24 Nov 2015

A tale with one victim and many villains

On Thursday 19.11.15 the Coroner's Inquest was held of the killing of Abdelkhalak Lahyani at Elephant and Castle on 13.05.14 by Edwin Humphries, who was driving a 26-tonne lorry.

Abdelkhalak Lahyani Image by the family
Here are the facts that emerged at the inquest:

Humphries drives a large lorry from Telford to London (approx. 250km) arriving at his destination on the Walworth Rd at 14:15. After downloading, he has to wait one hour because schoolchildren near the site are coming out. [This incidentally is another example that a rush-hour lorry ban protects some people, but transfers the risk to others, if other measures are not also applied].

At approximately 16:00 Humphries drives up the Walworth Road, which has two lanes North, one of which is a bus lane. It has no cycle-specific infrastructure. The road then turns left, and 70 meters before the Elephant & Castle junction the lanes become three: the bus lane becomes a general lane for left turning traffic and the two other lanes have right turning arrows painted:

Humphries stays in the middle lane. After a further 40 metres, between the left and the middle lane, a cycle feeder lane is painted:

View looking back
The traffic light is red and for 1 minute and 20 seconds Humphries is stationary in the middle lane, front of the queue. In the left lane, a car and a van are also waiting; in between a moped blocks the exit of the feeder lane into the ASL.

At the Inquest, Humphries testifies that
a. he thought the left lane was still a bus lane
b. he had not noticed the feeder lane
c. he had not noticed the moped.

Humphries's SatNav tells him to go right but he decides to turn left, thinking it would be a less congested route. [Humphries had taken a 5 year break from driving HGVs and had just resumed 6 weeks earlier; this was his first trip in London in a long time]. Humphries does not remember when he made this decision.

Thirty seconds after Humphries stops at the lights, Lahyani reaches the area on his bicycle and then disappears from view of the four CCTVs. Layani works on the South Bank and he intends to go straight and right at the junction.

Although PC Smith, the investigator, has shown that the lorry's left indicators were on when the lights turned green, he did not mention whether they were on when he arrived at the junction. The Coroner did not pick up on this crucial point.

When the lights turned, the tragedy quickly unravelled: the moped sped away and turned left; behind it  Lahyani cycle straight; Humphries turned left; Lahyani was hit by the side of the lorry, fell under its left rear wheel and suffered fatal injuries.

The villains

Transport for London - This junction had been redesigned in 2010, with no consideration for cycling safety. A feeder lane in the middle of a three-lane arterial road, with bus traffic moving left to right and substantial HGV traffic moving right to left is a recipe for disaster. It only takes a small error by a driver of a large vehicle to end the life of an innocent person. The laziness of TfL is further evidenced by the cycle lane on the left of the carriageway, visible from this aerial shot of the protest organised by Stop Killing Cyclists.

The green strip on the pavement at bottom right, is meant for left turning cyclists. It suddenly stops, with no indication of where to go and where to rejoin the road. Scandalous.
After Lahyani's killing, SKC used chalk to show a possible solution to keep people on bikes safe: a cycle track on the wide expanse of pavement both for left turning cyclists and for those intending to go straight (with the track splitting at the top of the picture, one arm safely rejoining the carriageway, the other crossing the street, adjacent to the pedestrian crossing). A year and a half after the killing, TfL has not modified the junction. People are forced to ride in the same environment that killed Lahyani.

Boris Johnson - The Mayor infamously stated "If you keep your wits about you, Elephant & Castle is perfectly negotiable." The killing of Lahyani can be strictly linked to this statement.  Boris Johnson did not intend to kill Lahyani, but by mandating the prioritising of "smoothing traffic flow" over the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, he is most responsible for his death (and that of many others). Some may want to give credit to Johnson for delivering a few kilometres of good quality infrastructure in his last year on the job; they forget the victims of his crass policies: we should honour the five victims who had to die on his blue paint, before his belated conversion, rather than praising him.

