At the Harrow Council Traffic and Road Safety meeting last week, local resident Dr. Bryn Evans voiced the growing concerns within the borough’s cycling community.
The tragic death of a young cyclist in Kenton Lane recently served as a reminder of the dangers cyclists face on the roads. Despite the council’s road safety strategies, the number of casualties in the borough soared above the target, leaving residents like Dr. Evans concerned.
Dr Bryn Evans asked, “Since the last TARSAP, there has been at least one cyclist killed while cycling on an urban residential street in the borough (where the speed limit is 30mph). This is the young woman killed in Kenton Lane as she was cycling to work in early September.
“Harrow’s 2019 Road Safety Strategy aimed to reduce the number of traffic casualties in the borough, with a target of no more than 38 people killed or seriously injured (KSI) in 2022. However, this target was missed, with 62 KSI in 2022.
“I am an experienced cyclist, yet I am becoming increasingly worried for my safety when cycling in Harrow. For each very considerate driver I meet, there is at least one other who makes me fear for my safety. I am beginning to consider giving up cycling and to drive instead, despite this being a poor choice (i.e., it will increase congestion, decrease air quality, add to parking issues, will negatively impact my mental and physical health, etc.).
“Note, this is not how I feel when cycling in many other parts of London, particularly those parts that have 20mph speed limits and LTNs. Since this is how I feel when cycling in Harrow, what hope do we have that the borough will be able to achieve the mayor’s target of a modal shift of 8% to active travel in the borough by 2041?
“Given that cycling reduces congestion, improves air quality, and does not cause climate change (to list some of its benefits), what actions and policy changes will Harrow take to accelerate the much-needed improvements in road safety, particularly for cycling, so as to encourage residents (such as myself) to leave the car at home for short journeys, and for children to cycle to school?
Councillor Ameet Jogia, Chair of the Traffic and Road Safety Advisory Panel at Harrow Council replied, “The council intends to increase the level of cycling in Harrow by providing safe and inclusive cycling facilities and to improve safety on our road network. The mayor’s transport strategy has key objectives in relation to vision zero, active travel and net zero.
“To achieve these objectives, the council has numerous existing strategies that include road safety, cycling, walking, sustainable transport and parking. Whilst we have some way to go, to meet these targets, the casualty count in Harrow is actually the sixth lowest in London.
“TfL has produced information explaining how London, including Harrow, is working towards the MTS targets, this information is available on their website.
“We have produced a draft Harrow long-term transport strategy which will be considered at the next cabinet meeting in November.
“This gives details of our intentions over the next 18 years to 2041, whilst the local implementation plan and details agreed action to the delivery. This year we are consulting on two major TfL cycleway standard routes with more being designed. Schools are engaging on the travel for Life program which educates children on active travel and safety.
“Furthermore, we have an annual cycle training program which is offered to all schools, a number of junctions are also being investigated for improvement with a particular focus on pedestrian and cyclist safety.”