Haringey Living Streets: “We can and must slow down cars”

Louise Wass at community campaign group Haringey Living Streets argues for urgent action to reduce road collisions

According to a recent article in the Economist, half of Britain’s most dangerous roads run through the capital. Of particular concern for Haringey residents is the reference to the A1010, a road which stretches from Tottenham to Waltham Cross
and which sees the most collisions per vehicle miles driven of any road in the country.

Further, according to 2021 collision data collected by TfL, there were 100 deaths and serious injuries on Haringey’s roads. 30 of these were pedestrians and 22 were cyclists. Figures for the first half of 2022 are also distressing, showing 56 deaths
and serious injuries, of which 22 were pedestrians and 18 cyclists. Each of these incidents has devastating impacts for victims and their families.

Why as a society have we normalised this harm? Urgent action is required to address this issue. Vision Zero is a London-wide initiative aimed at eliminating road casualties (deaths and serious injuries) by 2041. Haringey Living Streets is a branch of the national charity Living Streets, for every day walking. The group is responsible for campaigning for the UK’s first zebra crossings and speed limits.

At Haringey Living Streets, we recently met to launch our Vision Zero campaign, hearing from leading campaigners on road danger. We heard how Helsinki has achieved a huge reduction in road casualties (from 30–40 deaths annually to zero in 2019) by designing safer streets.

Victoria LeBrec, herself seriously injured in a road collision, spoke about how vulnerable victims are following such incidents, many of which are under-investigated by the police. Andy Cox, chief superintendent for Road Danger, also
spoke to the audience about the unacceptability of the scale of accidents and severity of the harm caused on our roads.

There is strong evidence that reducing speeds can reduce fatalities and serious injuries on the roads. TfL has now reduced the speed limit on roads they control to 20mph, including Seven Sisters Road. Haringey, alongside other inner London boroughs, has also now committed to a blanket 20mph speed limit on all their roads; this is a key tool in reducing fatalities, particularly for people biking, wheeling and walking.

We can and must slow down cars, build segregated junctions and corridors for pedestrians and cyclists. We must also adjust pedestrian crossing and response times to prioritise walkers and protect them from harm. Haringey Council has a
dedicated budget for Vision Zero. We need to ensure every intervention actually reduces danger and saves lives. Plans and implementations must focus on the borough’s most dangerous junctions and roads, taking in feedback and local knowledge from residents.

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