The Metropolitan Police - Some Collision Investigator Officers are thorough and we have praised them in the past. In this case, PC Smith has shown to be woefully inadequate. At the inquest he went out of his way to blame Lahyani for riding his bicycle where TfL had asked him to. He stressed that CCTVs did not show the exact position of Lahyani during the 50 seconds when everyone was waiting for the green light. When I challenged him outside of court, asking him why didn't he explain the most likely series of events, Smith said: "He could have been anywhere, even on the pavement", an impossible scenario. However his most damning failing has been not to draw the attention of the court to the clear contribution that the road layout had to the killing. We are going to report him to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (Yes we know, another total ineffectual body). The testimony by PC Smith was so bad that the only conclusion that one can take is that this was a stitch-up between the Metropolitan Police and its paymaster, Transport for London, who clearly have no intention of redesigning the junction.

Coroner Ballard - In spite of clear evidence that Lahyani had done nothing wrong and that he ended up being in an extremely vulnerable  position because of inadequate and unsafe provisions, the Coroner did not contemplate issuing a Prevention of Future Death report. This is dereliction of duty:

Paragraph 7 of Schedule 5, Coroners and Justice Act 2009, provides coroners with the duty to make reports to a person, organisation, local authority or government department or agency where the coroner believes that action should be taken to prevent future deaths.

The barrister representing the family at the Inquest - Shamefully unwilling to challenge the Police testimony, the barrister responded to my questions of why she hadn't, by saying, "That is not what Inquests are for". Another highly paid professional who doesn't know the law and her job.


Lahyani has been killed and no lessons have been learned. The people who caused his death, the driver, Boris Johnson, Transport for London have made errors of varying severity. Not only they have not been punished, but these errors have not been formally recognised and therefore are not going to be corrected. The Metropolitan Police, the Coroner and the barrister are therefore responsible for the future injuries and fatalities which sadly are inevitably going to happen at this junction.

The incompetence and impunity of these villains are the reason of the intolerable number of people killed while walking and cycling in London.

23 Sep 2015

How the Motoring Grid would have saved Dennis Carbon

Dennis Carbon was killed by a lorry driver on Lisson Grove earlier this month.

Photo courtesy of Evening Standard

At a vigil organised by Living Street, Dennis' cousin, Christina Daniel described how the junction where he was killed is extremely dangerous, especially for the hundreds of elderly residents of the Lisson Green estate who want to reach the Church Street market.

Christina Daniel, with red flowers, remembers her cousin. Photo by Brenda Puech
Indeed during the 30 minutes of the vigil, we witnessed inappropriate speeds, hostility by drivers and elderly pedestrians unable to cross on time. A few days earlier, Christina says, "“I stopped to drop off flowers at the site with my daughter and a car almost knocked down an elderly woman right there – we were so shocked!”

Where it happened: Lisson Grove is a dangerous barrier between where many elderly people live and where they shop.

In spite of Section 39 of Road Traffic Act, it is unlikely that Westminster Council will study this collision and draw lessons from it. And yet just 30 minutes allow us to understand the key factors that make tragedies like the killing of Dennis inevitable:

  1. Inappropriate speed - Westminster is the only Borough refusing to lower the speed limit from the present 50kph.
  2. Insufficient time to cross - After six seconds, the green man disappears, leaving pedestrians anxiously guessing whether there is time to finish crossing.
  3. Inappropriate amount of motor traffic - Lisson Grove is used as a rat run by residents of St. John's Wood, South and West Hampstead.

Let's look at each of the three points from a Vision Zero point of view.

30 kph - We all know that slower speeds mean more reaction time and less devastating impact. There is also an important psychological element: if you are driving, 30kph feels slow. If you need to keep your speed much slower than you think you are able to do, your outlook changes: you no longer get frustrated by a few seconds "wasted" to let a pedestrian cross or driving behind a child riding his bike to school; you stop seeing the car as a vehicle to make you go fast (unless there are other cars in the way). A 30kph street has much more considerate drivers.

