The changes are supposed to improve safety after reports of speeding during lockdown.
Drivers are being reminded to take extra care in London, where temporary infrastructure changes are being made to protect cyclists and pedestrians. The calls come from the organisation responsible for the capital’s road network, Transport for London (TfL), which has also expressed concern about safety on the roads of the Big Smoke.
Since the beginning of lockdown, TfL says there have been 16 deaths on the roads of London, which is eight fewer than during the same period in 2019. However, that figure comes despite a 35-percent decrease in traffic levels, and it also hides an increase in the number of motorcyclists and cyclists killed on the capital’s streets. According to TfL, speeding has also been on the increase, with speeds of more than 130 mph recorded by police.
With that in mind, TfL is making changes to road layouts to make walking and cycling safer – a scheme that was announced last month to encourage greener forms of transport after lockdown. Some 21 such ‘Streetspace’ schemes have already been completed, with larger footways found outside London Bridge and Victoria stations, as well as a new cycle lane on Park Lane.
The changes have also come in alongside new speed restrictions, as the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, seeks to slow traffic. The limit on Park Lane has fallen from 40 mph to 20 mph, and TfL says it plans to introduce more 20 mph limits in the coming weeks and months.
These measures follow the 20 mph limits that were launched across central London in March, and TfL says it is already consulting on ways to expand these limits to other streets “to offer protection to vulnerable road users”. Possible locations include the A503 between Camden and Finsbury Park, as well as the A3 between Elephant and Castle and Colliers Wood.
With all these changes in progress, TfL has asked motorists to take particular care when driving around London. The organisation hopes the new infrastructure will encourage an increase in cycling and walking, and drivers are being asked to be “extra vigilant”, slow down, and obey the rules of the road.
"We're working closely with the Mayor and local boroughs to provide a huge range of new walking and cycling facilities, ensuring Londoners can get around safely as lockdown measures are eased,” said Siwan Hayward, TfL's director of compliance and policing. “Drivers are reminded that a number of road layouts may have changed and with more people walking and cycling, it is more critical than ever to slow down, drive carefully and within the speed limit.
"We'd like to thank the majority of drivers who are using London's roads safely, and by doing so, are protecting their local communities. Enforcing safe speeds remains a priority for ourselves and the police, and action will be taken against drivers found to be putting themselves and other road users at risk."