Up to 1,000 cyclists took part in yesterday’s ‘flashride’ protest on London’s Blackfriars Bridge to protest against plans by Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London (TfL) to scrap a temporary 20mph speed limit.
Despite opposition from cycle campaign groups and the Greater London Assembly earlier this month backing a motion from the Green Party’s Jenny Jones to review the speed limit, Mr Johnson and TfL appear to be determined to push ahead with the reintroducing a 30mph limit once current roadworks are finished.
The construction works on the bridge, which coincide with the completion of a three-year redevelopment of Blackfriars Station, will also see the road widened from two lanes to three.
TfL says that the changes will enable the station to cope with a 60% increase in the number of passengers when it reopens following Christmas, and it is also expected that the number of people entering or leaving the station will rise by ten times the previous level.
Ben Plowden, TfL's director of better routes and places, told the BBC: "We've had to allow for that increase in pedestrian movement while allowing other people to go through the junction - cyclists, taxi drivers, taxi passengers - safely and efficiently and we think that's what the junction design will do."
Cycle campaigners insist however that the works and the planned reintroduction of the 30mph speed limit represent a danger to cyclists.
Jim Davis, chairman of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, commented: "By pushing ahead with this backwards design that gives minimal consideration to the needs of cyclists - who now outnumber cars on the bridge at peak hours - they are literally gambling with the safety of those wishing to get about by bicycle or on foot.
"It is responding neither to the all-party consensus of the London Assembly that its plans are unsatisfactory for pedestrians and cyclists, nor to Boris Johnson's own concerns about the problems faced by cyclists on Blackfriars Bridge.”
He added: "It should be of concern to all Londoners that the mayor and the GLA aren't in control."
Tom Cavenett of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), which also has a series of photos from the evening on its website - there are also pictures on Flickr - said: "The huge turnout for this protest ride shows the passion for cycling in London, and the desire among ordinary Londoners to enjoy safer and more people-friendly streets.
"Blackfriars must not be redesigned as an urban motorway: it's time London moved on."
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.