One death and another horrible injury to cyclists in 24 hours underlined how serious and urgent the need is for improvements to cycling provision in London, more of which were announced yesterday.
Brian Holt, a porter at Mile End Hospital, died on Cycle Superhighway 2 at Mile End Road on Tuesday afternoon, the third death on CS2 since it opened. The Evening Standard has witnesses describing a tipper truck running into the back of Mr Holt, who was crushed underneath. Another cyclist was critically injured in a collision with a coach at the Vernon Place/Southampton Row junction in Holborn, a spot that's seen four other horrific accidents in recent years.
So Wednesday's opening of the segregated extension to CS2 from Bow Roundabout to Stratford is welcome (London Cycling Campaign has an assessment of how the extension's been implemented). The London Cycling Campaign also applauds other announcements made at the opening: upgrading the inner section of CS2, including full segregation on the stretch where Philippine De Gerin-Ricard died, cycle-separation on all the busy junctions, cycle-specific traffic lights, and full or semi segregation on the rest of the route – "subject to further investigation by TfL".
The coroner investigating the deaths of Brian Dorling and Philippine De Gerin-Ricard on CS2 was highly critical of the unbordered sections of cycle superhighways, which during the inquest were described as "just blue paint" by a police officer. Proper separation is a positive step.
Elsewhere, the City of London will now change its plans for the Aldgate High Street/St Botolph Street gyratory and add separate space for cycling alongside the new two-way traffic, and there are plans afoot for what's being described as a "substantially segregated" north-south route between Elephant and Castle to King's Cross via Blackfriars. It's a similar idea to the east-west 'cycling Crossrail' unveiled earlier in the year, though hopefully the new route will have fewer troubles with the Royal Parks. TfL is also hiring an extra 100 designers, engineers and traffic modellers to help develop London's expanding cycling network.
Photo by McTumshie from the Londonist Flickr pool