“Oi !!!”, “oww !!!” and knee nor, knee nor

The 3 cycling related deaths we know about in our Borough this year prompted us to ask Richmond Council about all accidents, or collisions as they’re called by the responsible authorities, involving cyclists.  At the end of September’s meeting of the Cycling Liaison Group we were given a map for collisions recorded between 1st January 2006 and 31st December 2010.  We’ve only got it on paper at the moment but it looks like this [clicking on it makes it a bit bigger]

Now, whatever the Council, TfL and RCC does to encourage cycling, eliminating, or at the very least minimising, risk of harm to cyclists must be the priority.

Recent research tells us why people don’t cycle. It includes fear of harm stopping adults from allowing their children to cycle to school in significant numbers and a perception of risk of harm among other demographic groups, regardless of the economic and health benefits of cycling to both the individual and society in general.

The London Cycle Network and Cycle Superhighways are 2 examples of responding to the problem of harm, reducing risk by moving cyclists on to roads with less vehicle traffic, creating separation from that traffic and managing conflict with it at high risk locations like road junctions.  And we’ll know more about what London Cycling Campaign means practically by Go Dutch when they tell us in November about their Manifesto for the 2012 Mayoral Elections.  This is what it means to the Dutch. And, if you’re a parent of school age children, have a look at this video of cycling to school and the very different challenges of the school run there.

So, how does the map help us to adopt a problem solving approach to reducing harm?

Remembering mapping is only a first level of analysis, answering the question “where?” but not “who?“, “what?“, “how?” or “why?“, you won’t be surprised to see clusters, concentrations, in certain places like:

East Sheen’s Upper Richmond Road, notably between Clifford Avenue and White Hart Lane:

Richmond Circus, including the southern end of Kew Road and alongside Old Deer Park:

That’s one reason why we took the Green Party Mayoral Candidate, Jenny JONES, there last week. We also took her there because Richmond Town Centre was voted the number 1 priority in our recent e-mail poll.

Teddington, in particular the High Street junctions with Waldegrave Road, Broad Street and Park, but also Ferry Road junction with Kingston Road:

Twickenham, with Heath Road, King Street junction with Cross Deep and then London Road up to A316, standing out:

It’s also interesting to note where collisions, or at least reported collisions, don’t happen, like Hampton [A1] and parts of Whitton [A16]

While the map is only “where?” what all these locations suggest, most clearly the line of blue squares [serious collisions] and green circles [slight collisions] along Upper Richmond Road, is the role junctions play in the “how?” and “why?”  Knowing this should drive 2 things. First, and foremost, a priority list for highway engineering works in the Borough. Second, the test that work at a location does something about the problem there. Will TfL’s work on Upper Richmond Road reduce collisions?

In our view neither Richmond’s Second Local Implementation Plan for Transport or its associated Draft Cycling Strategy make harm reduction a priority or adopt a problem solving approach. Click here to see how our neighbours in the London Borough of Hounslow are encouraged to report problems.

Back in June we pointed out the consultation document for Twickenham Town Centre didn’t actually use the words “bicycle”, ”cycling” or “cyclist” and “cycle” appears only once, on page 3: “Limited widening of eastern footway in London Road through removal of cycle lane”. This is very disappointing when you see the number of blue squares and green circles:

We also said back in May the apparent enthusiasm police showed for issuing fixed penalty notices for cycling on the pavement in Heath Road was likely to mask a problem with cycling on the road; borne out again by the blue squares and green circles.

We said at the beginning this is a map of recorded collisions so reporting them in the first place is important and the Metropolitan Police Service explains when and how to do that here.  They also invite you to report drivers here.  Note they say they are happy to hear about “Road layouts that you think may be dangerous or can be improved.

Finally, you may be interested in: http://www.crashmap.co.uk/

E-mail campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk with your thoughts on taking a harm reduction approach to cycling in Richmond.