Thursday, 26 July 2018

Sadiq Khan has no sense of irony.


Let’s cut road deaths in London to zero

Each year more than 2,000 people are killed or seriously injured on London’s streets, taking a devastating toll on the people involved, their families and communities across the capital.

Yes, Sadiq Khan will be remembered as the London Mayor who allowed the murder rate to soar, glad he's finally decided to do something about it.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, believes no death or serious injury on London’s roads should be treated as acceptable or inevitable. So he’s committed London to a bold target to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries from our road network.

Here are five ways we’re looking to achieve this:

Lower speed limits on TfL’s road network...
Transforming dangerous junctions...
Tough safety standards for the design of HGVs...
A world-leading Bus Safety Standard...
Safer streets for walking...

Ah right, he's not going to do anything about actual murders (about 150 a year); he's just going to make life even more difficult for motorists (most of whom don't need to drive into London anyway, to be fair) in order to reduce deaths in traffic accidents (about 80 a year).


Lola said...

And none of those things will lead to a significant drop in road deaths.

mombers said...

MW, are you sure this can be attributed in large part to Sadiq? Child poverty and police cuts have a lot to do with it in my opinion.

I'm completely behind any effort to eliminate road deaths, hopefully driverless cars will be with us soon. I'll do all that I can to keep my children away from driving until they are well into their 20s

Lola said...

Mombers. It's not drivers per se that are the problem (f there is a 'problem'). It's 'highway users'.

I have just downloaded and done some very basic analysis of road casualty data from here:-

When you take even a casual look at the data it does not look like that 4+ wheel vehicles are the issue. It's cyclists, motor cycle and pedestrians (the latter not taking care) that is the issue.

Khan is just grandstanding on the 'something must be done' platform and to direct attention away from his utter failure with violent crime and muggings etc.

In a previous life I was a Highway Engineer. The trouble with modern ('new'?) traffic management policies and actions is that they introduce 'moral hazard' - people are encouraged NOT to take personal responsibility.

It has been proved that creating 'shared spaces' at junctions (say) reduces casualties as all road users engage visually. And that latter point is something that driverless vehicles are an age from being able to do.

Mike W said...

'None of these things will lead to a drop'

A leaked, internal Labour memo was sent to Khan explaining that he could try getting as many cyclists off London roads with cycle lanes, as per Copenhagen or Stockholm. This would have many benefits including significant death reduction. The jist of his reply was a shocked, 'Hell, No'.

The fact of the matter was not that he has very little power, as London Mayor to do much more than self publicity, but too many Tory leaders like Boris, like to do Express photo shoots cycling 'greenly' from Whitehall to Kensington. So Khan wants BJ on the main SW1 roads as often as posssible. Thus, increasing the chances of having this prime, fat bastard, splashed all over the bonnet of a London cab.

Members pointed out that Corbyn also cycles to Westminster. Khan said, I know.. two birds and all that'.


Mark Wadsworth said...

L, exactly. The UK is pretty much top of the world leader board when it comes to road deaths; London's average rate of road deaths per person is less than half of UK average. Trying to reduce this number even further would require a massive effort with little return.

The riskiest form of transport is clearly cycling, the pol's have to decide whether to reduce this by spending huge amounts on cycle paths or simply banning cycling as being too dangerous. Instead, the pol's are encouraging people to cycle!

M, the upsurge is largely because of this macho gang culture with the drill videos etc. There's no reason to assume that kids from low income households are inherently more violent.

And yes, the Tory police cuts were a stupid idea from the off. But the London mayor still has some control over how much he spends on policing and social workers etc. He can always cut back on some of his white elephant crap, or have bobbies on the beat instead of checking Twitter for hate crimes.

Basically, if you have a spare £x million to spend on safety, the number of gang murders you can prevent is far higher than the number of road deaths you can prevent by spending that £x million on traffic management.

There will always be drunk teenagers and macho Audi owners; people who cycle despite the risks; doddery pensioners and twats looking at their mobile phones trying to cross the road. You can't legislate against all that.

Mark Wadsworth said...

MW, you had me going for a minute!

mombers said...

@L, I approach this from the angle of everyone being a land user. On this basis, motorised transport imposes an enormous externality on everyone else. An incredible amount of land is given over to cars (and buses to a lesser extent). A pedestrian uses much less and, apart from the occasional bit of carbon dibaxide, does not impose on the air or water that belongs to everyone. Children's freedom has been curtailed to a tragic degree - it's unthinkable to let young children out of the home without an adult. The taxes on fuel and vehicles don't even come close to compensating everyone else. I approach every non-motorist road death from the angle that the user of the very dangerous equipment is responsible for keeping everyone else safe.

