Hackney cyclists are calling on authorities to tackle the increasing problem of hit-and-runs in the borough after a report showed there were four incidents every week in the borough.
A study by Dr Rachel Aldred for Hackney Cycling Campaign (HCC) found one in five accidents in the borough were hit-and-runs, double the national average of one in ten, and one in four involved the injury of a pedestrian or cyclist.
Her report comes as provisional government figures show cyclists killed or seriously injured (KSI) in the year ending September 2016 increased by two per cent to 3,430.
Aldred said in a video: “Hit-and runs, like road injury collisions generally in the borough, tend to cluster in hostile environments like this – busy roads and major junctions… Research I conducted looking at cycling near misses found that regular cyclists in the UK were experiencing around one very scary near miss every week. This is why the Hackney Cycling Campaign wants to see road traffic enforcement being given a higher priority in policing across the borough.”
Aldred went on to say that hit and run incidents were “one end of a continuum of poor driver behaviour, part of a toxic road culture.”
According to HCC, in 2015 there were twice as many cyclists injured on Hackney’s roads than were injured in 2005 – 250 compared to 134.
Many of the routes in Hackney are red routes, managed by Transport for London with controls enforced by the police and their traffic wardens. The borough has historically had many problems with hit-and-run drivers, with figures increasing by 77 per cent between 2011 and 2015.
A spokesperson for Hackney Council said: “The Council works closely with the local police Safer Transport Team – every week they stop and charge around 20 drivers for offences including using a mobile phone whilst driving, dangerous driving or driving without insurance. Every few weeks they run targeted intensive operations at problem sites – at the past six operations they have seized 31 vehicles, processed 31 people for various offences and arrested five people.”
In order to tackle the problem, in September 2016 the council invested £80000 to protect cyclists, by installing cyclist detecting camera technology on 22 new wheelchair-accessible buses. There is also a new trial speed limit on Commercial Street, running at 20mph.
Aside from the council, other organisations want to see a change in how London’s roads are managed to keep cyclists and other road users safe. The co-ordinator of Hackney Cyclists Jono Kenyon told HCC he wanted to see more involvement for authorities.
“One of our three ‘asks’ for Hackney mayoral candidates was a higher priority for roads traffic policing. Hundreds of people are injured on Hackney’s roads every year while walking and cycling. Road traffic offences, from close passes to hit and runs, need to be tackled to help make our roads safer for everyone,” he said according to Hackney Cycling Campaign.
Simon Munk, of the broader London Cycling Campaign told EastLondonlines: “We’ve seen over the last decade policing drop in priority and resources massively… drivers know that if they drive poorly or if they do something problematic, the chances of them being caught is very low. The whole system needs to be tilted in favour of vulnerable road users.”