6 sec. green man - When you challenge TfL that 6 seconds is too short, their stock answer is "It complies with DfT regs". Besides being an asinine response, it belies the mindset of traffic engineers, which is that the system is safe, as long as you follow the rules, no matter how inconsiderate they are. The reality is that when rules are inconsiderate, people don't follow them. Here is the crossing at Lisson Grove:

The green man is probably vanishing now. What should the couple do? Wait in the middle of the island for another 40 seconds, with fast lorries and buses speeding either side of you, or risk it and finish the crossing? What if there were no vehicles stationary at the lights? According to witness reports Dennis Carbon, who was walking with a stick due to a stroke, started crossing with the green man and somehow was run over by a driver who thought he had priority.

Rat run - In the Netherlands, Lisson Grove would not have the level of motor traffic it has. The reason is simple: it is not an arterial road, so it should not be used by through traffic. In reality it is used by residents of other neighbourhoods who instead should be using two perfectly adequate arterial roads, the A5 Edgware Road and the A4 Finchley Road.

The red route (West End Lane, Abbey Road, Lisson Grove) needs to be filtered so that it stops being a rat run. Through traffic is to be limited to the purple roads.
The principle of the Motoring Grid is that cells cannot be crossed by through traffic. It is an essential part of Vision Zero because it removes danger from most of the roads. The Motoring Grid also re-educates drivers in these concepts:
  • not all roads are available when going from A to B,
  • most short journeys are easier by bike
  • when one drives away from an arterial route, one is a guest of that neighbourhood, and as a guest, one should respect local residents, especially the elderly

If the Motoring Grid had been in place, would have the driver who killed Dennis Carbon be driving on Lisson Grove?

7 Sep 2015

What would Vision Zero Britain look like?

In occasion of the forthcoming Vision Zero UK conference in January 2016, we have the pleasure to publish this article by Prof. John Whitelegg, one of the world's leading experts in sustainable mobility and author of the just published book, Mobility

Vision Zero
John Whitelegg
Stockholm Environment Institute
University of York

"Road traffic crashes are predictable and therefore preventable … the time to act is now. Road users everywhere deserve better and safer road travel"
World Health Organisation (2004) World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, page 164

In the calendar year 2014 two elderly pedestrians were killed on the A49 road in the vicinity of the small town of Church Stretton, Shropshire (population 4,700).  These deaths had a large impact on this small town, affecting many people and extending well beyond the boundaries of close family and friends.  Both of those killed were well known and both were physically active and going about their normal everyday tasks.  The WHO conclusion quoted above is clear and accurate. It is glaringly obvious that local residents in this quiet corner of Shropshire require a much stronger and deeper approach to road safety than is currently on offer.  This would come under several names e.g. a total system approach or a fundamental redesign approach or what is known in Sweden as Vision Zero.
Whatever name is used the principles are clear:

  • Death and injuries in the road traffic environment are predictable and preventable and a total approach to all the variables that contribute to death and injury must be redesigned to get the numbers down to the lowest possible level.
  • The design principles are based on physical and kinetic energy and require that mass and velocity are controlled to minimise or eliminate death and serious injury in crashes. At the core of the Vision Zero is the biomechanical tolerance of human beings. Vision Zero promotes a road system where crash energy cannot exceed human tolerance.
  • Current approaches to road safety are inadequate.  There is no learning mechanism linked to redesign and funding to produce a total design that eliminates death and injury.  When a fatality occurs on the UK road system very little happens to learn from that incident and apply the new knowledge to making sure that the probability of similar incidents in the future is significantly reduced.
  • Death and injury in road crashes are a public health problem and not a problem that falls exclusively within traffic planning and traffic engineering specialist areas.  Public health embraces important issues around measures and interventions at a population level that are  intended to change attitudes and behaviour and an understanding of “denominator issues” and a deep understanding  of looking at the total “burden of disease” and DALYS (disability Adjusted  Life Years”

All of these principles are part of the Swedish “Vision Zero” road safety policy.
The denominator issue
In Hillman, Adams and Whitelegg (1990) the authors present and analyse data to show that the numbers of children making independent journeys to school had reduced from about 80% in 1970 to 8% in 1990.  The numbers of people exposed to risk had gone down and this reduction in the bottom line of the fraction (the denominator) had played a significant part in reducing death and injury.  Official statements in the UK often proclaim the success of road safety measures because numbers killed and seriously injured have gone down.  If the denominator shrinks then the KSI number goes down as a result of people abandoning the street e.g. not walking to school and it has nothing to with road safety measures.
A key principle in Vision Zero is to reduce road traffic danger and risk so that the denominator goes up (more people use streets) and KSI numbers go down.

