Published: 15 March, 2012
by TOM FOOT
TRANSPORT chiefs advised their own road engineers not to bother looking at cycle safety when redesigning the King’s Cross junction where fashion student Deep Lee was killed.
Transport for London (Tfl) commissioned a report from Colin Buchanan in 2009 that has influenced changes soon to be introduced at the junction of Euston Road with Gray’s Inn Road and York Way.
In notes explaining the method of its research, the Buchanan report said: “Following TfL advice, cyclists and motorcyclists were not included in the model as they are only a small proportion of the total traffic.”
Blogger Sarah Talbot published the 83-page document on the King’s Cross Environment community website last week.
A TfL spokesman said they spoke to cycle safety groups during the consultation and their needs were taken into account during the redesign. Campaigners are calling for a charge of corporate manslaughter to be brought by police against the transport authority.
They also believe the changes at the junction – introducing a second lane crossing Euston Road – may make it more dangerous for cyclists. This week, Levenes Solicitors, specialising in cycling safety, released details of 25 serious crashes at the King’s Cross one-way system between 2005 and 2010. Ms Lee was crushed by a heavy goods vehicle on her way to St Martin’s Art College in October.
Bikes Alive campaign organiser Albert Beale described the advice to ignore cyclists as a “scandal”, adding he would protest at the danger junction “until TfL does an about-turn and makes the roads at King’s Cross safe for cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users”.
He added: “This must inevitably mean restricting the speed and volume of motor vehicles through King’s Cross – which is the exact opposite of current TfL policy.”
A TfL spokesman said: “This report was commissioned in the context of pedestrian improvements around King’s Cross station, which are now being delivered.
“Since then, cycling has seen massive growth at this junction and across London. As a result, the Mayor has asked TfL to conduct a detailed strategic review of the whole King’s Cross gyratory to see what more needs to be done for all road users at this location which is now underway.”
• Bikes Alive staged its fourth go-slow ride around King’s Cross station on Monday. Despite full coverage in the Sunday Times and appearances by Mr Beale on national radio, there was a poor attendance.
The London Cycling Campaign is refusing to alert its members to the campaign because it is considered “too radical”.