The land around my office has been partially reclaimed recently - only buses and cyclists are allowed through Bank junction. Much safer now, less pollution, and an altogether more efficient use of the resources.

@MW, household income does have a huge bearing on criminal activity - well raised kids are less likely to commit crime. Just look at a prison, how many middle class people are in there? A more controversial piece of evidence is the effect of legalised abortion on crime (Freakonomics). A reduction in the number of unwanted and/or under-resourced kids led to a sharp drop in crime.

mombers said...

@L I agree on the side-effects of modern traffic management. Interesting how removing road markings makes people pay attention and drive more safely (I'm sure you've seen that study). Shared spaces are a great idea too - it makes it clear that the space is to be shared, and if you're in a dangerous vehicle taking up much more space than others, you need to be very, very careful.

Re driverless cars, over the millions of miles that they have clocked up so far, the evidence is that they are vastly safer than those operated by humans.

Lola said...

Mombers: "... I approach every non-motorist road death from the angle that the user of the very dangerous equipment is responsible for keeping everyone else safe..." My point precisely. It's all about 'personal responsibility'.

I was taught to drive in London in the late 1960's. (I often drove my dad around his construction sites). The whole thing was it was all about looking out for everyone and making it all work, and treating everyone else as a bloody fool, as of course they were treating you. And it worked and it was, relatively, safe. The thing that's changed is, in my personal observation, the selfishness and manners of motorists and road users. As a driver I looked out (and still do) for (idiot) cyclists - now all they do is thoughtlessly obstruct the road with a holier than thou attitude and abuse me. As a cyclist in London from about 1957 to when I 'emigrated' in 1970 I looked out for myself and thought about other road users.

And I do not think the testing of driverless cars has been near enough. They are only 'safer' as they have been run under very controlled conditions and the fact they they cannot, and are unlikely to ever be able to in any meaningful time frame, 'engage' with other road users is a serious problem. What will happen, of course, is that there will be dedicated driverless car lanes which will be sold as being 'safe'. Yeah well. They've just reinvented the railway with more flexibility.

mombers said...

@L What about the consequences of when 'personal responsibility' fails? A careless pedestrian absent cars can expect a broken ankle or similar, as soon as cars come into the picture, an asymmetric situation arises. The operator of the more dangerous mode of transport has a responsibility to ensure that they do not make the environment unsafe for responsible and irresponsible users using less dangerous modes of transport. That applies to cyclists vs pedestrians, any asymmetric engagement.

Fine re controlled conditions, just let them only drive on huge areas that have already been covered at very high levels of safety :-)

Mark Wadsworth said...

M, in the context of London, Zones 3 and inwards, private cars (i.e. not delivery vans and lorries) are largely unnecessary. It wouldn't be the end of the world if they were simply banned and everybody had to walk, cycle, take bus or train etc. But that ain't going to happen.

Lola said...

Mombers. True. But. You're looking at only the debit side. Motor transport has contributed to incredible growth and benefit. And blaming a motorist for hurt to a pedestrian that does not look out for their own safety is bonkers. FWIW the average speed of traffic in London is about the same now as when it was horse drawn.

(BTW I had a pedestrian step out in front of me and fall over the rear wing of my car - a car I built a bit like a Lotus 7. He did more damage to my car than he did to himself, and his system fixed himself automatically but it cost me money to fix the car he damaged).

Lola said...

MW Quite. I don't drive through central London any more. Cabs, Shanks's Pony and public transport are much better.

mombers said...

@L I agree that the motor car has contributed enormously to growth. But an efficient economy compensates for externalities. Use lots of land for roads and parking? Compensate others. Put nitrous oxide and particulates in the air? Compensate others. Cause disproportionate injuries or death regardless of fault? Well let's do our best to reduce this externality. Also let's make sure that there are lots of places where people can avoid having anything to do with cars if they so choose, i.e. pedestrianised urban areas.

The growth and wealth that automobiles have created is best captured by... LVT of course. Then everyone is fully compensated.

I don't drive and the Mrs only drives about 3000 miles a year so I am somewhat biased

A close relative had the dreadful misfortune of hitting and killing a drunk pedestrian in a rural area. Their fault? Absolutely - 120 meters of skid marks before the collision. But a better effort at protecting people from dangerous equipment, like a safe bridge or subway crossing, would have prevented this tragedy and allowed the people in the area to enjoy more equal use of the land.

