Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Cycle safety in London

A recent article about cycle safety close to a new dock in King's Cross (Crinan Street) has got me thinking about cycle safety. I can't track down the article any longer, but it points out just how truly dreadful cycling infrastructure is around King's Cross. It was here of course that student Deep Lee was knocked from her bike and killed, which became the focus of a recent cyle protest.

TfL, it seems to me, are caught in a paradoxical position. They're investing a lot in Boris bikes, and expanding it across London starting soon with the eastern extension. But at the same time, as protests at Bow, King's Cross and Blackfriars show, there is still no political will to make streets safe for cyclists and pedestrians. The issues are well covered in some detail on the Cyclists in the City blog. The biggest barriers to cycling in London are safety fears, but TfL are doing too little to address the issue. How many more deaths will it take before someone wakes up to the idea that human lives are more important than squeezing as much traffic as possible through London's streets?

I got an email today from TfL telling me how I could stay safe on my bike. Some of the same points are reiterated in their most recent press release. I replied that TfL had to take seriously their responsibilities to make us safe - by lowering speed limits, providing separated cycle lanes, and by eliminating the clash between cycling space and car parking. It's not rocket science really.

Boris bikes will only ever really take over the streets of London when those same streets provide a calm and safe environment for people of all ages and abilities to cycle. I'd urge everyone who cares about cycling in London to let TfL know that.

UPDATE - the article about Crinan Street is here

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