Road safety top of the agenda in Waltham Forest

19 November 2018
Road safety officer handing out lights to cyclists
  • Speed limits reduced to prevent residents being seriously injured
  • Enforcement of parking on cycle lanes and pavements stepped up
  • Emergency services roadshow hosted in Walthamstow Town Square Gardens

Ahead of this week’s national Road Safety Week (19 to 25 November) Waltham Forest Council has been rolling out lower speed limits in the borough’s main roads and increasing parking enforcement patrols to prevent motorists parking on new cycle lanes and footpaths, in a bid to keep all road users safe.

Many of the borough’s residential roads already have a 20 mile per hour speed limit in place, but in recent months the council has been introducing the same cap on main roads. Waltham Forest Council supports Transport for London’s Vision Zero, a commitment to prevent deaths or serious injuries from road traffic collisions by reducing speed limits, redesigning roads and educating road users to travel more safely.

Recently Blackhorse Road, St James Street, South Grove, Selborne Road, Markhouse Road, Church Road, Forest Road and Chingford Road have all been given 20mph speed limits. By the end of the year Hoe Street, High Road Leyton, Ruckholt Road and part of Hainault Road will see their speed limit also reduced to 20mph, and Whipps Cross Road and Woodford New Road will reduced from 40mph to 30mph.

By next spring the whole of Lea Bridge Road and Leytonstone High Road will also have transitioned to 20mph speed limits as well.

Councillor Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “It is vital that everyone takes responsibility for not only their own safety, but the safety of all road users, when travelling around because any injuries or deaths that occur on our roads is one too many.

“We have been working hard to improve the borough’s roads so that they are safe for everyone, especially the most vulnerable, pedestrians and cyclists. In recent years as well as installing new cycle lanes, we’ve also built more formal pedestrian road crossings, better junctions and reduced traffic on local roads to prevent motorists using what should be quiet residential roads as a cut through. We’re now enforcing against the abuse of this new infrastructure, as well as reducing speed limits on the borough’s main roads because we all know that if everyone travels slower then we all have more time to react to prevent a serious accident.”

In addition, following observations and growing concerns by residents that irresponsible motorists are illegally parking on newly built cycle lanes, the council has stepped up its parking enforcement patrol particularly on Lea Bridge Road, where cycle lanes are currently being constructed on both sides of the street. Vehicles parking in cycle lanes make it difficult for cyclists to use them and restricts the views of pedestrians trying to navigate the road.

In line with this year’s Bike Smart theme the council’s Road Safety Team gave away lights and reflective items to cyclists travelling on Ruckholt Road and Lea Bridge Road, which sees on average 800 cyclists a day heading in to Hackney, on Monday morning. They will be giving out more items at cycling hotspots throughout the week, as well as running a competition with school children to design a cycle safety poster for use in the borough.

On Wednesday 21 November the team and representatives from the emergency services will be holding a Road Safety Roadshow in Walthamstow Town Square Gardens between 10am to 2pm. Visitors will be able to see how emergency services respond to road traffic collisions, get a better understanding of lorry drivers’ blind spots by getting inside a cab, and find out more about the road improvements that have been introduced across the borough in recent years.