I had the misfortune of having a driver turn in front of me when cycling and I smashed into the side of their Redmond Tractor in the US. No damage to them but I made sure their insurance record was tarnished. I got a my bike replaced and my shoulder injury looked at.

I don't cycle any more, to avoid externalities. I developed epilepsy, although no seizures in 11 years touch wood. It would not be great if I caused someone injury if I did have a seizure while cycling! A bit OTT I know.

Striebs said...

Mombers ,

I am not sure whether you are pulling everyone's leg or really believe what you are writing .

I don't see how you can state that on the evidence available driverless cars are much safer than humans .

For a start , the sample size is just too small .

One also suspects that the test miles have been designed to achieve this and that the results are no indication to what could be achieved in practice in London .

It certainly appeals to the authoritarians . Looking like a trojan horse to enable T.P.T.B. to control the plebs by taking the "personal" out of powered transportation .

The UK will end up like Singapore where only the rich can register a car or establishing Zil lanes .

AFAIK there has been no debate in parliament about whether the UK wants driverless cars or any mandate for it in election manifesto .

After the EU membership referendum illustrated the chasm between what the political class want and the masses want , we won't get a chance to have our say on anything ever again .

Striebs said...

Mombers ,

As an example , how do you know that driverless cars supposed superior safety record is not down to human drivers making allowances for them ?

We don't know whether to achieve improved safety it would require all of the fleet to be driverless or whether that would make matters worse .

Europe and the UK are already far too risk averse .

Treat people like kids and they will never grow up .

mombers said...

@Striebs I concede that the data is not conclusive. In theory, eliminating drunk/distracted/tired humans from driving *should* yield results, it remains to be seen.

2167 deaths (2014) is far too high, no other technology is as lethal. I'm always astonished which risks people avoid but ignore driving. Some friends don't travel on the tube together in case the worst happen, but drive together the whole time! Some parents insisted on the kids going on a coach instead of the tube to go into London. And people started cycling after the 7/7 bombings.

I am appalled that people can retain their licence if they are caught using a phone or drunk driving. There is ample public transport in the UK, it's not the end of the world if someone has the extraordinary privilege of driving removed for life if they take such a stupid risk.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Delightful, you'e all debating the demerits of motoring, and yes there clearly are plenty, but there are also benefits of motoring (not necessarily in inner London).

My point was, there are twice as many black kids getting stabbed to death by other black kids (which has only demerits and no benefits) as there are people being killed in road accidents in London.

Shouldn't we (i.e. Sadiq Khan) be concentrating on the stabbings rather than the road accidents?

Lola said...

Mombers. 'far too high'. Compared to what? And again you are looking at only one side. What are the lives saved from having the benefit of the ICE?

Road deaths 2017 1710 - 5% down. (

And looking at road deaths as a number is no good. You have to look at it as passenger or vehicle miles.

As MW states the UK is one of the safest places to be a road user. And that goes back to my original point about 'personal responsibility'. We are renowned for it as road users. And we have had some of the best highway engineering innovations - roundabouts and zebra crossings.

Lola said...


Striebs said...

Mombers ,

In recent years suicides have increased and outnumber road deaths .

That is not only tragic but scandalous .

At the risk of sounding like I'm trivialising that , many people are going to get extremely depressed if they can't drive themselves anymore .

When you get behind the wheel of a car , you accept responsibility for your passengers and implicitly accept the risk that you may be the victim or the cause of injuries and deaths .

As an ex-motorcyclist I have noticed the deterioration in car control skills and road sense and increase in aggressive behaviour like tailgating as car handling , braking and safety have improved .

mombers said...

@Streibs, I know, suicide is a huge and dreadful problem. Leading cause of death for men under age FORTY NINE!

Lola said...

So, we are agreed. Khan is grandstanding?

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, when is he ever not grandstanding?

Mike W said...



Yes. Khan seems to be the worst (because he still has greater ambition?). Burnham next. Rotherham not much at all.

All face knife and gun crime.

Striebs said...

There are not many cases of natural justice in the world but ....

The metropolitan set which lives in London absolutely deserve their self inflicted mayor Sadiq Khan !

No sympathy whatsoever .

Bayard said...

"Yeah well. They've just reinvented the railway with more flexibility".

Now there's an idea. There are hundreds of miles of disused railway lines in the UK.

"As an ex-motorcyclist I have noticed the deterioration in car control skills and road sense and increase in aggressive behaviour like tailgating as car handling , braking and safety have improved ."

Yup, the safest car on the road, from other road users' POV, is the old 2CV.