Tuesday, 21 June 2011

St Paul's bike event. Pre-work bike breakfast tomorrow morning and chance to talk cycling with City police and officials

I have very mixed feelings about the efficacy of Bike Week events. It's useful to sit in the cab of an HGV and see just how invisible a cycle looks from inside. But I can't help resenting the fact that our road culture burdens vulnerable road users with the responsibility for keeping themselves out the way of dangerous vehicles. I think it leads to insanities like the Department for Transport telling children to "wear reflective gear to make sure you can be seen in car headlights" at night and makes something as normal as cycling or walking into a hi-viz activity rather than what it is, just walking or cycling.

In my view, our transport planners and law makers should be doing more to give people on cycles or on foot greater protection from those motor vehicles, rather than foisting the responsibility almost entirely on the person walking or cycling. Fortunately, the City of London is slowly starting to say likewise.

Despite my reservations, though, I am going to spend some time out the front of St Paul's Cathedral tomorrow morning and I hope some of you do too.

The reason is that the City of London will be holding its annual bike week breakfast. I'm not going for the free coffee and breakfast (nod to the sponsors) or for the HGV (another sponsor) but because a number of City Police and City of London road officials will be there. And because I think the more people pester them about the conditions they face on the City's roads, the more they talk about the utter madness of what Transport for London is proposing at Blackfriars, the more people who cycle are perceived as, well, just normal people going about their business, the better.

The bike breakfast is out the front of St Paul's Cathedral from 7.30 to 9.30am tomorrow 22 June. More details here. Hoping to maybe meet some of you there.


  1. Thank you. I am responsible for the City Police Cycle team. I am also known as 'citycyclecop' on Twitter. I would be more than happy to discuss any aspect of cycling in the City and welcome feedback. Please feel free to contact me at Snow Hill Police Station.

  2. As a cyclist I disagree that asking cyclists to wear high-vis is an insanity. This is not only an issue of cyclists being seen by cars but also of pedestrians seeing cyclists when they try to cross the road. There are a good number of cyclists who ignore red lights and they in particular need to be seen by pedestrians who assume a green man makes it safe to cross. So long as it is a request and not a law, it seems sensible to make cyclists more visible, whether children or otherwise.
    Furthermore your comment will encourage non-cyclists to think we are all rather selfish.
    In an ideal world we could all just walk or just cycle but we do have to have some responsibility for our own safety.
    Adrian H