West London cyclist knocked off bike twice invites MP to ride with him - and she accepts
René Pritchard from Chiswick is campaigning to get police to enforce cycle lanes and advanced stop lines
A cyclist from West London who has been knocked off his bike twice in recent months has challenged his local MP to join him on part of his commute – and Conservative politician Angie Bray, who represents Ealing Central and Acton, has agreed.
René Pritchard, a 38-year-old company director from Chiswick, has commuted to work in Hammersmith for the past year and a half, reports BBC News, and invited Ms Bray to ride with him to experience conditions for herself and put pressure on the Metropolitan Police to enforce cycle lanes, reports BBC News.
Ms Bray herself has been the victim of an incident in London traffic, nearly losing a leg when a car drove into a motorbike on which she was riding pillion shortly after she moved to the capital to study in 1975.
"I'm well aware of how dangerous it is being on two wheels in London's traffic," she explained.
"I'd like to think there would be a day when that kind of thing doesn't happen any longer."
She added that she would be happy to ride with Mr Pritchard on part of his route as well as getting in touch with the local police commander to enquire whether enough was being done to enforce cycle lanes.
The two incidents in which Mr Pritchard was involved earlier this year both happened within 100 metres of each other, at the junction of Goldhawk Road and Chiswick High Road, which forms part of the A315.
That location doesn’t fall within Ms Bray’s constituency – instead its where those of Mary Macleod, Conservative MP for Brentford and Iselworth, and Labour MP for Hammersmith, Andy Slaughter, meet.
The first of those incidents, in March, took place while Mr Pritchard was waiting at a red light, having positioned himself in the advanced stop line box.
"A taxi driver tried to undertake me and used the left hand lane to try and go straight across the junction, " he told BBC News.
"He failed to see a double yellow line with cars parked on the other side of the junction."
Mr Pritchard explained that he was knocked off his bike as the taxi driver swerved to avoid hitting a parked car.
"I was thrown into oncoming traffic, fortunately it was slowing down because of a red light."
He added that police had said that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the driver.
The second incident occurred in May on King Street – the eastern continuation of the A315 once it passes that junction with Goldhawk Road.
Again, Mr Pritchard was thrown from his bike, this time by a 4x4 that veered into the cycle lane to avoid colliding with a car on the road ahead that was turning right.
"The car squeezed me into the kerb and I went flying, rolling down the pavement," he said, adding that the motorist stopped and handed him his business card.
Again, no prosecution resulted – police took a statement, but got in touch with the cyclist two months later to say that they had mislaid it.
"They asked me to fill in all the paperwork again and resubmit it," he stated.
"Then they said 'we haven't got anything to proceed with the prosecution on.
"As a cyclist, I'm very frustrated. I'm wearing a fluorescent jacket, I'm the father of two small girls on a folding bicycle.
"I ride in cycle lanes, but still, in the space of two years, I've had two accidents that could have been fatal and not a single one has been taken forward by the police.
"I appreciate there are some cyclists who go through red lights and weave in and out of traffic - that's not the kind of cyclist I am."
A spokesman from London Cycling Campaign told BBC News: "Mr Pritchard has encountered problems that are well known to people who ride bikes in London, and that discourage most Londoners from choosing to ride a bike in the first place.
"Namely, he's encountered poor-quality infrastructure, which doesn't do enough to make our streets safe and inviting for cycling, and a lack of enforcement against bad driving, which makes sharing the roads with many drivers something of a lottery.
"These fundamental problems need to be addressed before London will become a truly cycle-friendly city."