Vision Zero

In October 1997 the Swedish Parliament adopted its “Vision Zero” road safety policy.  This policy sets a target of zero deaths and zero serious injuries in the road traffic environment and puts the responsibility for achieving this goal on all those responsible for the total road safety system.  This means that the detailed design of the road, the vehicle and driving behaviour must be tackled as a “total system” so that “a mistake in the road traffic environment does not carry the death penalty”.  The Swedish approach is an ethical and civilised response to the unacceptability of death and serious injury on the roads.
Vision Zero sets a clear ethical tone to the road safety policy discussion.  We do not have to accept death and injury as inevitable even if the number is lower than it could be.  We do not have to think of the victim as in some way responsible e.g. he/she should not have been walking along the road or should have been wearing a high-visibility jacket.  We do have to think about the ability of the human frame to absorb kinetic energy and adjust speeds accordingly.  We can and should have a total 20mph speed limit on every residential road and on all A roads a couple of miles either side of a small town or village (like the A49 in Church Stretton).  We can and should change the culture of driving so that high speeds become as unacceptable as drink driving.  We can and should enforce the speed limits but as much by cultural change and social marketing as by traditional policing. We can and should retro-fit generous bike paths and pedestrian paths on existing roads as well as make them mandatory when governments start talking about £15 billion on new roads.  

What would Vision Zero Britain look like?
The key policy interventions include:

  • Speed control (20mph in all urban areas and on all roads when those roads approach or leave towns and villages)
  • Blood alcohol limit set at the Swedish level (0.02%).  England and Wales is currently 0.08%
  • A zero tolerance policy for drug taking and driving
  • Accident investigation agency modelled on the Swedish experience and independent of the police
  • Law reform to deal with citizen concern about severe outcomes being dealt with “leniently” and a judicial system  that respects those affected by death and  injury and learns lessons from individual incidents and makes recommendations for changing those aspects  of total design that are not working as well as they should
  • Road traffic reduction
  • Urban design to deliver clear road traffic danger reduction danger reduction for vulnerable users

The key message in Vision Zero is that all these things must be done in ways that every measure and intervention supports every other measure and intervention.  It is important to harvest the power of synergy where everything works in the same direction and where an overall ethical, zero tolerance approach takes root in every part of the system.
The two pedestrian deaths in the vicinity of Church Stretton have resulted in no action whatsoever to deal with speed limits, pedestrian crossing facilities or pedestrian pavements.  There is no learning mechanism.   Vision Zero means that the deaths would be investigated in detail and steps taken to make sure the factors that gave rise to the deaths are dealt with.


Sweden’s Vision Zero policy has been in place for 18 years and has had a transformational effect on the way road traffic danger and total design is tackled.  It energises every component of the system and stimulates a year-on-year improvement in the ways the total system operates.

Swedish fatalities in 2011 (the latest statistics available from the European Commission) were 29 per 10 billion passenger kms, the lowest in the EU.  The EU-27 average is 61 fatalities on the same measure.  All death and injury statistics have to be treated with great caution because of the denominator problem discussed above but the EU statistics are still relevant to a policy discussion.

The Vision Zero debate is at its core very simple.  It is about choice and what kind of future we want.  We can have a future based on the idea that “accidents happen” and we accept that the way we move around will inevitably kill and injure people.  Alternatively we can have a future based on the idea that we will transform the total road traffic environment to get as close as possible to zero deaths as possible. Vision Zero is the embodiment of the ethical alternative.  We can do far more to eliminate death and injury on the roads.  If fatalities are predictable and preventable as the World Health Organisation maintains why we would not set out to eliminate this scourge?

