|Before and after images from google earth|
|A lot of cars don't even bother to slow down as they cross East to West across Pitfield Street, despite the give way markings|
Hackney Council recently responded to a freedom of information request on road traffic collisions in the borough and the data provided confirms The Times report about this being the most dangerous junction for people cycling in Hackney. In the three year period from the beginning of 2012 (nearly a year after the roundabout was removed) to the end of 2014 there were 14 casualties for cyclists at this junction, the highest amount by quite some distance, more than double the amount of cycling casualties than any other junction in the borough. It was also the fourth most dangerous junction in the entire borough for collisions of all types.
I've also had a look through the details of the cycling casualties occurring at this junction since the new layout and they tell a similar story, here are a sample of them:
- 04/07/2012 10:53 - Car and Cycle. V1 FAILED TO GIVEWAY AND CROSSED PEDAL CYCLIST V2'S PATH. Casualty Reference: Male, 34
- 06/07/2012 08:00 - Van or goods <3.5 tonnes and cycle. V1 FAILED TO GIVEWAY AND HIT PEDAL CYCLIST V2. Casualty Reference: Female, 30
- 23/07/2012 18:20 - Motorcycle and cycle. MOTORCYCLIST V2 FAILED TO GIVEWAY AND HIT PEDAL CYCLIST. Casualty Reference: Male, 30
- 16/07/2013 11:00 - Cycle and car. V2 MOVED ACROSS JUNCTION AND COLLIDED WITH V1. Casualty Reference: Male, 25
- 29/01/2014 16:15 - Car and cycle. V1 NOT LOOKING PROPERLY PULLED AWAY AND COLLIDED WITH V2. Casualty Reference: Female, 24
- 26/03/2014 06:36 - Car and cycle. V1 FAILED TO GIVEWAY AND COLLIDED WITH V2. Casualty Reference: Female, 29
- 08/05/2014 08:00 - Car and cycle. V1 MOVED OFF AT JUNCTION ACROSS PASSING V2'S PATH. Casualty Reference: Male, 24
- 08/05/2014 13:30 - Van or goods <3.5 tonnes and cycle. V1 FAILED TO GIVEWAY AND CROSSED JUNCTION COLLIDING WITH V2. Casualty Reference: Female, 28
- 15/05/2014 07:54 - Car and cycle. V1 MOVED OF AT JUNCTION ACROSS PATH OF V2 CAUSING COLLISION. Casualty Reference: Male, 48
The chair of the Hackney Cycling Campaign at the time of these changes, Trevor Parsons, responded to criticism of this scheme in a local councillors blog defending this scheme, although with some odd comments about a bakery and a pub previously being at this location. Several local residents and users of this junction responded that in their opinion this scheme did not make conditions safer at all.
|The same junction in Victorian times when it wasn't even a crossroads. It had a pub, a post office and a bakery but, more importantly for road safety, no white vans racing through at high speed.|
Here is what Vincent Stops had to say about these changes in his blog
In Hackney we think about cycle journeys, not cycle routes.The changes at Britannia Roundabout on Pitfield Street demonstrates the philosophy better than most. It's a scheme that was 100% driven by the Hackney Cyclists group, but 95% of the benefits accrue to the local residents and pedestrians in terms of a better street environment.
One thing that struck me during my trip to the Netherlands last year were how much of a joy it was to use roundabouts. I almost always had priority so no slowing down taking me out of my stride and I always felt safe using them. I was often surprised when using the google maps street view feature to look at junctions I had cycled on to find that many of the roundabouts I had used had recently been built to replace a crossroads.
detailed in this post from Paul James and his version of what a Dutch style British roundabout could look like would have been a much better design for Pitfield Street
Dedicated cycle tracks with priority for pedestrians and cyclists across all of the arms of the roundabout at all times, with single exit and entrance for vehicles on each arm as well. This would have been a much safer design for this junction, particularly as both roads are cycle routes and one of them a "cycle superhighway". We could have even kept the sculpture in the middle of the roundabout!
Proposals in some of the draft vision for Hackney documents and some of the "ward asks" from the Hackney Cycling Campaign in 2014 are for roundabouts to be replaced by crossroads and turning the Lea Bridge Roundabout into a signalled crossroads may well be a big improvement, as long as it has protected space for cycling. However in other areas it may well be more beneficial to either keep a redesigned roundabout in place or even convert some crossroads into roundabouts, based on classic Dutch roundabout design, to increase safety for people walking and cycling whilst also improving public realm. One thing the Hackney cycling campaign should never do again is campaign to spend over half a million pounds replacing a busy junction without ensuring safety for cyclists is a priority, especially if space is available for dedicated cycle tracks. Simply calling for roundabouts to be removed is not an adequate measure if the junction is to remain the most dangerous junction in the borough and in the top ten of the most dangerous junctions for people on bikes in the UK.