Thousands ride for safer streets in London, Edinburgh and Rome

Up to 60,000 cyclists take to the streets to campaign for better conditions on two wheels

by Dave Atkinson   April 28, 2012  

Big Ride London (from London Cycling Campaign)

Thousands of Cyclists braved some challenging weather conditions today to take to the streets campaigning for safer conditions for cycling. In London, 10,000 riders braved heavy rain on the London Cycling Campaign's Big Ride which was held on closed roads in the capital. Further north, Pedal On Parliament organised a ride on a cold but dry day in Edinburgh which attracted at least 2,000 cyclists. Meanwhile in sunny Rome, as many as 50,000 took to the streets on two wheels.

The London ride was organised with the assistance of The Times newspaper who have been spearheading the current Cyclesafe campaign. The aim was to get the London Mayoral candidates to sign up to the Love London, Go Dutch campaign which calls for continental-standard cycling infrastructure in the capital. All five main candidates have now done so.

Feedback from the ride has been overwhelmingly positive, with many people posting on twitter about their experiences. One of the most poignant was from @citycyclists: "Woman on #TheBigRide hadn't cycled for 56 years. First time she's felt safe enough. Much more of this please. Should be Safe every day".

The London ride which set off from Park Lane attracted cyclists of every type and age group and you can get a good flavour of what it was like from ibikelondon's posting on the day which also features lots of pictures and some video.

More than twice the number of riders expected turned out for Edinburgh's Pedal on Parliament.  Borders and Lothian police put the number at up to 2000 while organisers of the ride said there might have been as many 3500 riders present in support of the campaign's eight point plan to make Scotland a cycle friendly nation and help the Scottish Government achieve its target of 10 per cent of all journey being made by bike by 2020.

There was better weather in Rome and a huge turnout for the Salvaiciclisti campaign's organised ride. The Italian campaign was inspired by the Times one, with the two taking centre stage at the Milan - San Remo earlier in the year

LCC chief executive Ashok Sinha, riding with his partner Lucy and their children, said: “The Big Ride has been a spectacular success: we’re incredibly grateful to the thousands who braved the very British weather, and showed our politicians the amount of passion there is for safer cycling in the capital and beyond." Certainly today's events – and the recent protests against Addison Lee – have shown that there's a real depth of feeling in the capital that cycling should be higher on the agenda, not only from committed cyclists who are ready to brave the current conditions, but also from an increasing pool of Londoners who maybe aren't cycling right now but would like better provision and infrastructure.
 
“An extra special thanks must go to the hundreds of volunteers, without whom we couldn’t have made the Big Ride happen," added Sinha. “The five main mayoral candidates have all put their names to our Love London, Go Dutch campaign, so now it’s time to see action and funding that match the aspirations of London’s voters.” If nothing else, the London ride will have shown that the safety of, and provision for, cyclists is likely to be a key mayoral issue.

7 user comments

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Now we just have to hope that - despite all recent appearances to the contrary - our politicians are actually paying attention to what the populace are saying.

posted by mad_scot_rider [548 posts]
29th April 2012 - 10:02

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I spoke at the Rome demonstration yesterday in front of the 50,000 participants (video is here: http://roma.corriere.it/roma/notizie/cronaca/12_aprile_28/raduno-salvaic...). This was my first day out after an accident one month ago in Rome where I broke my left femur and wrist.

One of the main reasons in my opinion that there were so many people at the demo in Rome (apart from the 28˚C) is that unlike London where many people cycle, here the death rate is double, so people are more scared to cycle. The large turnout shows that people want to, but the majority won't take the risk. Hopefully now things will begin to change.

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posted by niceguysean [100 posts]
29th April 2012 - 10:55

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Well done everyone who braved the weather.

If 10,000 taxi drivers / horse riders / absent fathers had filled the London or Edinburgh streets to protest it would be on the national news.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1963 posts]
29th April 2012 - 11:24

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Yeah Simon. Totally disappointed in the media coverage - printed and tv. Here in Scotland 7,000 protesting against the SFA's sanctions on Rangers apparantly warrented better coveraged than 3,000 demonstrating for safer roads. Go figure. Here's hoping that the respective governments come up with some concrete ideas rather than token thoughts.

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1053 posts]
29th April 2012 - 16:37

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A good article in The Times:
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/article3398722.ece

Also just published is a piece on cycling and the Mayoral contest:
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/article3399354.ece

Meanwhile a tweet by Carlton Reid reveals an interesting statistic:
"3.7m bicycles sold in 2011 against 1.94m cars. Car sales have dropped 25% since 2003. BikeBiz: bit.ly/IveT2o"

Just a shame that car use hasn't dropped by the same amount.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1963 posts]
29th April 2012 - 21:15

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Thanks for the links Simon. Hadn't got as far as the times, be interesting to see what Þhe dailies have to offer in the morning. Did see Carltons stat mind.

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posted by giff77 [1053 posts]
29th April 2012 - 22:03

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I took part in the ride on Sat. Great fun despite the weather good camaraderie etc etc.. but rather disappointed by the coverage by the bbc (http://tinyurl.com/bbcbigride)especially when the journo comments on the motorists sounding their horns in displeasure at the roads being closed, (they were northbound the road closure would not have effected them, also can car drivers not read maps/work out a different route) I later cycled that way to go up to maida vale and it was almost as bad then (15:45ish)

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posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [591 posts]
30th April 2012 - 9:15

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