In light of the recent tragic death of paediatrician Dr Marta Krawiec who was killed in a horrific collision with a left turning lorry at the deadly Holborn gyratory whilst cycling to work, it feels appropriate to reflect on road traffic danger in Islington. In the current debate about People Friendly Streets we often seem to forget about those who have tragically lost their lives too early or have been on the receiving end of life changing injuries. According to Islington’s transport strategy, in 2019 there were 111 killed or seriously injured on our roads in Islington. That’s roughly over 100 families who will be severely impacted each year due to the design of our roads prioritising motor cars over people, not to mention the additional avoidable strain placed on our emergency services.
Dr Marta Krawiec is the seventh person to have been killed at the Holborn gyratory, which could have been avoided had plans promised by TFL and Camden Council in 2019 been carried out. This should serve as a warning to Islington Council and TFL that it’s imperative that they roll out protected cycle tracks and safe junctions across Islington. It’s particularly frustrating that the notorious Clerkenwell Road/Old Street route has not been made safe despite promises made by Islington council over many years. This is a route where in recent years three women, Victoria Lebrec, Julie Dinsdale and Sarah Doone have each lost a leg in lorry crashes. There are also several junctions included in TFL’s Safer Junctions programme that are still waiting to be completed.
On a positive note, a new study has found that road injuries have halved in in low-traffic neighbourhoods installed during the coronavirus pandemic when compared against areas without the schemes. With Islington council leading the country in rolling out their People Friendly Streets, and assuming the programme is rolled out successfully across the borough, the misery caused by road danger will significantly reduce. This would be a huge step forward. In addition, we will need TFL and Islington Council to work together to ensure all junctions are safe for pedestrians and cyclists and that protected bike lanes are rolled out on all main roads. If that happens then we will be a long way towards the council’s transport strategy goal to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries on Islington streets. That really would be a truly fitting way to honour those lives who have been wrecked by our dangerous roads.
Published in Islington Gazette on 18 August 2021