Cllr Burke: we won't rest until we've eliminated road deaths in Hackney
Cllr Jon Burke, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm, writes in support of Vision Zero Week, marking one year since Transport for London adopted its Vision Zero Action Plan to eliminate road deaths in London:
This week marks one year since the Mayor of London introduced his Vision Zero Action Plan, which aims to eliminate road deaths in London by 2041.
In Hackney, there’s lots we do to teach road safety: from teaching road awareness skills to children of all ages to be safe and training Junior Road Safety Officers, to cycle training for adults and students, scooter training, child car seat checks, independent travel lessons for year 6 leavers, and Junior Citizens’ workshops with TfL and the Met Police, now in their tenth year.
One of the most effective ways of improving road safety is to reduce speeds on our streets.
That’s why we were one of the first boroughs to implement a borough-wide 20mph limit, and why we support Junior and Community Road Watch schemes in Hackney, getting local people involved in bringing down speeds.
Depending on the operations performed by vehicles, we also equip our fleet with the latest geofenced speed-limiting devices - as well as other safety measures such as recordable camera systems, reversing aids and cycle safety equipment to warn cyclists of vehicles’ blind spots, including signs soon to be fitted to our new HGVs.
In addition to their compulsory training, all of our drivers receive reversing training and regular talks on vehicle safety. They also attend urban driving training where they spend a training session on a bike to make them aware of the hazards cyclists face.
The Council has received the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents Gold Standard Award for the last five years for its fleet safety work.
We’re also passionate about radically reimagining our public spaces and reducing the amount of motor traffic on our roads.
Our award winning School Streets do this by closing roads outside schools in the morning and afternoon, improving road safety and making it easier for kids to walk and cycle.
Fundamentally, however, reducing the dominance of motor vehicles and creating neighbourhoods that put pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users first is incredibly important in addressing the root cause of most road safety issues.
We’re already London’s top borough for cycling, with more modal filters - road closures that block cars but allow cyclists through - than any other borough, and the highest number of people cycling at least five times a week. Hackney also has the highest proportion of trips made by walking or cycling.
However, the tragic death of a woman this month on Mare Street shows there is more for us all to do.
While we’ve been successful in making our residential streets better for walking and cycling, we also need to make the places where people meet - our town centres - easier and safer to get around.
We recently secured funding from TfL and the Mayor of London to reduce traffic in the Hackney Central area and on Stoke Newington Church Street.
We’re asking people in both areas what they think of their town centres so we can come back to them with firm proposals.
Creating safer roads - and radically reclaiming them from motor traffic - are key commitments in our manifesto. We won’t rest until we’ve eliminated road deaths in Hackney.