Cycling in London carries risk, as spike in road deaths has shown PIC: Reuters
Cycling in London carries risk, as spike in road deaths has shown PIC: Reuters

The death of yet another cylist at a road junction in London has sparked calls for Boris Johnson to urgently rethink road safety - amid a spike in the number of fatalities.

The death of a man in his 60s at a junction in south London was the sixth cyclist fatality in only 14 days in the capital. Emergency crews battled in vain to save his life. It was the 14th cycling fatality of 2013.

News of the death came as a police survey revealed that more than half of all heavy goods vehicles drivers in London were driving over their prescribed hours, raising the risk of falling asleep at the wheel.

The London Cycling Campaign (LCC) told IBTimes UK that many people in London were put off cycling because of the dangers on the capital's roads.

Chief executive Ashog Sinha said that, although Johnson deserved praise for the progress he had made on cycle safety, more radical action was necessary.

"Nobody in our organisation has seen anything like this number of deaths in such a short space of time," Sinha said. "We cannot remember the like of it and it brings the issue into focus.

"Junctions are where most deaths occur but we are told there's a limit to what can be done because of traffic flow. It's long since overdue for that attitude to change.

"We appreciate that things take time but at least we can have a plan. That's why we are getting so many deaths. Boris needs to say he will do whatever it takes to make the roads safe for cyclists."

Sinha said that Transport for London, which is responsible for London's road network, has resisted calls for Continental-style safety measures.

Stretches of road such as the Cycle Super Highway extension (CS2) between Bow roundabout and Stratford in east London may have won praise for innovations such as segregated bicycle lanes and "floating" bus lanes but the majority of CS2 between the roundabout and Aldgate remains a major concern for cyclists.

"The problem is that when push comes to shove at places like Bow roundabout and at  junctions, we were told that some safety measures cannot happen because it would slow down traffic. We get this attitude all over London" Sinha said.

Johnson remained silent when IBTimes UK contacted City Hall for a response.

He did speak to the media after the fifth fatality last week. "Any death on London's roads is a tragedy and my thoughts are with the families and friends of the cyclists who have lost their lives," he said.

"In the past decade, the number of cyclists in the capital has almost trebled and it is absolutely vital that we continue to invest huge sums of money into improving cycling infrastructure and making it as safe as possible.

"More work is under way and, although changes cannot be made instantly, they are being done as quickly as possible. This is, and remains, an absolute priority for me, my team and TfL."

Calls have also been made for cyclists to obey the rules of the road by not taking chances at red lights and junctions. A survey found one in 10 cyclists jumped red lights.