In February this year, the Millbank Junction off Lambeth Bridge was named the most dangerous junction for cyclists in the UK. There have been a number cyclist accidents over the years there. Transport for London have leapt in to make interim changes to improve the safety while a city-wide consultation has taken place over potentially changing the roundabout over to a traffic light controlled crossroads.
There have been 53 accidents and one death on the junction involving cyclists over the last five years. This makes the roundabout one of the most dangerous spots for cyclists in the UK. After the most recent death, Transport for London have leapt in and made some interim safety adjustments to the roundabout.
Clearer lane markings have been put in, while footways have been widened and traffic islands have been extended to slow traffic down across the junction. For pedestrians, raised zebra crossings have been installed. These actions have been taken to improve safety as quickly as possible while the consultation takes place.
Plans for the Lambeth Bridge / Millbank junction
In a nutshell, Transport for London have been asking the public about converting, “both the northern and the southern roundabouts of Lambeth Bridge into crossroad junctions, with traffic signals and signalised pedestrian crossings. At each junction, dedicated space would be given for cyclists and new pedestrian areas would be created.”
While this will cause a lot of disruption for a while, on the surface it seems to be relatively sensible. The local Conservative Party councillors objected however, and set up a petition that complained, “Transport for London know that the scheme will increase traffic, congestion, noise, pollution and parking problems on our residential streets and irrevocably change the nature of Conservation Areas like Smith Square and Vincent Square.” They suggested that this will cause increased journey times for cyclists as well as all other road users.
Overall though, there seems to be widespread public support for the changes, although there are powerful lobbyists at work on both sides of the debate.
Roundabouts vs traffic lights
While TfL may say that traffic lights are safer, evidence from around the world suggests that roundabouts improve traffic flow. Even China and the United States are going over to roundabouts as the evidence mounts up that traffic flows are improved. London has a congestion problem and slowing down traffic flows could well cause more problems for cyclists.
The overarching policy of TfL is to get more commuters out of their cars and onto their bikes. With more frustration and time lost every time they get behind the wheel due to the Lambeth / Millbank junction this might get more people on their bikes.
Still out for consultation
The TfL website currently shows that the consultation is still being considered. Given that most of these major infrastructure consultations have come out in favour of the cyclist, on the balance of probabilities you will likely see the junctions in question being dug up and replaced in the not-too-distant future.#
Osbornes Cycle Injuries is recommended by Chambers UK and ‘The Legal 500’ as leading law firm in London specialising in cycle collision claims. The firm is the approved lawyers for the London Cycling Campaign, assisting members who have been involved in a cycling collision. Our team are experts in making sure that cyclists access appropriate rehabilitation and are compensated for injuries sustained, time away from work and cycle repairs.
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