Transport for London has published a draft Cycle Safety Action Plan. Comments on the plan are required by December 11th 2009. The plan is good in parts but the emphasis is on voluntary measures, partnerships and awareness raising, when what is really needed is tough action against dangerous driving and facing up to the hard decisions needed to make London a cycle-friendly city. Continue reading
Boris Johnson is London’s first cycling Mayor and he has put a ‘cycling revolution’ at the heart of his programme of government. As well as the Cycle Hire Scheme, Mayor Johnson has announced plans for what he has dubbed ‘cycle superhighways’. There will be twelve superhighways, each offering “safe, fast, direct routes to central London from the outer boroughs”. But there are growing concerns that the plans are being watered down. Continue reading
London’s cyclists have plenty to contend with whether it’s deadly lorries and trucks, bendy-buses, white van man or suicidal pedestrians stepping out without looking. But now there is a violent cyclist-hating rollerskating monkey impersonator on the loose on our city streets. MovingTarget has the full story and the London Fixed Gear and Single Speed Forum has more, and it looks serious (well, serious and faintly amusing, if that’s possible).
Chandra, a London bicycle messenger, was assaulted earlier this week in Holborn. She recounts:
I saw him get close to a cyclist up front but couldn’t see what happened, then he headed straight for me. He threw a punch but it didn’t land straight, grazed my side more. I didn’t come off my bike or anything. Then I got really really angry and without quite thinking turned straight round and followed him onto Theobalds. I grabbed his shoulder from behind and then he swung round and hit me on the elbow…
Buffalo Bill, editor of Moving Target has taken up the matter with urbanMONKEYS (a group that represents London’s monkeys) and received this response:
[This is] the first i’ve heard of it. This is crazy. I’ve never heard anything like this before. Most monkeys I know, and I know most of them, are decent monkeys who work as or know couriers themselves. Whoever this lunatic is, I can promise you that he’ll get a serious hiding from the other monkeys if he’s caught. I seriously hope the people involved don’t hold this monkey’s actions against the rest of us and that no one is hurt further by his reckless behaviour.
Speaking for London’s bike messengers (and other cyclists), Bill offers some reassurance, “I seriously doubt that any London messenger (or any other cyclist) would hold the rest of the monkey community for this idiot’s behaviour.”
Well that’s good then. For now, dear listeners, my advice is steer clear of the monkey.
An accident of geography means that, official speaking, I’m a Lambeth Cyclist but I’m a Southwark Cyclist at heart, not least because of the dynamic Barry Mason, the quirky Rob Ainsley, the luminous Rebecca Lack and the feisty Ann Warren. I can even see the Southwark-Lambeth ‘county line’ from my doorstep. So I was delighted to be invited to attend their monthly meeting last night at which Transport for London’s project manager for London’s ‘Velib style’ cycle hire scheme gave a talk and answered questions. Continue reading
After a summer of fun on two wheels, we turn to more serious matters. The entire show this week is devoted to the problem of lorries killing cyclists in London. With Barry Mason of Southwark Cyclists and Cynthia Barlow, chairwoman of RoadPeace, the national campaign against deaths on Britain’s roads. We also hear from London Assembly Member Val Shawcross who is tabling a motion this week urging more action to make the roads safer for London’s cyclists.
To write to your elected representatives about this issue, visit WriteToThem.com. It takes a matter of minutes and works. You’ll find excellent coverage of the lorry/cyclist issue over at Moving Target, including some very good sample letters for inspiration. Barry Mason’s full notes of last week’s inquest into the killing of Nga Diep are available here.
Play on links below. Other file formats (Ogg Vorbis, 64kb MP3) over here.
This morning I attended the Road Safety Forum organised by the City of London police, at their Snow Hill police station, near Smithfield Market. It was a good meeting, well attended by a range of officers, including at a senior level, plus those responsible for implementation on the streets. There were also representation from Corporation of London and Transport for London. Among the most interesting things I learned was that during a single day of random spot checks of lorries (HGVs) by City of London Police on 30 September this year, every lorry stopped was found to be breaking at least one road safety law. Continue reading