Hackney Council has launched a new safe cycling campaign called “Watch Out for Me!” days after a resident was killed in a cycling accident.
Chris Tandy, from Hackney, died on Saturday night after colliding with oncoming traffic on London Bridge in what witnesses described as a ”tragic accident”.
The 28-year-old became the ninth cyclist to be killed in London traffic this year. Despite the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured in London has decreased by 27 per cent the past year (from 671 in 2012 to 489 in 2013), safety continues to be a rising issue, both for the city and the boroughs, as more people are being encouraged to use bikes.
In Hackney, safety for cyclists has been a priority for the council for several years, and has given positive results. Cyclists killed or seriously injured in Hackney dropped 64 per cent from 56 in 2012 to 20 last year – the biggest drop in Hackney’s cycling casualties in the last five years.
Hackney Council now hopes to further reduce cycling casualties with its “Watch Out for Me!” campaign. The campaign urges cyclists and motorists to look out for each other, targeting everyone who uses the roads, whether on two wheels or four.
“Hackney has made significant strides in changing the behaviour of our road users,” said Councillor Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods.
Among the measures taken, there are courses targeting HGV drivers, with more than 500 of attendances. They experience what it is like to be a cyclist on the road. Another one is reducing speeds on the borough’s residential roads to 20mph. This will be rolled out across the borough by the end of the year.
The council has also worked with Metropolitan Police’s Safer Transport Team “to encourage drivers and riders to share the road space and consider how their behaviour affects pedestrians,” said Demirci.
This week, campaign banners have been plastered on flagpoles across Hackney, as a reminder to both cyclists and drivers on the roads.
“The Watch Out for Me! message is simple: be considerate and be careful and we can all share our roads together,” said Demirci.
Out of all London boroughs, cycling is the most preferred mode of transportation in Hackney. One in six, 15.4 per cent, Hackney residents use a bicycle when travelling to work – more than the number of people driving, 12.8 per cent.
Apart from the new campaign, several other measures have also been taken to increase safety for cyclists in the borough. In February, ELL reported that three road junctions in Hackney and Tower Hamlets were to be redesigned as part of a £300m city-wide scheme aiming to make cycling safer for Londoners. The £300m plan included Bow Roundabout, the Apex Junction (part of the Shoreditch Triangle) and Old Street Roundabout.
Check out Eastlondonlines Top five tips for safe cycling.