Thursday, 15 December 2011

Xmas Vigil on Tuesday: Why should it be made harder for older and disabled Londoners to cross the street? Why should Londoners accept they are more than 2x more likely to be killed cycling in London than Amsterdam? Join us next Tuesday after work to protest Mayor's street policies

Please join me, Mark of ibikelondon, The London Cycling CampaignRoadPeaceLondon Living Streets (formerly the Pedestrian Association), and other prominent bloggers. We are joining with the friends and families of several of the far too many pedestrians and cyclists who have been killed on London's roads this year.

We are inviting all Londoners to join us beside one of the city's most dangerous junctions where one cyclist has been killed this year. A spot where several others have been killed in the last three years and where large numbers of pedestrians and cyclists have been seriously injured.
The point of the protest is to make the Mayor realise it is not acceptable to:

a) Simply tell cyclists it is safe to cycle around some of London's most dangerous roads and expect them to get on with it. It is even less acceptable to claim London's roads are suitable for his 'cycling revolution' - one of his only two Mayoral promises from the last election that relate to the roads. He has blithely told Londoners they just need to 'keep their wits about [them]' and they could easily cycle around the Elephant & Castle roundabout - a place where 89 people have been injured in 24 months and one cyclist killed. Would you cycle there unless you didn't have a choice? Would you cycle there with your children? Would you let your kids cycle to school through the roundabout?

b) When the cyclists protest, he tells Londoners that it's all the fault of drivers, HGV drivers in particular. Let's just get this straight for once. London's cyclists are not blaming drivers. Boris is blaming drivers. London's cyclists are blaming the Mayor - not drivers - for the increase in deaths on London's roads. You are more than twice as likely to be killed cycling in London as Amsterdam. The number of people killed cycling is increasing, the number of people being seriously injured cycling is increasing. The number of pedestrians being killed outstrips the number of cyclists being killed.

c) It is not acceptable for the Mayor to have an election campaign that boasts about removing traffic lights and pedestrian crossings and shortening the amount of time that people have to cross the road. At Blackfriars, he's removed the main pedestrian crossing. You can see what's happening at that crossing here since he removed the crossing last week - people are now reduced to running over the road at this massively busy spot. Hardly fair if you're older, younger or at all infirm. This, and schemes like this, are about to roll out all over London.

Why should it be acceptable that a bike lane should look like this?
Millions were spent to make it this awful
We're calling for the Mayor to make changes; To realise that there is plenty of space to give pedestrians time to cross the road safely; To allow young, elderly and disabled Londoners enough time to get from place to place and to cross the road; To allow cyclists to get through junctions safely and along main streets without having to weave in and out of cars. Cycling shouldn't be like that. It should be something that is safe, normal and pleasant to do. Even on some of our busier High Streets.

Please join us on Tuesday 20 December from 6pm outside Kings Cross with the relatives of many who's loved-ones have died as a direct result of the Mayor's street policies and to hope the Mayor will make it his resolution to shake up his thinking and to shake up Transport for London and start to change things in 2012.

Exact location will be announced Monday. For more details, see this page here. 


  1. How are you guys publicising this campaign ? It's amazing but I'm not sure it's "landing" in the right places. I clicked on the fb link and it didn't work. There are thousands of people cycling in London every day and thinking it should be easier and safer. This isn't a "niche" issue, it's a core issue for London. Let's get it up the agenda, particularly for our mayor who has claimed it is a priority for him. All traffic can co-exist on London's streets but it takes discussion and planning

  2. @anonymous - I guess these events are largely publicised "virally". You can do your bit by posting on facebook, tweeting, telling your friends etc as I am sure you will.

    Boris is behaving much like the US National Rifle Association - "guns don't kill, people kill". Well, it is a statement of the bleeding obvious that what kills is the criminal or negligent behaviour of the user of the weapon (and we should all be aware that 1.5 tonnes+ of fast moving steel is a weapon, there is no more apt way of descrobing it) but this simply doesn't address the problem. Boris can't change people's behaviour, or the fact that entirely reasonable people seem to turn into lunatics when they get behind the wheel of their car (have you never felt the red mist descend yourself?). He also can't change the design of HGVs or the specification of their exterior safety features - that is a European Commission prerogative as HGVs travel internationally these days - so his proposed review is a complete waste of time.

    What he CAN change is highways engineering on the ground, to design in features which save careless motorists from themselves. That is what enlightened European countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and to a lesser extenht even France and Spain do.

    Oh, I was forgetting, Boris is a rabid Eurosceptic - you only have to hear him address an audience to know that - so imitating an idea, however good, which is also European is likely to be anathema to him.

  3. I find it truly astonishing that he is displaying a continued lack of respect for Londoners - whether they be (dead) cyclists, legitimate protestors, the unemployed - when it is less than six months to the election. What a moron.

  4. Are the number of deaths/injuries increasing per cycle mile or just increasing overall due to the rising amount of cycling? I'm just worried you might be using misleading statistics - the stuff of politicians.

  5. (I'm another Anonymous BTW.

    Actually, I DO blame drivers - they have obligations to others and however the roads are engineered they are still going to be able to endanger others.
    Also, the Mayor CAN do something about the woeful level of traffic policing. It is not just about highway engineering.

  6. Hello Anonymous!

    Good blog from Jenny Jones on cycling injury stats relative to journeys by bike. They seem to be creeping up, even taking into account the increasing number of cyclists.

  7. Whoops...but I didn't include the link to the Jenny Jones blog. Here you go

  8. Your statistics on Elephant and Castle are completely incorrect

  9. Err, my statistcis on Elephant & Castle are not incorrect.

  10. The 89 casualties are for *all* road users including cyclists. There are also lots of motorcyclist, car/ taxi passenger and bus passenger injuries at Elephant and Castle, so it seems the junction is dangerous for everyone.

  11. @christthebull - figures amended with link that you provided, thanks

  12. Hi Danny

    Do you know precisely where we are gathering for the vigil? Need to know, so I can decide which route to take to reach Kings Cross! Thanks.

    Rebecca Olds-Bartlett
    Rides Co-ordinator, Southwark Cyclists