Cyclists in London staged a protest last Wednesday evening following the ninth cycling fatality in the city this year, prompting a local councillor to ask, “how many deaths” have to happen before the streets are safe for cyclists.
Chris Tandy, a manager with the British Council, was killed on the evening of Saturday 2 August after he was thrown from his bike into the path of oncoming traffic when he hit the kerb on the central reservation of London Bridge.
While witnesses described the incident as a “tragic accident,” it does highlight ongoing concerns about provision for cyclists within parts of the capital.
Islington Cycle Action Group’s Chris Casalotti told the Islington Tribune: “We wanted to draw attention to an unfinished and unused cycle path at Clerkenwell and how it could provide safety for cyclists at a time when we put our lives in danger on London’s roads.
“We also wanted to show how the path can quite easily have continued onto a wide stretch of pavement – where there is room for cyclists and pedestrians – across Farringdon Bridge towards Old Street. If only our Islington Council planners had the foresight to do it.”
Speaking of London Bridge where Mr Tandy died, he went on: “As a cyclist I’ve always dreaded going onto that bridge.
“There is no protection for people on bikes. On top of the narrowness of the road you have buses overtaking each other. With roads like ours it only takes a small mistake by someone on a cycle before there is a serious accident.”
The newspaper adds that the cycle path in Clerkenwell where the protest took place, 70 feet long and 10 feet wide, was installed by the London Borough of Camden a decade ago and cost £30,000.
However, at the point where it crosses into the London Borough of Islington, the path was not continued.
Attending the protest were prospective Labour mayoral candidate Christian Wolmar, and Green Party councillor Caroline Russell, who said: “Transport for London, Islington and Camden councils keep telling us that they have plans to make cycling safe, particularly in Clerkenwell Road.
She added:“My question is: when are we going to see these improvements? How many deaths of cyclists do we have to have before our streets are safe?”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.