Trauma experts who save dozens of critically injured cyclists each year have launched a fightback in support of Boris Johnson’s plans for a £48 million cycle superhighway.
Businesses have threatened to derail the proposals for the 18-mile route between Barking and Acton, which they fear will cause traffic chaos by removing space from vehicles.
But today the boss of London’s Air Ambulance endorsed the safety benefits of the segregated bike lane- echoing the support from the chief executive of Barts Health, the country’s biggest NHS trust.
It came as London’s Air Ambulance revealed that between January and August its emergency teams – a trauma doctor and paramedic – had treated 45 cyclists seriously injured in road collisions. The service also dealt with 133 pedestrians and 78 motorcyclists out of 1,144 patients helped since the start of the year.
Graham Hodgkin, chief executive of London’s Air Ambulance, said: “Road traffic collisions continue to account for a large proportion of our work and sadly we are treating an average of six pedal cyclists hit by vehicles each month.
“We treat some of the most critically injured people in London and unfortunately one of the sickest patient groups are these cyclists who have been injured by large vehicles.
“Making London’s roads as safe as possible for cyclists and other road users is a daily challenge for the Mayor. We hope the proposed new measures will help to reduce the number of casualties and will be following these plans with interest.”
Peter Morris, chief executive of Barts Health, which runs the Royal London hospital – one of London’s four major trauma units – said: “Cycling safety needs a much higher profile. I am supporting the proposal to implement segregated cycle super-highways in London, including a route east-west close to Bart’s and to the Royal London and along the Victoria Embankment.
“This could be a major step forward in cycling safety for London, and for our staff, and hopefully further encourage healthier lifestyles and active travel.”
Consultation on the Mayor’s plans closes on October 19. Work to implement the route, which will run on the A40 Westway flyover and the Victoria Embankment, is due to be completed by May 2016.