Why tomorrow I will be joining thousands of other cyclists outside Parliament

Ok, I am sure I bore you all with my views on cycling in London but I feel strongly about it because every day I get on my bike I can't help but thinking is this the day my luck runs out and I becoming another statistic of cycle injuries/deaths on London's roads.

It's a morbid thought but not a single day in my 7 mile commute to and from the office do I not end up screaming at someone - pedestrian or motor vehicle - because they either walk out in front of me, pass to close or cut me up.

There are days when I wonder if the risk is worth it. But I do enjoy cycling for the most part. I just wish I didn't have to spend my entire journey second guessing other people's actions.

It's not pedestrians and motorists fault all the time though. Some road designs beg the question as to whether the person designing them has any road experience whatsoever. Segregated cycle lanes are great but not if you have to cycle in-between two lanes of fast moving traffic to get to it (and there isn't that much road space).

And cycle lanes in bus lanes? I mean it's great as they are quieter than normal lanes but putting the biggest vehicle on the road with the most vulnerable? And buses take up a lot of space meaning if you want to get past them you are thrown out into the normal traffic lanes anyway. If I stop behind them at every stop I might as well get the bus to work as one of the reasons for cycling is because it is quicker.

But I'm not daft. The infrastructure problems are not going to be solved overnight but a number of questions need to be asked of recent developments where junctions have been redesigned or changed - Blackfriars notably where cycle lanes have been sacrificed for an additional motor vehicle lane the benefit of which is stacked highly in favour of cars yet every time I cycle over Blackfriars there seem to be more bikes. And in Borough Station - works were done at the junction there but no advance stop boxes for cyclists were added -why not? Surely every set of lights should have them? I can't see any reason why not.

And it is because facilities appear to be getting worse rather than better I will be joining thousands of other cyclists tomorrow on the eve of the first parliamentary debate on cycling in over 10 years. It's not just about London. This is for every cyclist around the country who wants to be able to get on their bike, with their kids in some cases, and feel safe and not have to worry that their next journey may be their last.

The Times started the ball rolling by launching their Cities fit for Cycling campaign. I urge anyone reading this post to support their cause.

This isn't about persecuting motorists. This is about making the roads safer for everyone. Having travelled to Copenhagen a lot recently I have seen how everyone can get along on the roads with the right infrastructure. Hardly anyone in Copenhagen who I've seen cycling wears a helmet or a high-vis jacket. That says a lot about how safe cyclists feel. If anything, pedestrians are the main problem for cyclists in Copenhagen, especially British tourists, as we are not used to designated facilities for cyclists (but you only need to be yelled at once to look out for the designated paths afterwards).

I am going tomorrow to make sure those who supposedly represent us realise that something needs to be done. We want safer roads for all. 16 cyclists died on London's roads last year. One has died so far this year. On roads where the speed of vehicles hardly reaches 30mph I sometimes struggle to see how the stats can be so high. I don't even know the stats for injuries except it will be far higher. I know last night I drove past the aftermath of a 4x4 and cycle collision (I hope the cyclist is ok - they were moving which is encouraging) and I have cycled and driven past many more.

Please support safer cities for all - and maybe in the future we can all get where we are going safely.


Popular Posts