A REVIEW of cycle safety at a junction in East Croydon where a cyclist was killed after his bike slipped on tram lines has been ordered, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.
Croydon Council and Transport for London (TfL) will review the safety of the cycle route at the junction of Cherry Orchard Road and Addiscombe Road where Roger de Klerk, 43, was hit by a bus on November 12, 2013.
At an inquest into his death last October, South London Coroner Selena Lynch asked Croydon Council to "urgently" look at cycle safety at the junction, and of routes where cycle lanes cross tram tracks more generally.
She said tramlines had the potential to be a "significant danger" to cyclists, particularly when wet, and criticised the "confusing" layout where Mr de Klerk had his accident.
In response to those concerns, revealed by the FOI by Austen Cooper, who runs Croydon Cycling campaign, Steve Iles, head of highways and parking at the council, wrote to Ms Lynch in December.
He said the council has asked TfL to review the Cherry Orchard Road junction and provide both short-term and long-term options to improve safety at the junction.
He said design proposals for the junction should be completely by April, with work due to be carried out in the 2015/16 financial year.
Mr Cooper said it was "sad that Croydon Council wait for people to die and coroners to complain before action is finally taken".
He said: "We need the council to adopt a Vision Zero policy, by which road deaths are not tolerated but actively managed out.
"In 2013, more people died on Croydon's roads than were murdered. We deserve better and we can't afford the body count."
In his letter, Mr Iles also said the council had discussed the possibility of installing third party devices which fill the gap in the rail.
But he wrote: "To date [we] have not found anything that is suitable for in street application and that do not have significant risk to the operation."
According to Mr Cooper, a product like Velostrail, which sits flush with the rails but allows the weight of a tram to pass over unhindered, could help.
He said: "We've been told at Croydon Council Cycle Forum of a product called Velostrail, which is said to make tram tracks safer for pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchair users, baby carriages, and inline skaters. As an added benefit it stops ice forming in the track grooves."
Mr Cooper said it was possible for trams to work safely alongside cyclists – as proved by cities such as Amsterdam.
"People cycle alongside or between the tram tracks in George Street and Church Street every day.
"What the coroner was concerned about was the danger at junctions like Cherry Orchard Road.
"There are other hotspots too, like cycling along Addiscombe Road, from East Croydon, just before Lebanon Road tram stop.
"Amsterdam is renowned for its trams and cycling – if the Dutch can crack it, so can we.
"Croydon has a lot of potential to become a great place to cycle. For that to happen, we need Croydon politicians, planners and people to realise that cycling is a form of everyday transport for men, women and children of all abilities."