Cyclists demand faster safety improvements at deadly road junction

Holborn Gyratory. Photograph: London Cycling Campaign

Cycling campaigners are calling for more speed in improving safety at one of London’s deadliest road junctions.

The London Cycling Campaign (LCC) wants further measures introduced at Holborn Gyratory, where eight cyclists have died in collisions with lorries and coaches since 2008.

In March, lawyer Shatha Ali was killed there, and campaigners have staged protests and die-ins to highlight their concerns.

The LCC launched the next stage of its dangerous junctions campaign to highlight concerns over accident blackspots in the capital.

Dr Ashok Sinha, who chairs the campaign group, said: “This is not just a safety issue. Dangerous junctions sever routes for active travel resulting in far fewer people walking or cycling.

“We must fix these junctions not just to save lives, but to also help people be more active by cycling and walking more, reducing air pollution and carbon emissions.”

“When junctions are made safe, the payback is huge – they unlock miles of new cycle routes and make walking, cycling and wheeling safer. Right now, fixing junctions is one of the most important things we can do to make cycling in London safer.”

Camden Council launched a consultation last month over plans to improve safety at High Holborn, Drake Street and Procter Street.

It said: “We want to make some more urgent road safety changes now.”

They include a separate bike lane on High Holborn, reducing four lanes of traffic on Procter Street to just one, with a separate bus lane and protected bike lanes.

There will also be improvements to pedestrian crossings.

LCC highlighted Holborn Gyratory along with King’s Cross and the Shoreditch Triangle as the capital’s accident blackspots.

Campaigners said: “The junctions are often so hostile to people walking and cycling that they not only pose a threat to those using them, they act as a major barrier to more active travel throughout the surrounding area because many people remain too fearful to walk or cycle there at all.”

Simon Munk, LCC’s campaigns manager, said: “We’re asking for urgent action right now.”

He called on local companies to get involved.

In August, the council brought in improvements, including a new cycle gate at Southampton Row on the junction with the busy Theobalds Road, so bikes could move before the general traffic and created a segregated cycle track.

If its latest plans for Holborn win approval, the council will make a permanent traffic management order.

Cllr Adam Harrison, cabinet member for a sustainable Camden, said: “In particular, we want to continue to make progress in Holborn, and are hoping to obtain Transport for London (TfL) funding to be able to undertake a larger Liveable Neighbourhoods transformational project there as well as making changes to junctions in the interim.

“The LCC’s findings also highlight the King’s Cross Gyratory, where, together with Islington Council, we have been pressing TfL for safer connections to join up lanes at York Way, Gray’s Inn Road, and latterly Euston Road, where we also wish to see safety changes. We are pleased that TfL will bring in a safer 20mph limit in King’s Cross next year.

“Since the pandemic we have trebled the length of segregated cycleways in the borough, created 24 new Healthy School Streets and redesigned a number of junctions to improve safety for road users. These measures and many others are putting Camden on a path to ‘Vision Zero’ of ensuring no one is killed or seriously injured on our roads by 2041.

“We know, however, that there is still much more to be done: we want to build out a borough-wide network of safe cycle routes, which should also link into similar changes in neighbouring boroughs.”

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