Over 1,000 London Cyclists Stage Die-in To Protest Over 13 Deaths in November

Karl Roche

Over 1,000 cyclists lay on the ground outside the office of TfL Over 1,000 cyclists lay on the ground outside the office of TfL

This was the scene outside Transport for London, HQ in south London on Friday, November 29th and I have to say it was pretty cold on the floor.

The 15-minute “die in” was part of the Stop Killing Cyclists protest which comes after six cyclists and seven pedestrians were killed in the London this month. However, this was only one part of the evening which started with a 30 minute vigil for those that had died accompanied by a cellist as people lit candles.

Later, the names of the dead were read out and we heard from a mother, Nazan Fennell, who had lost her 13 year old daughter after a truck crushed her at a pedestrian crossing. The driver had been using his mobile phone and tried to cover this up by deleting texts. He was jailed for…

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Time for Sustainable Safety on Britain’s roads

As Easy As Riding A Bike

As I’m sure most of you already know, the Department for Transport recently made a decision to increase the speed limit for HGVs on single carriageway roads in Britain to 50mph.

One of the arguments made for this policy was that of safety. The intention is to reduce the speed differential between HGVs and other motor traffic from 20 mph (the difference between 60 mph, and 40 mph – the previous limit for HGVs) to 10 mph. It is asserted that this will reduce the temptation to overtake HGVs in dangerous situations.

The Department for Transport states that

The change to the national speed limit on single carriageway roads will modernise an antiquated restriction, which is not matched in most other European countries, including some of the other leaders alongside the UK for road safety (eg the Netherlands and Norway)

It is true that this change will bring the UK more…

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The difference between walking and cycling safety

As Easy As Riding A Bike

At the end of my last post about ‘dangerising’, I mused about why, despite the presence of many pedestrians – and speeches from pedestrian campaigners – at the Die In last Friday, nobody appeared to voice any concern that people might be put off walking by talk of the deaths and serious injuries of pedestrians, unlike the concern expressed about people potentially being put off cycling.

Of course part of this is due to the fact that the pedestrian aspect of the protest did not feature much in the news bulletins at the time; it just didn’t seem to get the same amount of coverage. It was a ‘cycling’ protest, as far as the superficial observer was concerned. Nevertheless, there were interviews with Tom Kearney and Nazan Fennell on BBC News, and the danger posed to pedestrians was a major element in the material and publicity surrounding the…

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Space for Cycling and Childhood Freedom

The Alternative Department for Transport

I think that the London Cycling Campaign’s Space for Cycling message is spot-on for a cycling campaign.

Note the end of that sentence: it’s spot-on for a cycling campaign. It’s exactly what a cycling campaign should be saying to the government.

In a nutshell: separated cycle tracks on all main roads, slow down and remove through-traffic on all non-main roads. In other words, “Go Dutch”.

It’s great because the LCC is saying to the government: “We want you to create safe space for cycling, protected from motor vehicles” (as opposed to earlier campaigns with similar names, which said to drivers: “please drive carefully around cyclists” and was clearly never going to work).

But ‘Space For Cycling’ is never going to get the wider public’s support, and if you think it is then you don’t live in the real world.

A short visit to Earth

I myself don’t live in…

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Hand me my gun, I’m cycling to the shops

There is no such a thing as “Road Tax”

The Alternative Department for Transport

Note: This is a post that was mostly written while I was still living in London, but have only just got around to finishing.

Two lethal weapons ? one is accepted and commonplace, the other is not.

If I had a licence to own a machine that can be used as a dangerous weapon, would it be acceptable for me to use it to threaten people who are in my way as I travel?

Would it be fine and normal for me to threaten to use this machine to injure or even kill people, to bully them into submission so they will kowtow to my will and get out of my way, sharpish.

Could I get away with this behaviour on a regular basis, openly flouting the law by using this deadly machine to exert dominance over other human beings?

The machine I’m talking about is a motor vehicle, and…

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Nazan Fennell, Me, You, and Everyone’s Future

good article..

The Alternative Department for Transport

Most readers of this blog are probably already aware of the tragic case of Birmingham teenager Hope Fennell. She was killed by lorry driver Darren Foster after he had been distracted by text messaging while operating dangerous machinery.

Her death has caused discontent and desire for change in Kings Heath, the area of Birmingham where she lived. People have taken to the streets in memorial, and also in protest at poor road planning (mainly aimed at too many large lorries being on their streets), the widespread practice and acceptance of using mobile phones while driving, and the lenient sentence handed down to the killer lorry driver.

But something extra special happened on Saturday.

During a protest and memorial bike ride, Hope Fennell’s mother sat down in the road.

A simple gesture, but a powerful one. It wasn’t planned, it just happened. She was joined on the ground by…

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