Road danger protest - 18th October 2023
A 36 year-old woman was killed on Whiston Road in a collision with a driver. The memorial at the scene includes flowers and cards from the woman’s 4 year-old and 18 month old children.
Another collision between a driver and a cyclist on Kenworthy Road has resulted in the death of a young man, who suffered terrible injuries. The collision took place on 10 September and sadly he died of his injuries two days later. Just like on Whiston Road, the driver tried to drive away, but in this instance was prevented from doing so.
We need to ensure that no other family is ever ripped apart like this again on Whiston Road. We know how to make roads safer, and as Vision Zero makes clear, do not have to accept deaths and serious injuries on our streets.
Join the protest
We will be holding a protest ride on 18th October, meeting at Mabley Street at 5:30pm. Please join us.
Whiston Road – Background
It’s worth taking a moment to remember the recent history of Whiston Road.
In 2016, TfL allocated funds from its cycling budget for improvements on Whiston Road. At the time, we stressed that the changes were inadequate and a missed opportunity. These blogs from before the scheme and after implementation neatly explain the numerous shortcomings with the scheme. The redesign did see some small improvements for cycling – a low entry advance light, and some crossings that help to slow traffic. But that’s it. The improvement to driving was just as great if not greater – with new parking spaces on newly created roads, and a beautiful smooth tarmac. To allocate cycling funds on such a scheme was deeply inappropriate.
In contrast, a scheme installed in 2020 on Queensbridge Road shows what can be achieved when cycling funds are put to good use. The Queensbridge Road scheme (south of Whiston Road) is everything that Whiston Road could and should have been: protected cycling lanes, removed car parking, filtered side roads, a new toucan crossing, advanced release for cyclists going south into the filtered Livable Neighborhood in Tower Hamlets. The cycle lanes and pavements are well used – packed each morning and afternoon with school pupils, and busy at other times.
During 2020, Hackney worked with Tower Hamlets to design a scheme that would have created an LTN in the area of Pritchard’s Road and Whiston Road, and would have reduced the volume and speed of motor vehicles on Whiston Road. Tower Hamlets politics prevented that scheme from progressing. Had the scheme been implemented, the driver who killed the woman in September would not have been on Whiston Road at the time that they were killed. We know that LTNs reduce vehicle speeds, halve the number of collisions, and reduce the number of injuries and deaths.
While the collision is undoubtedly the responsibility of the cowardly driver who fled the scene, it is the responsibility of the council to design our roads so that serious injuries and deaths do not happen. It is our responsibility as the Hackney Cycling Campaign, and the responsibility of all residents, to scrutinise the council so that we all ensure that we never see another road user fatality on Whiston Road.
HCC Proposal for Whiston Road
Our proposal is to add a bus gate at the eastern arm of the Queensbridge Road and Whiston Road junction. Motor vehicles would be prohibited from entering Whiston Road at the junction, with an exemption for buses. Going westbound on Whiston Road, only left turns would be permitted (with buses permitted straight ahead). This would ensure that through traffic was removed from Pritchard’s Road and Whiston Road, as drivers would only enter Pritachard’s Road only if they had a destination within that area (ANPR cameras to monitor u-turns on Queensbridge Road would be required).
Perhaps Hackney Council has a better solution to Whiston Road, in which case we’re keen to hear it, and, and we look forward to them bringing forward a solution urgently.
Kenworthy Road – background
Kenworthy Road is a TfL controlled road. It leads to the A12, which seems to lead to drivers behaving as if they are still on a dual carriageway as they race from one end to the other.
Kenworthy Road has a zebra crossing right at the northern end and one on the southern end, and no other crossing – formal or informal – along the whole length. This is despite there being a school on the road. Kenworthy Road acts as a barrier in the community. At the end of the road is the slipway to the A12, which again, has no pedestrian crossing and completely severs one side of the road from the other.
On either side of Kenworthy Road are examples of what Hackney does well – LTNs that have low volumes of traffic, and low traffic speeds (as drivers are generally near home, not racing through). We have highlighted how Kenworthy Road is a barrier between these two LTNs, and how creating a gateway on Kenworthy Road would open up new safe and attractive routes from Victoria Park to Hackney Marshes. HCC have identified several such gateways in Hackney that would mostly require small changes such as providing safe crossings. They would have oversized benefits as they are on cycling (and often pedestrian) desirelines, and they would enable new long distance routes.
Kenworthy Road – proposed improvements
Local residents to Kenworthy Road have long requested improvements on Kenworthy Road, and have met TfL representatives to raise their concerns. Any change will now be too late for the victim, but must now be implemented with haste, including:
- If the road is not wide enough for a fully protected cycle lane, a toucan crossing should be installed along Kenworthy Road, either at Hassett Roador at Mabley Street, with the pavement widened to enable shared space on one side of the road for a short distance. The crossing would enable pedestrians to cross Kenworthy Road to the residential estates, bus stops, schools and health centre along the road, while ensuring that cyclists can make use of the Hassett Road – Mabley Street LTN routes to access Mabley Green, the Marshes and beyond. The existing crossings are not convenient as they require walking to either end of the road, before walking back up the road.
- The existing pedestrian crossings on both ends of Kenworthy Road should be raised, to slow down turning traffic and ensure greater pedestrian safety.
- Continuous pavements should be installed along each side road entrance to reduce the speed of turning traffic, and improve pedestrian safety.
- The ‘informal’ uncontrolled pedestrian crossing over the slip road onto the A12 must be improved, as this is currently a complete severance point for the community. A signalled pelican crossing needs to be installed, with the distance between kerbs to be narrowed, and the 40mph speed limit should begin further up the A12 ramp so that drivers do not speed up into a pedestrian crossing. By slowing vehicles turning into this lane, the changes would also help cyclists who cycle past this left turn.