Tour du Danger: An ordinary London cyclist's view (+ video)

Hundreds of everyday riders turned out for Saturday's tour of London's blackspots. One of them tells us why.

by Simon_MacMichael   November 18, 2011  

Tour du Danger (video still from comdotdick:YouTube)

When he first mooted the idea last month of a ride around London’s ten most dangerous junctions, Cyclists In The City blogger Danny Williams said: “I hope perhaps 40-50 people will turn up.” As it turned out, getting on for ten times as many joined Danny and Mark Ames of I Bike London for what had been renamed the Tour du Danger.

With three cyclists killed on the capital’s roads since the start of October, the ride had struck a chord not only among cycling campaigners, but also ordinary cyclists who use their bikes for getting around the city and want to do so without being in fear for their lives.

One of those hundreds of everyday cyclists, Richard Leeming, who passes through several of those junctions during his commute to work from South London into the city centre each day, filmed Saturday’s ride, providing a running commentary as it passed from one blackspot to another.

Richard outlined to road.cc the reasons behind his getting involved in the ride, as well as sending a message to Transport for London (TfL) and Boris Johnson that will no doubt be echoed by all those who took part.

“I've been cycling in London for decades and recently the atmosphere around cycling seems to have got worse,” he explained.

“As the number of cyclists rises what's been frustrating is TfL's seeming refusal to take us seriously and build decent, safe, segregated infrastructure. They're fiddling while cyclists die.

“Meanwhile Boris Johnson, our so-called ‘cycling mayor’ seems to think that blue paint and your "wits" are enough ... They're clearly not.

“So when I read about the Tour du Danger on the Cyclists in the City blog, I was keen to join as it seemed like a reasonsable, sensible and proactive way of highlighting the dangers cyclists face and the authorities’ failure to take proper action.

“The ride itself was a lot of fun, I met some really nice people and it was immaculately organised. My thanks go to the organisers and I'm looking forward to the next one in March.”

That ride, which promises to be even bigger, is scheduled for March 17, and thanks for Saturday's ride are also of course due to the many marshals drawn from London Cycling camapaign branches who helped ensure that the event passed off smoothly.

10 user comments

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Good work from Richard for documenting this ride and making more people aware of the dangers at these junctions. I wouldn't like to drive a car through some of these junctions never mind ride them on my bike!

The video does however show the group riding through red lights and at around 3:20 they do this when pedestrians are crossing. TfL might take more notice if the video showed cyclists following the rules when highlighting dangers (some of which seem to be caused by other road users not following the rules!) or they could say the problems are caused by cyclist not using the road right.

posted by eviltoystealer [55 posts]
18th November 2011 - 9:30

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One of the details of managing a slow rolling ride is that pedestrians and other cyclists can filter across safely, but it may well cause a greater hazard to stop the ride and cause minor pile-ups as the rear riders lag behind in realising the ride has stopped.

If the view had been wider it would probably have been apparent that Police were instructing the cyclists to keep riding.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

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posted by A V Lowe [470 posts]
18th November 2011 - 9:57

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Traffic Droid also has a couple of videos up on the 'tube of this ride.
One can spot the marshals blocking junctions to keep the pack flowing as one - good job!

posted by Dr_Lex [129 posts]
18th November 2011 - 10:13

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Hmmph. Video blocked by work filters. Will have a look at this when I get home.

Good work evryone. When's the next TdD? Will it go east to Bow?

posted by Coleman [329 posts]
18th November 2011 - 10:27

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I even try and avoid driving round Elephant and Castle in the car, it's that unpleasant. I pass through the Vauxhall gyratory regularly in the car and on my motorbike and can confirm that it's poorly designed for motor vehicles, let alone cyclists and that's why I avoid it as well when I'm on my bicycle. I also agree that the cycling provision at the I-Max junction at Waterloo is appalling. For a car driver, this is an inconvenience as cyclists appear in the middle of the road part way through the junction and for the cyclists it is simply dangerous. Poor design such as this gets vehicle drivers annoyed at cyclists when in fact the road designer is at fault.

Riding around London it is clear that much of the cycling infrastructure has been designed by people who are not cyclists and who perhaps last rode a bicycle in the 1970s. This creates problems for cyclists and other road users. I would suggest that TfL's traffic 'experts' be made to get out of their cars and use bicycles and motorcycles as well. Only then will they begin to understand the problems. My suggestions would be that every road designer should have to use a junction in a motor vehicle, as a pedestrian and as a cyclist before and after working on a design.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2132 posts]
18th November 2011 - 10:30

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A V Lowe wrote:
One of the details of managing a slow rolling ride is that pedestrians and other cyclists can filter across safely, but it may well cause a greater hazard to stop the ride and cause minor pile-ups as the rear riders lag behind in realising the ride has stopped.

If the view had been wider it would probably have been apparent that Police were instructing the cyclists to keep riding.

Plod were around, but they just left us to get on with it. We were advised by the organisers to keep the peloton in one group, which is what we did. Otherwise it wouldn't have been manageable or safe, especially, since we started with around two hundred and finished with probably four to five hundred.

Marshals took the lead, chivvied-up stragglers, closed side streets and roundabouts.

I appear in the video, I was one of the marshals, but I wasn't on my recumbent..

posted by Recumbenteer [142 posts]
18th November 2011 - 18:07

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The "funny" closing credits won't help the cause and detract from what was an informative video.

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posted by Hamster [72 posts]
18th November 2011 - 21:24

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Hamster wrote:
The "funny" closing credits won't help the cause and detract from what was an informative video.

"TFL The Villain; Boris Johnson The Fool..."?

They've been called a hell of a lot worse over the last month.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7906 posts]
18th November 2011 - 21:39

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Great Video! Good work guys! Cool

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posted by Argy [147 posts]
20th November 2011 - 10:02

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It bothers me that lots of cyclists can be seen jumping red light in that video. I don't think it helps the cause.

posted by low-fi [29 posts]
20th November 2011 - 11:47

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