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Campaigners demand action over London's "death mile"

April death of young woman latest in series of incidents

Transport for London (TfL) has been asked to act over a stretch of road in the capital dubbed by cycle campaigners the “death mile,” reports the Camden New Journal.

Cyclist Paula Jurek, 20, died on Camden Road in April and cycle campaigners are determined to ensure her death does not simply become another forgotten statistic. They are repeating calls for new safety measures to be introduced to reduce accidents at a place recognised by TfL themselves as one of Camden’s worst accident black spots.

Over the past three years ten cyclists have been involved in incidents in the area.
Local councillors have accused TfL of “dragging their feet” over the implementation of safety improvements and are working of a cross-party basis in a bid to force some action.

A petition, championed by Lib Dem Councillor Paul Braithwaite and Labour ward councillors Angela Mason and Phil Jones, accuses TfL of being more concerned about the free flow of buses rather than road safety.

The petition says: “More than three months on, TfL, who control this main road, show no signs of acting. Deplorably, TfL has never implemented the improved safety measures proposed as a result of the big consultation exercise in 2005. They appear more concerned for the speed of their buses than for public safety. The accident record on Camden Road is very poor.”

Paul Dean, a friend of Ms Jurek’s says he is disappointed at the lack of action taken since her death. He said: “Cycle safety does not feel like the priority that TfL and [Mayor of London] Mr [Boris] Johnson claim it is. I think the Camden Road situation is another example of both Mr Johnson and TfL failing to get things done and failing to follow up on their plans.”

Catherine Hays, chairwoman of the Camden Square Neighbourhood Association, also expressed her frustration at the failure to address longstanding safety concerns.

She said : “This has been an ongoing problem for as long as I’ve lived here, which is 15 years.

“We have done everything a good neighbourhood should do – we engaged in consultation, went on walkabouts. None of the recommendations have been implemented and in the meantime lives have been lost.”

A Transport for London spokesperson said:

“TfL is currently working towards making improvements to the junction of Camden Road and St Pancras Way, which will particularly benefit both cyclists and pedestrians. These will provide additional pedestrian crossing facilities and advanced stop lines for cyclists to gain an advantage in general traffic when stationery.

“The proposals are currently being discussed and progressed through TfL’s internal approval processes. If approved, TfL intends to begin working to deliver these improvements from autumn 2011.”

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