P.S. You can read John's 2006 report on Vision Zero here 

27 Jul 2015

Has Boris Johnson finally admitted that the Clerkenwell Boulevard needs to be filtered?

At a recent mayoral Q&A, assembly member Darren Johnson asked the mayor:

Clerkenwell Boulevard
Question No: 2015/2071
Darren Johnson
What action are you and Transport for London taking to help finish the Clerkenwell Boulevard? Do you agree that it is a scandalous waste that a cycle path started 10 years ago on a stretch of Clerkenwell Road, close to the junction with Farringdon Road, has been left unfinished, whilst the number of cyclists using this route has doubled?
Written answer from the Mayor
The section of Clerkenwell Road, which will form part of the Central London Grid, is a borough road under the responsibility of the London Borough of Islington. This scheme will be delivered by 2016. The junction will be modified and the intention is that the footway on the north side of the bridge over the railway will be cut back to provide cycling facilities in each direction. Clerkenwell Road will also be bought up to Quietway standards, with kerb realignments and protected cycle lanes in both directions.

Old Street/Clerkenwell Road/Theobald's Road is a key element of the Central London Cycling Grid. It carries thousands of cyclists everyday (on some sections bikes represent more than 60% of all rush hour vehicles) and it has no direct alternative.

At the moment it shows the contempt that most council officers and counsellors have for people riding bicycles:
  • No protection whatsoever. 
  • Dangerous pinch points. 
  • Pollution at illegal levels. 
  • No investigation of fatal crashes. 
  • No enforcement of 20 miles per hour. 
  • Lack of communication between Council, with the only stretch of protected Lane (3 metres!) been bricked over because of lack of continuation. 
  • Vision Zero London banned by both Camden and Islington Council for pointing out their criminal behaviour. 

Anyone who spends half an hour in the morning or evening rush hour cannot feel bewilderment on how so many people can be treated so poorly. Anyone whose responsibility is to manage the roads cannot have spent half an hour here, otherwise she or he would have said "we need to do something urgently".

Does Claudia Webbe know that this happens every morning and evening?

Since Vision Zero London has started its campaign for the Clerkenwell Boulevard, several people have been killed or severely injured on this stretch of road but no sense of urgency has arisen among officers or counsellors.

One key element of our campaign has been the ban of through traffic on the Boulevard. The narrowness of the road and the illegal pollution levels require filtering the Boulevard so that only bicycles, buses and local access traffic are allowed. This is what the Boulevard should look like:

If the Dutch can do this, why can't the Brits?

Camden Council are considering filtering in the context of their review of the Holborn Gyratory, but are moving at glacial pace. Islington has refused to consider filtering Clerkenwell Road and Old Street. Even Sukky Choongh-Campbell, the person in charge of air quality in Islington, has voiced against the only measure that would effectively reduce pollution to legal levels.

So we come to the Mayor's answer. "Clerkenwell Road will be brought to QuietWay standards." Now, even a bullshitter like Boris Johnson can claim that Clerkenwell Road is a quiet way. At the moment it is an Arterial Road. The only way to bring it to QuietWay standards is to filter it so that it is not used by through traffic.

We have often pointed out that Islington council have a golden opportunity to put in place a temporary filter during the forthcoming work on the Old Street roundabout, to study the effect on air quality, traffic evaporation, etc. If the experiment is successful, it can then be made permanent.

Andrew Gilligan has repeatedly said that he would not pay for crap. Given his boss promise that Clerkenwell Road will be a QuietWay, will he reject Islington Council proposals which do not include filtering? He certainly cannot possibly accept proposals that keep the same level of motor traffic and apply the insignificant interventions that are currently applied to so called QuietWays. That would be a mockery of the Mayor's Cycling Vision and the Central London Cycling Grid would be laughed at by the whole world as another British Botch Job.

