Saturday, March 05, 2016

TfL accused of 'burying failure' with spun PR announcements

Transport for London (TfL) has been criticised for ‘rushing out’ a PR release on protecting motorcyclists before a report condemning its failure to do so, could be published.

    Uber car and Motorcycle St Johns Wood

In the last two years, a fifth of motorcyclists have been involved in a collision and two thirds have had near-miss accidents.

Last year motorcycle and scooter fatalities in London rose by a third, and between 2010 and 2014 the number of injuries increased from 4,337 to 5,233.

London Mayor Boris Johnson announced this week that TfL and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) plan to strengthen their joint motorcycle safety initiative, Operation Winchester, to help tackle the spiralling adverse trends.

Mr Johnson said: “We are stepping up our efforts to improve the safety of motorcyclists on our roads, and the measures we’ve outlined today have the potential to make a real difference.

“We need every single motorcyclist to feel safe on our streets and this work is key to that goal.”

All too familiar sight, a Uber car and motorcycle

But the London Assembly Transport Committee (LATC) has attacked the announcement, claiming it has only been made to overshadow a scathing report into TfL’s failures.

In a report published on Thursday (March 3), the LATC drew attention to the rise in serious accidents, and claimed this was due to a lack of attention by TfL.

LATC Chair Valerie Shawcross said: “During my time on the Transport Committee we have spent a great deal of time and effort ensuring TfL considers the needs of cyclists and pedestrians — now it is time for them to pay more attention to the safety of motorcyclists.

“It’s no coincidence that TfL rushed out a PR release the day before our report was published – they know they’ve not done enough to protect motorcyclists in London.

“I hope our investigation prompts them to act.”

         Uber and Motorcycle Shoreditch 

The LATC found one of the main problems was inconsistency over when motorcyclists are allowed access to bus lanes.

Although TfL allows them to use the lanes on the roads it manages, many boroughs restrict access in their own areas.

The LATC also called for closer monitoring of Cycle Superhighway roads, more information as to why motorcycle accidents occur, and for more young people to be encouraged to join the TfL and MPS-led BikeSafe scheme.

Operation Winchester has so far increased enforcement at hotspot locations across London.

Over two phases in November 2015 and January 2016, police stopped 5,389 riders, issued 742 Traffic Offence Reports, 1,335 verbal warnings, seized 96 motorcycles and made ten arrests.

The least-safe boroughs will continue to be targeted

Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Rickett, MPS Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: “As an organisation the MPS is committed to

reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on London's roads each year and we work closely with our partners, Transport for London, to achieve this.

“Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable road users and our motorcycle safety team runs operations such as BikeSafe, to raise awareness of rider safety.

“These officers are themselves passionate about motorcycles and are able to explain their own experiences as motorcyclists on London's roads.

“All road users have a responsibility for road safety and I urge motorcyclists to take advantage of the BikeSafe and ScooterSafe-London to keep themselves and others safe on the roads.”