Politics

Sadiq Khan under scrutiny over London road deaths as 20mph limit proposed by Greens


S

adiq Khan‘s record on road safety came under scrutiny today after almost 100 people died on London’s roads last year despite lockdown.

A total of 96 died, including 45 pedestrians and six cyclists, in what London’s transport commissioner Andy Byford said was a “stark” reminder of the need for motorists to drive safely and within the speed limit.

He revealed that drivers had been clocked at up to 160mph as they “took advantage” of quieter roads and Met police roadside enforcement squads had caught almost 30,400 speeding drivers — 150 per cent more than in 2019. A further 240,000 speeding offences were caught by road cameras.

Sian Berry: TfL roads with pavement should have 20mph limit

/ Green Party

It came as Sian Berry, the Green mayoral candidate, today laid out plans to reduce the speed limit on main roads across London to 20mph as part of a more radical approach to achieving Mr Khan’s “vision zero” target sooner than 2041.

She proposed a 20mph limit on every TfL road “with a pavement” and said London could learn from cities such as Oslo and Helsinki, which registered zero pedestrian deaths in 2019.

Mr Khan’s strategy is to reduce all deaths and serious injuries on London roads by 65 per cent by next year, compared with the 2005-9 average. However progress towards the 2041 target “has slowed in recent years”, according to TfL — in part because of the high number of motorcycle/scooter deaths.

TfL said that while the total number of road deaths was lower than the 125 in 2019, the reduction was “not expected to continue” when traffic returned to pre-pandemic levels.

It said there was evidence that the “risk per journey has increased during lockdown” and that more road casualties were now likely in outer London rather than inner London.

A report to TfL’s safety committee this week said: “This indicates less of an issue of casualty ‘hotspots’ and suggests road safety must improve across all roads in order to reduce casualties across London in future.

“There is still a long way to go to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on London’s roads.”

TfL has recently introduced 20mph limits on roads including Park Lane, Euston Road and Hampstead Road. It has plans for similar restrictions on parts of the A21 in Lewisham, Burdett Road in Tower Hamlets, Camden Road and Homerton High Street.

Ms Berry claimed the reluctance to introduce lower speed limits and fund tougher enforcement were key factors in many deaths and injuries.

She pledged to increase funding for road safety, saying the reluctance to introduce lower speed limits and fund tougher enforcement were key factors in many deaths and serious injuries.

She would boost the number of officers in the Met’s road traffic command and help every school in London to introduce “school street” restrictions on traffic at the start and end of the school day. The names of people killed on London roads would be read out at the monthly Mayor’s Question Time.

She added: “No firefighter runs into a burning building with a target of rescuing 65 per cent of the people from the blaze. They want to save every single life. Why would we not apply that ambition to road deaths in our city?

“With a Green mayor vision zero will be a reality. Under successive mayors, getting to zero road deaths in London has been held back by underinvestment, poor standards, and low ambition.”



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