the mandatory fitting of extra safety mirrors to Heavy Goods Vehicles.

The draft cycle safety action plan is currently the subject of public consultation and I am keen to see if this process will identify other innovative approaches to improving safety. Clearly, as with the trial of Trixi mirrors to which you refer, these would require careful assessment to determine their usefulness and / or appropriateness as part of the cycle safety toolkit.

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Cycling Safety Plan 2

Question No: 3415 / 2009

John Biggs

You propose to call on freight companies to install sidebars or other safety devices on HGV’s that are currently exempt, how do you propose to escalate this if your initial plea to HGV companies isn’t successful?

Answer from the Mayor:

I support a London campaign actively to encourage operators to voluntarily fit side-guards (or other safety devices) to HGVs that currently fall under this exemption. I have already written to the Secretary of State for Transport asking him to consider revisiting these exemptions.

Cycle Superhighways

Question No: 3421 / 2009

John Biggs

What consultation has been carried out with cyclist groups prior to the designing of your cycle superhighways?

Answer from the Mayor:

The overall Cycle Superhighways concept and route network have been discussed with both national and local cycle groups, for example the London Cycling Campaign and CTC. The specific interventions to be considered for each route have been discussed with a range of local stakeholders including the relevant Boroughs and the London Cycling Campaign.

Cycle Superhighway

Question No: 3532 / 2009

Richard Tracey

As the Cycle Superhighway to Merton will now stop at Colliers Wood rather than South Wimbledon (as originally proposed), will TfL funding be made available in future to complete the link along Merantun Way so that there is a full cycle route through to Morden?

Answer from the Mayor:

Although it is not possible at this stage to extend the superhighway to South Wimbledon, this does not preclude the possibility of extending the route there in future.

TfL has committed funding to designing a cycling link between the end of the Cycle Superhighways route at Colliers Wood, and the Merantun Way junction with Morden Road. Construction of any future extensions to Morden are beyond the scope of the Cycle Superhighways project budget, although TfL has committed to work with the London Borough of Merton to explore potential funding options for additional cycling infrastructure in this area.

Stolen Bikes (1)

Question No: 3579 / 2009

Andrew Boff

Does the Safer Neighbourhood Team covering Brick Lane in Tower Hamlets have the relevant equipment to tackle the sales of stolen bikes, for example do they have a bike chip reader to detect stolen bikes?

Answer from the Mayor:

The officers in the Weavers Safer Neighbourhood Team, currently covering the Brick Lane market area, are all trained in identifying stolen bikes registered on Immobilise.com and run regular crime prevention awareness days where members of the public can have their bikes marked and registered. The team is in the process of obtaining Immobilise.com readers and is also looking to purchase a data tag reader, which are used by the industry for marking bikes.

The team has also received additional police funding to work with local authority agencies, including market inspectors to run proactive operations to combat the illicit sale of pedal cycles in Brick Lane. For example, Operation Devoran, which ran in September 2009, resulted in three arrests and the recovery of seven cycles. The team also run weekly patrols and has a focus on the identification of stolen bikes.

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Stolen Bikes (2)

Question No: 3580 / 2009

Andrew Boff

Bikes from all over London are sold on Brick Lane, does the Safer Neighbourhood Team covering the area receive any additional resources to tackle the sale of stolen bikes?

Answer from the Mayor:

Please see my response to MQ3579 / 2009.

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Stolen Bikes (3)

Question No: 3581 / 2009

Andrew Boff

Could the Operation Support Unit made up of Special Constables be utilised on occasions to drive away those wanting to sell and those wishing to buy stolen bikes on Brick Lane?

Answer from the Mayor:

The Metropolitan Police Service at Tower Hamlets is currently restructuring its Special Constable capacity and is looking to increase the number of Special Constables from 70 to 200. Part of these new officers’ roles will be to support those who are already undertaking patrols and providing a presence in Brick Lane (the borough’s identified town centre area). Coupled with ongoing partnership operations with the local authority, the borough will continue to target those involved in the illicit sale of stolen bicycles in the area.

London Safety Camera Partnership (1)

Question No: 3631 / 2009

Victoria Borwick

Why does the London Safety Camera Partnership’s website not provide the calibration certificates of traffic-enforcement cameras as other Safety Camera Partnerships do?

Answer from the Mayor:

The purpose of providing calibration certificates is to enable drivers to check whether the camera unit they were detected with was in calibration or not. The software that the Metropolitan Police Service currently operates does not make it possible to identify which offence was caught with which camera, so the publication of the calibration certificate is of very limited value and would only serve to generate further confusion for drivers. The London Safety Camera Partnership has looked at upgrading the software but the cost could not be justified for the limited return value.

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London Safety Camera Partnership (2)

Question No: 3632 / 2009

Victoria Borwick

Why are London Safety Camera Partnership meetings not open to the public?

Has consideration been given as to whether the London Safety Camera Partnership should have a formal constitution?

Answer from the Mayor:

The manner in which the Partnership operates was amended following changes to its funding in 2007. TfL is moving towards managing the operation in accordance with procedures that are in place with other projects for which it is responsible for, although it is not common practice for members of the public to be present at the equivalent project or programme board meetings.

However, minutes of London Safety Camera Partnership (LSCP) meetings are published once they have been agreed by Board members. As a further measure to demonstrate the transparency of the LSCP operation, TfL will investigate reporting LSCP activity through the Pan London Road Safety Forum, which is a public forum.

London Safety Camera Partnership (3)

Question No: 3633 / 2009

Victoria Borwick

What is the London Safety Camera Partnership’s budget for next financial year?

Answer from the Mayor:

TfL is still waiting for the Department for Transport to announce whether there will be any funding available to the London Safety Camera Partnership (LSCP) for the next financial year. However, TfL is investigating other methods of funding the LSCP in case the DfT funding does not materialise.

Pedestrian Guard removal

Question No: 3465 / 2009

Joanne McCartney

TfL is removing pedestrian guard rails around London. These are being removed without consultation with local residents, and in many cases are causing anger, concerns for safety and frustration that the public aren’t involved in any consultation on removals? As Chair of transport for London can you instruct TfL to always consult local residents’ associations for their views before any final decision is taken?

Answer from the Mayor:
I made clear in my election manifesto that I would instruct TfL to review the use of guard rail throughout the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN) to improve the look at feel of London, and remove it wherever it was not providing a clear safety benefit.

TfL is implementing my pledge, and in each case undertakes a stringent risk assessment to confirm whether the guard railing provides a clear safety benefit. The results of these assessments, in addition to consultation with the local borough, then inform TfL’s decision for removal or retention of the guard rail. Where a risk assessment recommends that guard railing be removed, there is an audit of the safety implications of doing so by TfL’s London Road Safety Unit.

Thousands of guard rail sites are being assessed for removal. In order to ensure that TfL can manage any objections to removal at such a large number of simultaneous locations efficiently, the local borough is consulted so that they may provide TfL with their extensive local knowledge, including views expressed by local stakeholders, rather than approaching residents or residents’ associations directly on each occasion. Any comments or feedback offered by the local borough are then considered and reviewed prior to any removal.

There is a further safety audit following removal of guard railing, and any comments received from residents are included in this audit. The audit involves the undertaking of a full road safety audit to ensure that the decision to remove the guard railing was correct.

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