News / Europe

    London's Double Decker Buses Pose Danger to Holiday Shoppers

    Henry Ridgwell
    As Christmas approaches, shoppers are hitting the streets in big numbers.  In Europe, London's Oxford Street is one of the most famous destinations, attracting visitors from around the world.

    The Christmas lights are up on Oxford Street, the shoppers are out in force and retailers are eyeing big takings.  Buses too are a constant presence - almost 300 an hour.  The mix can be deadly, making it one of the most dangerous streets in London, say organizers who are fighting to get the famous red double-deckers banned.

    Three years ago, businessman Tom Kearney was walking back to his office by way of Oxford Street when he was hit by a bus.

    "I was standing on the curb right there, waiting to cross the street, when a bus going 16- or 20 miles-an-hour hit the back of my head, it popped both my lungs and threw me about 20 feet into the air, sending me straight into a deep coma," Kearney said. He blames the bus driver, but a police investigation did not result in any charges.

    Double decker bus approaches London's Victoria Station.
    Double decker bus approaches London's Victoria Station.

    Government figures show accident rates involving buses on Oxford Street are 35 times the average of other London streets.  More than 200 people have been killed or seriously injured since the year 2000.

    Tom Kearney has made a full recovery and is now a vocal campaigner for improved safety on this famous street. "If you look at what Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg has done in New York City with Broadway and Times Square," Kearney explained.  "If you look at what other cities have done across Europe [in] Vienna, Istanbul.  They have pedestrianized major thoroughfares to allow people to walk and shop in peace and without danger."

    The Greater London Authority will have the final say on banning buses or pedestrianizing Oxford Street. Stephen Knight is an elected London Assembly member, who echoes Tom Kearney's demands. "What Oxford Street desperately needs is a pedestrianized environment so that people can enjoy shopping in one of Europe's premier shopping districts," Knight said. "Not just for road safety reasons, although that's obviously very critical, but there are huge air quality issues."

    Transport for London is the agency that oversees all public transport across the capital.  Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport, is against the campaign.
    "It's not viable to stop the buses at either end," he said. "It really is difficult to divert them into the surrounding streets, so we want them there in the center of Oxford Street, which is where the passengers want them."

    Tourists visiting Oxford Street have mixed views on the issue. One man from Italy says he is surprised to see so many people together with so many buses.  But on the other hand, he said it is not stressful or chaotic, and the traffic is flowing freely.

    The New West End Company, which represents retailers on Oxford Street, said its members want the road pedestrianized.  And Kearney said he will not stop fighting to get one of London's most iconic symbols banned from one of its most famous streets.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora