E-bikes and Scooters Have Become a Major Casualty Problem in Holland

The use of electric powered cycles and e-scooters has taken off in a big way in Holland. But the results in terms of road casualties have got substantially worse.

In 2017, for the first time ever, more cyclists were involved in fatal accidents than motorists in the Netherlands. The number of cyclists suffering fatal injuries was at its highest for ten years and more than a quarter of the victims met their end on an e-bike. More men than women cyclists died and two-thirds of them were over 65.

In addition 25 people using scooters died. The article that disclosed this news (see https://tinyurl.com/y5kx2e5n ) suggested that the reason the elderly were such high a proportion of victims was because they have problems in keeping their balance on e-bikes. But it also probably relates to their higher risk of medical problems, and poor recovery times, after simple falls off fast moving bikes. It’s worth pointing out that many of these accidents will not have involved motor vehicles in any way.

Comment: It is clear that the encouragement of more cycling on congested streets as we have seen in London under the Mayor’s Transport Strategy is likely to have negative consequences. Meanwhile the suggestion of the use of e-scooters on London’s streets, where it is currently illegal but most people don’t know it, should surely be discouraged.

Roger Lawson

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20 MPH Speed Limits in London on Major Roads

20 MPH SignTransport for London (TfL) are pushing ahead with their proposals for “Safer Speeds” in central London – which means 20 MPH speed limits enforced by cameras and many major roads in London. They have published the results of their fake public consultation on this subject which we have previously criticised as a consultation “in name only” including a refusal by TfL to provide key information on the proposals such as any cost/benefit analysis.

The public consultation used leading questions and was a complete distortion of how consultations should be performed – see https://tinyurl.com/y3gqh5hh for more information on how TfL ignores public opinion and does fake consultations.

You can read a report from TfL on the Safer Speeds consultation here: https://tinyurl.com/y3gqh5hh . On this very important topic to all road users, of which there are millions in London, they received less than 2,000 responses. Thirty nine percent of the responses came from cyclists which just shows how that pressure group dominates such consultations and are unrepresentative of the general public.

TfL propose to implement the 20 MPH limit on key roads in central London by 2020, and then in phase 2 they will extend lower speed limits to the inner ring road, and high-risk roads and town centre roads in the rest of London by 2024. In other words they will be coming to TfL controlled roads (i.e. main roads) even in outer London. Raised tables will be used at pedestrian crossings and elsewhere to slow traffic and all speed cameras will be recalibrated to the new lower speeds. Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) will also be used to ensure drivers are aware of the new limits.

What is the likely impact on road casualties? From the experience of the City of London where a 20 MPH limit has been in use for some time, the impact will be negligible. But it will make life more difficult for drivers and result in many more speeding fines as the police will be stepping up enforcement measures. This is one more step in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy to deter people from using cars in London.

London is becoming a ghetto of anti-car fanatics. These proposals are being advocated in the name of road safety despite the fact that TfL refuse to give any estimates of the alleged benefits, probably because they know they will turn out to be false. The proposals are likely to be an enormous waste of money and contribute further to TfL’s budget deficit.

We are still pursuing a FOI Act request to obtain TfL’s internal reports justifying these proposals which in their usual anti-democratic approach they have refused to release. We suggest readers complain to their local MP and Greater London Assembly Member about this matter.

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

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Croydon Permit Parking Charges – Public Ignored

The London Borough of Croydon has published the responses to their consultation on changes to parking charges that will result in large increases, particularly for certain vehicles. It will mean the permit parking charge for a vehicle emitting more than 225 g/km of CO2 will rise from £80 to £300. There will also be an additional surcharge of 30% for pre-2015 diesel vehicles and it is also proposed to introduce similar increases for Pay & Display parking spaces.

Councillors have decided to push ahead with the proposals despite the fact that of the 148,000 cars registered in Croydon only 9,000 pay for parking permits. So the impact on air pollution in Croydon will be negligible even if some residents respond by changing their vehicles. As most of the air pollution comes from buses, HGVs and LGVs, charging resident car owners in the name of reducing pollution is pointless.

But the Council will make as much as £162,000 in additional permit charges each year which gives you some idea of the motive for this change.

There were 1,149 responses to the public consultation of which 1,039 submitted objections (i.e. 90%) with only 62 responses in support. Some 19% of respondents suggested this was simply a way for the council to generate income, and they were certainly correct on that point. The council’s response to that was to say the parking charges were insufficient to reduce the number of cars on the roads of Croydon.

You can read all the responses to the public consultation and the Council’s report here: https://tinyurl.com/y3o4oby2 . Here’s a summary of one response: “It is a tax on the poor. It’s not fair on those people who cannot afford to buy a new card…. It is another poverty tax…..”.

Comment: This is a typical example of doing a public consultation and then ignoring the result, apart from ignoring the logic and likely impact of the proposal. Regrettably Labour controlled councils such as Croydon often adopt the stance of ignoring the views of the public because Councillors think they know better what is good for you. I hope that those impacted will bear this in mind at the next borough elections.

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

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Number Plate Cloning – A Growing Problem in London

The Sun newspaper have reported that number plate cloning is a growing problem – particularly in London. Hackney reported 1,160 examples in the past 12 months while Haringey had 842 cases.

