• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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London road fatalities last year second lowest on record, shows data

The lowest figure was seen in 2021, when 75 deaths were recorded

London mayor Sadiq Khan. (Photo: Noah Vickers/LDRS)

By: Noah Vickers

THE number of people killed on London’s roads last year was the second lowest on record, according to the latest data. Fatalities fell from 102 last year to 95.

The lowest figure was seen in 2021, when 75 deaths were recorded – though that year was affected by the lower amount of traffic during the Covid lockdown.

Sadiq Khan’s walking and cycling commissioner, Will Norman, said: “Every death or serious injury on our streets is devastating. We’re making significant progress but we know there is more work to do to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from London’s roads.

“The mayor is committed to making it safer and easier for people to walk and cycle around our city, which is why we are expanding our safer speed programme, tightening the Direct Vision Safety standard for HGVs and working with the boroughs to deliver high-quality cycle routes as we work to build a greener, safer London for everyone.”

According to Transport for London (TfL), the number of people killed while cycling has fallen by 40 per cent against the 2010-14 ‘baseline’, from 13 to eight.

People walking, cycling and motorcycling continue to be most at risk among road users, with 2,981 of them killed or seriously injured last year, making up 80 per cent of the total.

Commenting on the figures, Tory London Assembly member Keith Prince said that serious injuries on London’s roads appear to be around 50 per cent higher than they were before Khan took office as mayor in 2016.

But TfL explained that the national definition of ‘seriously injured’ was changed by the government from 2017. This meant that injuries previously categorised as “slight” were classified as “severe” from that year onwards.

Some 3,614 people were seriously injured on London’s roads in 2023, down from 3,859 in 2022. TfL pointed out that under the more recent definition of ‘seriously injured’, this year was the lowest on record outside of pandemic affected years.

About 55 per cent of this year’s fatalities and serious injuries took place on roads with a speed limit at or below 20mph.

Prince said: “The fact that over half of these incidents occurred on roads with speed limits of 20mph or less shows that simply downgrading speed limits on major roads is not making a difference.

“In fact, some bus drivers have suggested that these limits force them to hurry more, because their timetables are not updated with longer times to reflect the lower speed limits.”

TfL’s safety committee was told in September last year that 51 per cent of all roads in the capital now have a 20mph limit.

Research last year from Edinburgh Napier University shows that a person is five times more likely to die if hit by a car moving at 30mph, compared with 20mph. The reduction of speed limits on some of London’s roads down to 20mph is being done as part of the mayor’s ‘Vision Zero’ strategy, which aims to see no one killed or seriously injured on the capital’s roads by 2041.

Nick Simmons, CEO of the charity RoadPeace said: “It is encouraging to learn that there was a slight decrease in road deaths and serious injuries in London in 2023, but we are still deeply saddened by the tragic and unacceptable loss of life and the extreme suffering caused by collisions in the capital.

“The ripple effect of road crashes goes far beyond the statistics; it devastates families and shatters communities.

“So much more needs to be done to achieve Vision Zero, and road users must all take responsibility, no matter how they use London’s roads.

“We need collective action and commitment from everyone – drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and policymakers – to see a significant reduction in road deaths and serious injuries and to create safer streets for all.”

(Local Democracy Reporting Service)

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