Bow roundabout's current design has been widely criticised and blamed for contributing to two recent cycle fatalities in the space of two weeks. The design fault lies in the fact that traffic wanting to turn left at the roundabout has to cross a cycle lane which is heading straight on, leading to collisions between vehicles and those on bikes.
As an interim measure, TFL installed signs around the junction to warn cyclists and drivers of each other's presence; however, the positioning of these has raised some eyebrows.
The new proposals essentially put forward two ideas:
A cycle 'early-start' phase at the traffic signals on the eastbound and westbound entrance to the Bow roundabout. This would provide a dedicated green light phase to allow cyclists to travel ahead of other traffic
Reducing the existing flyover across Bow roundabout from two traffic lanes to one in both directions, with new dedicated cycle lanes. Traffic signals could also be installed at either end of the flyover to make safe access easier for cyclists.
While the proposals should recieve a cautious welcome, many cyclists will be wondering why it has taken two deaths to suddenly spark TfL into action. In 2009, Ringway Jacobs were commissioned to write a cycle route implementation plan (PDF, see bottom of page 5) in which they recommended that toucan crossings were put in place as it "is intimidating even for experienced cyclists". The toucan crossings were never installed. The London Cycling Campaign also advised TfL in 2009 and February 2011 of the risks of the junction, but again, no action was taken until now.
Bow is one of a series of junctions that have been highlighted as dangerous and in need of redesign. 16 people lost their lives in cycle accidents in 2011.
For more information on the consulation, or to respond to it, please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/bowroundabout