17 Jul 2015

Taking advantage of the dead

Most British people are like Romanian orphans, traumatised by a hostile, intolerant environment, permanently scarred by daily traffic violence, unable to vision a humane world where people are respected.

Take Coroner Mary Hassell, who describes herself a "cyclist", and yet, at the inquest of Federica Baldassa, killed by a lorry driver at Holborn, commented:

"It only takes a moment’s lapse of concentration and I think that’s what happened here". Yes, she means Federica's lapse.

Ms. Hassell, Federica was not Dean Potter, she did not choose to put her life at risk in an activity where a moment's lack of concentration means you are killed. Federica just wanted to go home on a bicycle, the most natural way to get around a city.

The reason she was killed is that Camden Council and Transport for London are dragging their feet in redesigning this hellish gyratory which has claimed the life of five people in the past few years.

No civilised city should force its citizens to cycle here, slaloming between gridlocked traffic:

Here is the view from the other side:

Federica was riding  where the woman in the red jacket was. in front of her a lorry was where the grey car was. 

Notice how the bus stop is so close to the junction. This picture shows it better:

This creates a very dangerous situation for anyone crossing the street (notice: no zebras, and this being the UK, forget about respect for Rule 170 of the Highway Code, giving priority to pedestrians crossing a street), because left turning vehicles have impaired vision until the last minute. Indeed if you spend a few minutes here, you will witness several near misses. But the Coroner, under advice from the Police and TfL, decided that it would be impractical to move the bus stop back. Impractical because there are too many buses on this road. Too many buses, because most people are scared of cycling or do not want to be treated as third class citizens and have to slalom between lethal machines. But Londoners don't understand the simple logic that to reduce congestion you need to reallocate road space to people on bicycles, so that fewer people will feel the need to catch a bus or a taxi. Like Romanian orphans their mental capacity has been impaired and they have become asocial and imbeciles.

The lorry in front of Federica was indicating left, but notice that it would have just passed an arrow painted on the ground pointing "straight only". It is probable that Federica thought that the lorry was going to turn left at the traffic lights, 30 metres ahead. As many other women, she would have felt uncomfortable in riding in the middle of the road, and once passed the bus, she rejoined the left lane. Alas, the driver's intention was to make a sharp left and she was run over and killed instantly.

Federica was unable to attend the hearing, so we will never know what she was thinking. However, at least out of respect to her human dignity, one should assume that she was acting in a reasonable, careful manner. To blame her for a lapse of concentration, when she cannot vouch for herself, is cowardice of the highest sort.

So Federica becomes just an other statistic, another small price to pay for running a bloated bus service, and for managing roads for the benefit of motorists and not for ordinary citizens.

Last year, Camden Council blacklisted us for suggesting that this stretch of road needs urgent work to keep people safe. The Camden Cycling Campaign, another set of zombies, supported Camden Council in their lethargic approach. When Hassell issued a Prevention of Future Death report, following the killing of Francis Golding, 30 metres ahead, Camden Council ignored it. It is Contempt of Court, but British Justice doesn't pursue the institutional killers.

#NastyBritain has been very successful in brainwashing the population that the convenience of motorists comes before the safety and enjoyment of everyone.

We repeat our appeal to young Europeans, fooled by a mirage of false opportunities: London is a Third World city, run by idiots and charlatans; the Brits will kill you and then blame you. Find your future elsewhere.

13 Jul 2015

How Islington Council spent half of £million in cycling money, without doing anything on the ground

In July 2014, Islington Council accepted £2,000,000 from Transport for London for three sections of the Central London Cycling Grid.

Instead of saying thank you, getting down to work, produce some good schemes and then apply for more funding, Councillor Webbe, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, has spent the last year complaining that TfL is not giving her enough money and her officers have managed to spend a quarter of the money and produced nichts, nada, rien.

The Greek Government sure has competition in wasting money given to them in good faith and then blaming others.

Here is the breakdown on how £598,464 has been wasted, achieving nothing and making consultants rich:

Here is what they have achieved:

CLCG Route 1 Clerkenwell Road/Old Street [The most cycled route in the Borough] - After paying £95,503 for some decent proposals by Project Centre, Council officers seem reluctant to go ahead, afraid to deviate from Usual British Botch Standards (UBBS) - see more below.

