It has been a grim period on London’s roads with 5 cyclists being killed and a further 3 left fighting for their lives in the past 9 days.
Pressure must now be maintained on the Mayor of London to significantly upgrade cycling provision in the city. A strip of blue paint is woefully insufficient. It is not a mystery why these tragedies are occurring. The only mystery is why it is taking the Mayor and Transport for London so long to do anything about it.
The tragic accidents conform to a pattern in that they involve HGVs and cyclists and often occur at traffic lights and junctions. To allow our most vulnerable road users to share space with the largest, that often have limited ability to see what is around them, is asking for trouble. It is obvious that there is a real problem on the interaction of HGVs with other road users. It is not beyond the wit of man to design and implement an infrastructure that keeps these interactions to the bare minimum.
The mayor’s guru for cycling, Andrew Gilligan, has said that there will be a review in 4 months and that implementation of this would take another 11 months. Hopefully we will see improvements in that time. However, given the failure of the Mayor to match word with deed in his past proclamations and promises about cycling it is vital that Londoners keep up the pressure on the department.
The facilities in the Netherland are widely admired and with good reason. It is worth noting that they did not just appear from the ether. They were the result of concerted pressure and protests from Dutch citizens pressing for adequate facilities to protect lives. If we want to progress to similar facilities in London we must follow in these footsteps.
Cycling is a wonderful way to get around the city, with many benefits to the individual and society at large. The time has come for the city to provide the safe infrastructure for cycling that we need and deserve.
- Fifth cyclist killed on London roads in just nine days as row over safety escalates (independent.co.uk)