Traffic blitz in London aims to achieve ‘a vision of zero collisions’

Constable D'Arcy Bruce of the London Police Service at the intersection of Oxford and Richmond streets in London, September 12, 2019. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

In an effort to make London’s roads safer, police will be targeting pedestrian and cyclist behaviour at intersections as part of a yearly initiative.

Beginning on Monday, the City of London, in partnership with the London Middlesex Road Safety Committee, is launching its Vision Zero campaign, which reinforces the importance of making eye contact and scanning intersections to make the roadways safer.  The initiative is part of the city’s road safety strategy, which aimed to reduce collisions that result in injuries and fatalities between 2014 and 2019.

“We’ve been exceeding the targets we set out [to meet] for collision reduction back in 2014, and we want to continue to do better,” said Doug MacRae, the city’s director of roads and transportation. “We’ve been very proactive in road safety. We were one of the first road jurisdictions in the country to have a holistic road safety strategy… We take a holistic approach to road safety that involves the three Es — engineering, education and enforcement.”

However, over the last five years, 371 pedestrians and 193 cyclists have been involved in collisions have been recorded at or near signal intersections in London. Of those, 75 per cent of the pedestrian collisions and 38 per cent of the cyclist collisions involved left or right-turning vehicles.

“The Vision Zero goal is all about a vision of zero collisions. So one collision is too many,” said MacRae. “It requires all of us to be a part of the solution.”

London police Constable D’Arcy Bruce said officers will be on the roads between September 16 to September 20 looking for common infractions at intersections relating to cyclists and pedestrians. He said when taking the time to scan the intersection, road users can pick up on oncoming traffic, intersecting bike lanes, nearby transit stops, pedestrian crossovers and signals identifying turn movements.

“The motorists need to be very well aware of their blind spots, they need to be aware that they share the roadway with cyclists and the cyclists have a right to be on the road,” he said

Bruce added that cyclist and pedestrians have responsibilities on the road as well.

“They need to be safe themselves. They need to have the proper equipment with horns and lights. They need to try to be seen, whether it’s eye contact or hand signals,” he said. “With pedestrians, they have the responsibility to obey the walking lights at crosswalks, they need to cross within the intersections. And for their own safety, they need to be aware [of traffic] as well.”

Vision Zero was officially adopted by the City of London in 2017.