Protest over rising cyclist death toll in London

June 24 2015  

Protest over rising cyclist death toll in London
Cyclists staged a mass protest in central London this morning to campaign for better road safety. They gathered at Bank junction in the City, where a female cyclist was killed on Monday after colliding with a lorry. This incident followed a death at the weekend in Harrow where a male cyclist was hit by a car.
 
Eight cyclists have died on London’s roads so far this year, seven of which involved a lorry. The number of annual cyclist fatalities in the capital for both 2012 and 2013 was 14. Statistics for last year are due to be published on Thursday.
 
London Cycling Campaign chief executive Ashok Sinha, whose group organised today’s protest, said: “The six way junction at Bank is a dreadful throwback to a past, car dominated era. We urgently need proper, protected space for cycling, especially at junctions.”
 
Cycling group CTC campaigns and policy director Roger Geffen called for a ban on heavy goods vehicles coming into city centres at the busiest times, a ban on lorries using streets with inadequate provision for cyclists and for all lorries to feature cabs that allow drivers easy sight of vulnerable road users.
 
“The continuous news of cyclist deaths is bound to be a deterrent to those who want to take up cycling,” he added. “The benefits to health outweigh the risks of cycling, but that is no comfort if you end up a casualty.”
 
Freight Transport Association deputy chief executive James Hookham said that lorries were already banned from unsuitable roads in London and that banning them completely in rush hour “would just displace the problem, causing a deluge effect as commercial vehicles arrived at the end of a morning ban.” He added: “Banning HGVs would also create new safety issues as one lorry is replaced by about eight vans, not to mention the increased congestion and air pollution that would result.”
 
CIHT Road Safety Panel chair Rob McCartney said: “Segregation of cyclists can really act to reduce major injury risk, but we can’t engineer the whole network, so behavioural change has to be part of the picture such as driver training.”
 
Transport for London’s managing director of surface transport Leon Daniels said: “Every death on London’s roads is one too many and we are committed to making all roads safer for everyone.”
 
TfL added that a new City of London Police commercial vehicle unit will be launched this week to look out for unsafe vehicles. And from 1 September a safer lorry scheme will make it compulsory for all heavy vehicles to be fitted with side bars and blind spot mirrors.
 
(Photo: Andreas Kambanis and licensed for reuse under this Creative Common Licence)

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