Full danger of floating bus stops not disclosed

A floating bus stop on Whitechapel High Street in London's East End
A floating bus stop on Whitechapel High Street in London's East End - Geoff Pugh

Transport for London (TfL) failed to disclose the full danger floating bus stops pose, it can be revealed after analysis of Sadiq Khan’s official safety review exposed “glaring omissions”.

Now the London Mayor’s transport authority has been forced to apologise to disability charities opposed to floating bus stops and has issued a revised edition of its report correcting statistical errors.

Last year, Mr Khan ordered TfL to investigate injury statistics at the capital’s 164 floating bus stops after the Telegraph established just one in 10 cyclists give way to pedestrians on zebra crossings leading to the stop.

The subsequent report found there was a low risk of injuries after claiming police data showed there had been only four bike collisions with pedestrians, two of which resulted in serious injuries.

But collision data from five of the capital’s floating stops, known officially as “bus stop bypasses”, were omitted from the report.

As a result, TfL failed to include how a male pedestrian aged over 75 was left with serious injuries after being hit by an e-scooter. They also did not count a pedestrian’s injury at another floating bus stop after he was hit by a cyclist. TfL blamed “human error” for the omissions.

Cyclists failing to stop for pedestrians on Whitechapel High Street
Cyclists failing to stop for pedestrians on a Whitechapel High Street zebra crossing - Geoff Pugh

Disability campaigners claim TfL is beholden to a powerful cycling lobby and is ignoring the safety and welfare of pedestrians, the most vulnerable road users.

The Telegraph worked with the National Federation of the Blind charity to scour police collision data used by the author’s of TfL’s Bus Stop Bypass Safety Review 2024, published in May.

The 26-page report claimed only four pedestrians were injured – two seriously – between 2020 and 2022 at floating bus stops, where a cycle lane runs between the stop and the pavement and a zebra crossing is installed in the hope cyclists will give way.

The report concluded the chances of a pedestrian being injured by a cyclist at the sites was “very low”.

After the Telegraph revealed there were in fact six collisions – three serious – TfL apologised to disability campaigners for the errors.

The letter explained how TfL was “alerted to a data error” in the report, which has been amended but their conclusions about the risk such stops pose has not changed.

Cyclists and pedestrians share a bus stop bypass on Whitechapel High Street
Cyclists and pedestrians share a bus stop bypass on Whitechapel High Street - Geoff Pugh

Sarah Gayton, of the National Federation of the Blind, said the “glaring omissions” showed TfL should not be allowed to “mark its own homework” with safety reviews into infrastructure it designs, promotes and has a “vested interest” to show offers value for money and is safe.

“These findings show their safety review was fundamentally flawed,” she said. “It’s too much of a coincidence that these collisions were omitted and TfL concludes all is fine with floating bus stops.

“The public – including the visually impaired, disabled people, mums with prams and vulnerable older people – all know these bus stops are not safe for pedestrians.

“TfL has only scratched the surface because every day pedestrians have to run the gauntlet at these zebra crossings as bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters fail to stop and there are near misses or people are hit, many of whom do not report the collision to police.”

Although TfL has a policy of analysing the latest three years of data, critics of the review say it is skewed because two years between 2020 to 2022 included lockdowns when people were urged to stay at home.

A cyclist zooms through a bus stop bypass without stopping for a pushchair, on Westminster Bridge Road in central London
A cyclist zooms through a bus stop bypass without stopping for a pushchair, on Westminster Bridge Road in central London - Jamie Lorriman

A TfL spokesman said the report has still found “very few collisions have occurred at bus stop bypasses” which have “a number of important” road safety benefits.

“Due to human error, five of the 164 bus stop bypass locations across the capital were not included in our collision analysis, which resulted in two collisions across a three-year period being left out of the report.”

He added that “this additional data does not change our assessment of the very low risk of pedestrians being injured at bus stop bypasses”, explaining how six collisions represents 0.05 per cent of all pedestrian road casualties over the period.”