Make Old Street safer now, urges councillor after crash leaves cyclist fighting for life

The scene of the crash at Old Street roundabout. Picture: Jon Grant

The scene of the crash at Old Street roundabout. Picture: Jon Grant - Credit: Archant

Transport bosses have been urged to stop dragging their heels over modernising Old Street roundabout after a cement truck crash left a cyclist fighting for her life.

TfL held a public consultation on proposals for Old Street between November 2014 and January 2015, which informed its decision to rip up the existing roundabout and improve facilities for cyclists.

But the main construction work on the roundabout still isn’t predicted to start until 2019, leading to calls for the busy gyratory to be made safer for cyclists and pedestrians in the immediate term.

Seven cyclists and pedestrians were seriously injured in crashes on the roundabout between 2010 and 2017.

Green Party London Assembly member and Islington councillor Caroline Russell told the Gazette: “It’s worrying it’s taking so long to sort out Old Street. TfL knows how to risk assess roadworks and put in temporary traffic management to make things safe.

“If the mayor is serious about his Vision Zero and healthy streets policies he should instruct TfL to invest now in temporary safety measures to design out the risk to people cycling and walking through Old Street.”

Her intervention comes a week after the cyclist, in her 30s, was critically injured in Thursday’s collision. Emergency services were called to the scene at 3.30pm and she was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries. Police say her condition has since improved and she is now “serious but stable”.

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No one was arrested over the crash but the truck driver was “helping police” with enquiries.

Nick Fairholme, TfL’s director of project and programme delivery, said: “Our thoughts are with the friends and family of the cyclist who was seriously injured on Old Street roundabout. We are assisting the police as they investigate the circumstances and working closely with Islington and Hackney councils on our joint plans to transform Old Street roundabout as quickly as possible.

“We are now finalising the designs with our contactors and work to see the outdated 1960s gyratory converted into an attractive new pedestrianised public space will begin early next year. This will include fully segregated cycle lanes and new pedestrian crossings, making it a safer and more pleasant place for cyclists, pedestrians and public transport users in the local area.”

It came a fortnight after cyclist Soren Aarlev died in hospital having been hit by a car in Goswell Road. Mr Aarlev, of Haggerston, was the third cyclist to die on Islington’s streets in 12 months.