The use of cloned plates was supposed to have been stopped by legislation that prevented the manufacture of plates without evidence of vehicles ownership such as the registration document, but that legislation seems to be often ignored.

People clone plates to avoid parking and speeding fines, and to avoid paying for car insurance. But it creates enormous problems for those whose vehicles have been cloned to get the fines issued overturned.

More information here: https://tinyurl.com/y2m6uxqf

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

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Road Closures Halted Due to Public Pressure

Local Transport Today (LTT) have reported that two road closure schemes in London have been halted due to public objections.

In the Borough of Newham a trial closure of Browning Road Bridge to almost all vehicles except buses was halted after a demonstration by 80 local residents opposing the scheme. See this article in the Newham Recorder for more details: https://tinyurl.com/y64e63x4

This closure was part of the Liveable Neighbourhood policy implemented by the Council and funded by TfL. It was alleged that people were using the bridge as a “short-cut”. Only a very few local residents would be granted permits to use the bridge.

In Tower Hamlets a trial on Antill Road, Coburn Road and Tredegar Road of another “Liveable Neighbourhood” scheme was halted after a few days. A Tower Hamlets spokesperson told LTT that “There was a small minority of people vociferously objecting to the trial and some staff on site did feel intimidated by their actions”. Apparently taxi and PHV drivers were among the objectors.

Comment: Road closures can cause enormous difficulties to residents and disruption to the road network. They create congestion elsewhere and additional journey times. But these are part of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy to deter and reduce vehicle use when most people do not support such policies.

It is good to see that just a few residents can stop such schemes being implemented by some local activism. Councillors and council staff frequently have an agenda that is very different to what most of the population want, and are being encouraged by the Mayor and TfL to bring in such schemes. But it just takes a bit of opposition to halt them.

Roger Lawson

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Press Release: ABD Launches Campaign Against 20 MPH Speed Limits

20 MPH SignThe Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) has launched a campaign against blanket 20 MPH speed limits under the name “20s Senseless” – see www.20ssenseless.org

The reason for doing this is that there is much misinformation being spread by campaigners for such speed limits. What has been happening is that the anti-car activists encouraged by those campaigning for 20 MPH speed limits are now wasting millions of pounds nationwide when that money would have been better spent on other road safety measures – such as road engineering and education of younger drivers.

The Department for Transport (DfT) published the most authoritative study to date on the impact of wide-area signed-only 20 mph speed limits last year. It showed that there is no road safety benefit whatsoever from such schemes. In addition they have negligible impact on modal shift or on traffic speeds.

This was the long-awaited evidence that enormous amounts of money are being wasted on implementing 20 mph schemes which could have been spent instead on more effective road safety measures. In London alone, it is estimated that tens of millions of pounds have been spent on 20-mph signed-only schemes to no effect and nationwide it must run into hundreds of millions of pounds.

The Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) has long called for “evidence-based” road safety policies. The evidence on 20 MPH schemes should not be ignored.

The DfT report can be read here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/20-mph-speed-limits-on-roads . Key paragraphs from the report are:

“The evidence available to date shows no significant change in the short term in collisions and casualties, in the majority of the case studies (including the aggregated set of residential case studies).”

“Journey speed analysis shows that the median speed has fallen by 0.7mph in residential areas and 0.9mph in city centre areas.”

Note that the ABD is not opposed to the use of 20-mph speed limits where it might be of benefit or where compliance will be high but it is not the solution to all road safety problems and simply sticking up signs is a waste of money. The simplistic solutions proposed by advocates of wide area signed-only 20 MPH schemes do not work to reduce the Killed and Seriously Injured (KSIs) on our roads to any significant extent. Money is being wasted on them that could be better used to reduce KSIs in other ways.

20 MPH speed limits should be opposed by all road users. They are indeed SENSELESS.

For more information contact: Roger Lawson on 020-8295-0378

Silly Season News – Cars Banned in London

In the UK the “silly season” is the period lasting for a few summer months typified by the emergence of frivolous news stories in the media. This was exemplified by an item on BBC London TV News this evening.

Leo Murray from an organisation called 10/10 Climate Action was interviewed about his proposal to ban all private cars in London. Mr Murray is an eco-warrior of the extreme kind and why the BBC should give a platform to such a person to promote such views is beyond me. They certainly must be desperate for news stories.

When challenged on how the disabled would get around, he suggested they would be given free taxi rides subsidised by paying taxi users. That of course leaves all the other people who find cars essential for some trips banned. But he would not ban goods deliveries or buses so the impact on air pollution would be negligible and taxis would grow in numbers offsetting the benefit altogether.

I have suggested to the BBC that they interview me on a proposal to ban all buses, HGVs and LGVs to improve the air, plus of course all planes that fly over London. I can make out a good case for that proposal. Those who use buses would need to walk or cycle, but we know that’s good for their health so there are clear benefits. That would solve the traffic congestion problem at a stroke. That’s surely a good enough story for the BBC to cover? It’s just as daft as Mr Murray’s but if one is short of interesting news…….

But if you think the BBC should not provide a platform for such eccentrics as Leo Murray, here’s where to go to if you wish to complain: http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

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