Peer proposes changes to make roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists

Green peer and London Assembly member Jenny Jones releases 'Lawless roads' report calling for a motoring mind-shift.
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Green peer Jenny Jones, a member of the London Assembly, has published a report on 'lawless roads', six years after producing an earlier one on the same subject. The proposals in the report - which include a call for presumed liability - were culled from a seminar held in the summer, attended by around 120 cycling campaigners, the acting head of the Met’s Transport Police and the Mayor’s Commissioner for Cycling.

The report calls for the introduction of presumed liability, the assumption that injured pedestrians or cyclists deserve compensation unless it can be proved otherwise, or the Dutch scheme where at least 50 percent of responsibility for all collisions lies with drivers.

Jones also said the law should be adjusted so that the "punishment fits the crime" with greater use of driving bans in sentencing and for longer durations. It's also vital for the police to enforce 20mph limits and for their widespread use as the default limit across London, unless a case for exemption has been made and approved.

Advanced Stop Lines ought to be treated the same as yellow box junctions, says the report, with the offence being decriminalised so that enforcement can be done by Transport for London or local authorities.

Jones said:

“We desperately need to update the rules of the road in order to reflect the fact that three out of four road casualties in London are now vulnerable road users, either a pedestrian, a cyclist or a motor-cyclist. I welcome the fact that the Met Police are starting to do more enforcement, but their job would be a lot easier if the courts used their powers to take bad drivers off our roads for longer and we had civilian enforcement of some low level offences."

She added: "We need to slow traffic down so that mistakes are not fatal and that means making speed enforcement a priority again.”

In the introduction to the report, she said: "As a fan of cycling and walking, I see them as crucial elements in London’s future public transport system. Currently, we have a continuing surfeit of cars, crowded buses and a groaning tube system, so we need all those cyclists to stay on their bikes and pedestrians to keep walking, rather than hopping onto bus or tube, or London could grind to a halt."

Yet, she said, LOndon's roads have recently become less safe for cyclists and pedestrians. 

"While much of that lack of safety is to do with infrastructure, part of the problem is the culture of lawlessness on our roads. Many road users break the law, in many ways, which makes our roads more dangerous to the more vulnerable road users."

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