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

by Simon_MacMichael   December 28, 2012  

Chiswick High Road junction with Goldhawk Road (Source Google Street View)

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."
 

9 user comments

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RLJ is a bad habit, but a complete smokescreen. How many RLJ hating car drivers promptly walk across the street ignoring red lights on crossings? Judging by the std of pedestrian behaviour in town today, all of them!

Not so much a six pack as a barrel!

posted by Bigfoz [57 posts]
28th December 2012 - 15:40

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Quote:
"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."

Wonderfully quotable out of conext, this one. Wink

Fair play to Angie Bray MP.

posted by BigDummy [273 posts]
28th December 2012 - 18:07

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Bigfoz wrote:
RLJ is a bad habit, but a complete smokescreen. How many RLJ hating car drivers promptly walk across the street ignoring red lights on crossings? Judging by the std of pedestrian behaviour in town today, all of them!

And that's perfectly fine!

The little red man is advisory - the only MUST NOT on the highway code on crossings for pedestrians is that you must not loiter on them.

RLJ car drivers, or cyclists jumping a mandatory (round) red, should have the book thrown at them. Almost none are. And I include the cretins who stop ahead of the line, blocking pedestrian crossings or other road features. If you can't stop at the line, you shouldn't be driving.

posted by a.jumper [679 posts]
28th December 2012 - 20:29

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Did 60km round London tonight and cannot think of one intersection where the advance cycle box was respected and the driver stopped at the line. Lots of I'll just sneak through running of red lights too. Coming from New Zealand where police tend to be less lenient to driving offences (ie my dad got a ticket for doing 52km/hr in a 50 zone) I find it incredible what drivers get away here.

Maybe we can pitch it like this, imagine how much money they make if started to actually inforce traffic rules, start with Manor House please!!!

posted by Nzlucas [88 posts]
28th December 2012 - 23:03

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Anyone living in the Brentwood and Ongar constituency should write to their MP and ask him to do the same thing.

It's not especially dangerous, it's just that he could use the excercise.

posted by wild man [276 posts]
29th December 2012 - 0:43

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a.jumper wrote:
Bigfoz wrote:
RLJ is a bad habit, but a complete smokescreen. How many RLJ hating car drivers promptly walk across the street ignoring red lights on crossings? Judging by the std of pedestrian behaviour in town today, all of them!

And that's perfectly fine!

The little red man is advisory - the only MUST NOT on the highway code on crossings for pedestrians is that you must not loiter on them.

RLJ car drivers, or cyclists jumping a mandatory (round) red, should have the book thrown at them. Almost none are. And I include the cretins who stop ahead of the line, blocking pedestrian crossings or other road features. If you can't stop at the line, you shouldn't be driving.

There's a junction near where I live where it's very easy to get trapped in the middle of a pedestrian crossing. The crossing is immediately after a junction and, especially when turning left at the junction into the road witht he crossing immediately after, cars frequently get stuck there. I did myself recently, despite thet fact that I know how poorly the junction is laid out. It's been that way for 20 years and you can make that turn on a green light and immediately get caught out. This in't isn't a minor back road either as it's the A23. The junction has needed sorting out for years but as no-one has been killed yet, TfL doesn't bother.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2114 posts]
31st December 2012 - 16:33

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This story demonstrates two important points about modern cycle safety.

1. Investing in infrastructure will not solve the problem. Both this guys accidents occurred whilst he was using cycle infrastructure (a cycle lane and an ASL).

2. The justice system simply doesn't care about offences against cyclists. As a driver you can be confident that you can be careless and disregard cyclists safety with impunity.

posted by qwerky [130 posts]
2nd January 2013 - 11:41

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qwerky wrote:
1. Investing in infrastructure will not solve the problem. [...]
2. The justice system simply doesn't care about offences against cyclists.

And that's the elephant in the room, in every council transport department and committee, in every cycle campaign forum, in every mayoralty: ENFORCEMENT.

Without enforcement, they can put up whatever signs they like, whatever paint on the road, whatever crossings and lights, and it won't alter the basic problem: some road users think they won't be punished. Whether because they won't get caught or because the punishment will be ridiculously small, they are willing to take the chance.

We need more traffic police, who really know the law and have an easy way to check when they're unsure (like the guidance on pavement cycling and ignoring dangerous farcilities). We need some judges who are willing to impose appropriate penalities for serious crashes and infractions that are likely to cause them. We need some elected politicians who are willing to harmonise sentencing guidelines, so it doesn't matter if you kill someone with a gun or a car, it's still the same basic parameters.

Do you have the guts to become a magistrate? Do you have the gumption to campaign for good elected politicians to make the police and sentencing guidelines do what are needed?

posted by a.jumper [679 posts]
2nd January 2013 - 12:57

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qwerky wrote:
This story demonstrates two important points about modern cycle safety.

1. Investing in infrastructure will not solve the problem. Both this guys accidents occurred whilst he was using cycle infrastructure (a cycle lane and an ASL).

2. The justice system simply doesn't care about offences against cyclists. As a driver you can be confident that you can be careless and disregard cyclists safety with impunity.

Hm, so maybe we shouldn't bother with hospitals and modern medicine, because voodoo and homoeopathy don't work?

Your first point is disingenuous and illogical - crap infrastructure does not provide a case against good infrastructure. (And yes, ASLs and most british cycle lanes are in the crap category).

Your point 2, however, i agree completely with.

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [579 posts]
19th September 2013 - 9:16

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