New research methodology has identified the junctions in Enfield and other London boroughs which are the most hazardous for vulnerable road users: walkers, wheelers and cyclists.
A situation that all of us who live in Palmers Green will have witnessed: a vulnerable road user (a young pedestrian), navigating the dangerous junction of Green Lanes with Hedge Lane and Bourne Hill. A junction where, outside of the quietest times, traffic movement rarely ceases even during the 12 second-long "all-red" phase when, in theory, pedestrians can cross safely.
But, of course, it isn't safe. Throughout the whole of that all-red time (generously extended from 9 to 12 seconds a few years ago), drivers who've been waiting in the middle of the junction to turn right will hastily make the manoeuvre, paying scant attention to any pedestrians trying to cross, as new traffic hurtles towards them from the left. Small wonder that the little girl, after being stranded on the narrow island, inches from a big lorry, feels she has to make a dash for it while she has a chance.
You probably won't be surprised to learn that this junction is among the twenty most dangerous junctions in Enfield for pedestrians, as calculated using a new formula by the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) and made available to the public via an online map. And no doubt there would be many more pedestrian injuries here if it weren't for the fact that people go out of their way to avoid crossing the road here, meaning that the unsafe junction acts as a barrier to travel on foot between Palmers Green and Winchmore Hill.
LCC’s map has been a year in development and is based on an algorithm that treats nearby junctions as "clusters" (so larger gyratories, or complex multi-junction systems show up), uses five years of emergency services data for "slight", "serious" and "fatal" collisions weighted by DfT "value" factors, and weights newer collisions higher so that junctions where traffic patterns have changed or improvements have been made are progressively downweighted; the map factors in multi-victim collisions too. There are two lists for each of the London boroughs, one based on injuries to pedestrians, the other on cyclist casualties.
Other local clusters that feature on the map are the Green Lanes/North Circular junction and the nearby minor roads, and the Southgate Circus area.
When it comes to the most hazardous junction in Enfield for pedestrians, the "winner" is further north, at the junction of the Ridgeway and Drapers Road, which over the past five years has been the scene of one fatality and four serious injuries, while for cyclists the dubious honour of being the least safe junction goes to Angel Corner, where Fore Street crosses the North Circular.
Enfield has made some great strides in providing active travel infrastructure in recent years but there are still many junctions where people on bikes, people walking and people wheeling take their life in their hands. For too long vehicles have had priority at these junctions; we want to see safer, better designed junctions that put people not vehicles first.
Adrian Day, Co-ordinator Enfield Cycling Campaign and Better Streets for Enfield
Perhaps not much consolation to those pedestrians and cyclists who have to navigate Enfield's danger spots, but our borough doesn't actually feature in the London-wide top twenty lists of dangerous junctions. For pedestrians the worst intersection has been in Southall, and for cyclists in Tooting.
LCC is particularly concerned about the failure of Transport for London (TfL) and boroughs to deal with hazards at three "megajunctions" in central London: at Kings Cross, Shoreditch and Holborn (though something is now finally being done about the situation near Holborn Station), and has begun forming coalitions with local businesses to lobby for change.
Commenting on the findings of their research, London Cycling Campaign don't hold back on criticism of TfL:
[W]e want TfL to assess every junction where there’s a serious or fatal collision for changes needed and act within weeks.
We also want TfL to assess and roll out far quicker bold measures that have been delivered in isolation in London and which are proven to work – instead, the organisation seems locked into incoherence and internal siloed working. The Mayor has demanded rapid and bold reductions in motor traffic to achieve both his Transport Strategy and Net Zero targets, and in the Transport Strategy there’s also a commitment to ‘Vision Zero’ – an end to serious and fatal collisions, currently set for 2041. We think that needs accelerating to enable a lot more people to ditch the car and cycle instead. But also because if it isn’t accelerated that could well mean over a hundred more cycling fatalities from now until 2041 and over 15,000 serious collisions (and the same again for pedestrians). Every one of those means a heavy toll for friendship circles, families and life-changing injuries for victims.
London's most dangerous junctions mapped (London Cycling Campaign website 7 November 2023)
London Cycling Campaign Dangerous Junctions Tool (online interactive map)
Enfield’s most dangerous cycling and walking junctions revealed (Better Streets for Enfield website 15 November 2023)