CLCG Route 2 - Bath Street/Bunhill Row/Chiswell St/Finsbury Square - The first half had already received  its UBBS treatment, with dangerous contraflows, un-negotiable junctions, etc. To make this an appealing North South route, the Bath Street junction with City Road needs to be fixed; apparently TfL is going to do this, so Islington need not worry about the most difficult challenge. Chiswell Street is a nightmare and needs to be filtered, but Islington has no intention to do this; nevertheless they managed to spend £129,403 on absolutely nothing: if they have developed designs, they have not shown them to anyone.

CLCG Route3 / QuietWay 2 - £208,820 spent on absolutely nothing. This was already a LCN+ route and Islington Council has refused to make any substantial improvements, like closing rat-runs

CLCG Route 4 - Vincent Terrace/Graham St/Central St/ Golden Lane/Banner St/ Leonard St - This is a fairly quiet route, which needs two quick interventions: a contraflow on Banner Street and sorting out the Leonard St/City Rd junction which is an insult to decency. Nothing done, except spending £69,909 on who knows what; nobody has seen any plans. Islington is additionally spending more money on consultants to produce a so called Master Plan for Central Street.

CLCG Route 5  St John Street - When Crossrail closed the bottom of St John Street for six months to through traffic, people realised what a beautiful public space it could be turned to. It was a perfect opportunity to study the feasibility of making the filtering permanent. But oh no, Islington does not do something so obvious; otherwise it wouldn't be able to waste money on modelling. Is that how they frittered away £38,698? To add insult to injury, when we suggested to keep St John civilised, back came the Great British Bullshit line: "the Council considers reopening St John Street after Crossrail have completed their works to be beneficial to all residents, businesses and visitors in the Farringdon area."

Please note that Route 2 and 4 run across Bunhill Ward, the constituency of Cllr Webbe, who is on record for "being too scared to cycle". So here we have the person in charge of Active Travel in the Council, who admits that things are terribly wrong but is unwilling to fix them.

The tragedy of this scandal is that people are dying because Islington Council are frittering our money instead of making our roads safe to walk and cycle. Take for instance the junctions of Clerkenwell Road with Goswell Road and with St. John Street. Rebecca Goosen was killed at the former and Harriet Tory was killed at the latter, both by left turning lorries. Section 39 of the Road traffic Act 1988 mandates the Council to make the junctions safe and prevent similar fatal collisions.

Islington Council has yet not done what the laws requires (in other words they are criminal). As a consequence of their misuse of public money and flaunting of the law, in December 2014, Victoria Lebrec was almost killed at the junction with St John Street, in exactly the same way Harriet Tory lost her life; Victoria was saved by the heroics of the London Air Ambulance.

Project Centre produced the following plans for the two junctions:

St John Street

Goswell Road

The brown bits are protection. The key new element are the protective islands at the corners. It is not clear why they are in black and not in brown, but if they were physical separators, they would prevent collisions like the one that cost Victoria her leg.

There is much to improve on the above design, but it is going in the right direction. Alas, Islington officers are refusing to contemplate this design; they are also refusing to install continuous cycle tracks, happy for 10 year olds to cycle around buses and stopped vans. In other words, they are proposing yet another Usual British Botch Job, which means more people getting killed or losing limbs and the majority of the population too scared to cycle.

So Claudia Webbe, isn't it time you stop taking selfies and wasting our money and actually start making walking and cycling in Islington safe for everyone, including yourself. That is what we are paying you for.

And Andrew Gilligan, shouldn't you be auditing how the Councils are spending our money?

Incidentally, a three-day immersive course at David Hembrow learning Dutch infrastructure costs €675. Why doesn't the Council send a couple of Officers for a month to the Netherlands and study how the Masters do it. It would cost max. £10,000 and then they could design everything in-house? Or maybe they prefer to receive kickbacks from the consultants?