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People in London’s poorest areas face higher risk of traffic death or injury – TfL

Figures show need for work to make streets safer, including cutting speed limits, says Transport for London

People living in London’s poorest areas face a far higher risk of suffering traffic-related deaths or serious injury than those in wealthier neighbourhoods, a Transport for London study has found.

TfL said the casualty figures demonstrated the need for continued work to make streets safer as a matter of social justice – including cutting speed limits on more of the roads it manages throughout the capital.

The most deprived postcodes have more than double the casualties for each kilometre on their roads, while their residents are almost twice as likely to be killed or injured while travelling throughout London, according to a TfL report due to be published on Tuesday. Casualty rates are highest in areas including Lambeth, Tower Hamlets and Westminster.

Men are at particular risk, with those living in the most deprived postcodes nearly three times as likely to be casualties in road collisions as women. Motorcyclists remain at greatest risk, with elderly male pedestrians and secondary school age boys in poorer areas statistically the next most likely groups.

London’s walking and cycling commissioner, Will Norman, said: “Even one death on our roads caused by a collision is too many, but the fact that these collisions disproportionally affect people in deprived areas is simply unjust. Lowering speeds is key to reducing danger.”

Norman, appointed by Sadiq Khan, said increasing the number of 20pmh zones in London was an important part of mayor’s plan to “improve safety on our roads and create a safer, fairer London for everyone”.

Lilli Matson, the TfL chief safety, health and environment officer, said the data showed the need to “engage with boroughs, police and other stakeholders to reduce these inequalities”.

She added: “Without safe streets we know that people won’t choose the most healthy and sustainable modes of transport and there is still much more to do to eradicate road deaths and serious injuries. We are determined to make London a greener, more sustainable and safer city for everyone.”

Part of that work has been to try to protect cyclists by tackling blind spots on lorries, and increasing London’s cycle network to nearly 220 miles (350km), as well as redesigning the most dangerous junctions.

TfL is also planning to cut speeds on about 90 miles of its managed roads across London by May 2024.

Measures to tackle the wider danger posed by traffic in the capital, including air pollution, have proved contentious in many boroughs, particularly low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) and the impending expansion of the ultra-low emission zone (Ulez).

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