"Action hero" Ed Miliband rushes to help stricken Camden cyclist

What is it with Camden, politicians and bikes? First Boris, now Labour leader, hailed as a hero

by Simon_MacMichael   May 9, 2013  

Ed Miliband (pic under Open Government Licence)

What is it with the London Borough of Camden, high-profile politicians, and bicycles? Three and a half years ago we reported how Mayor of London Boris Johnson had been hailed a “knight on a shining bicycle” after rushing to the aid of a woman being mugged, and now Labour leader Ed Miliband has been described as “an action hero” by a women he helped after she suffered a nasty fall from her bike.

The Camden New Journal reports that artist Ella Phillips, aged 29, thought she must have been suffering from concussion when she found the leader of the opposition looking down at her after she had been thrown over the bars of her bike on Kentish Town Road last Thursday.

“He mysteriously appeared out of nowhere, a bit like an action hero,” she said, adding that Mr Miliband – a lifelong resident of the borough - quickly helped her get off the road and out of the way of the traffic.

Talking of her fall, she said: “There was a bike in front of me which suddenly stopped so I had to make an emergency brake. The back wheel flipped over, and the next thing I knew my face was hurtling towards the ground. There must have been a fault with the brakes or the chain.

“Then, there was Ed Miliband’s face looking very concerned at me. I started to wonder how badly I’d banged my head. My first thought was that I was seeing things because I was still in quite a daze.

“He kept asking if I was ok, if I was hurt,” she went on. “He was there for a good few minutes.”

In what some might see as proof that she had indeed suffered a bang to the head, she continued: “What added to all the confusion was that he was actually attractive and not geeky at all. Even the way he appeared was suave. He was dressed casually but he had style.

“I don’t know if he was in his car and stopped it to get out, or was walking close by. But wherever he came from he disappeared just as fast. I didn’t even see which direction he went in. He literally disappeared into thin air once I was ok. I didn’t even get to thank him.”

Mr Miliband’s office confirmed to the newspaper that he had indeed helped the cyclist, although the Camden New Journal was at pains to point out that it had not been alerted to the story by the Labour Party press office.

Ms Phillips, apparently retaining a healthy cynicism of politicians despite her experience, said: “I’ll definitely be voting for him now. In fact, it worked so well I half suspected he had deliberately knocked me off my bike just to gallantly help me up again.

“I can just imagine people getting knocked off their bikes by politicians all over London now. You can’t deny it would be great PR, but getting found out wouldn’t be as good.”

The cyclist went to the Whittington Hospital in Highgate the following day, where she learnt that she had fractured her arm in the incident.

“I want to say thanks to all the staff there. They were excellent,” she concluded - an endorsement of the NHS that Mr Miliband would no doubt approve of.

19 user comments

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There must have been a fault with the brakes or the chain !!!!!!!!

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [674 posts]
9th May 2013 - 12:30

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I would be worried about being dead, not concussion. He's like the grim reaper Devil

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posted by Gkam84 [8657 posts]
9th May 2013 - 13:18

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He does look like he should have a switch in the back of his head to control his eyes.

posted by farrell [1275 posts]
9th May 2013 - 13:58

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There must have been a fault with the brakes or the chain !!!!!!!!

Sounds like a panicked handful of front brake to me.

As easy as falling off a ....

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posted by Percespb [20 posts]
9th May 2013 - 14:12

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Ms Phillips, said I half suspected he had deliberately knocked me off my bike just to gallantly help me up again.

Never a truer word spoken in jest Thinking

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posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [564 posts]
9th May 2013 - 15:00

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The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte also stopped to help at an accident involving a cyclist a few weeks ago. Unfortunately that was an older woman being struck by a truck, and she died Sad

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posted by Dutchie [52 posts]
9th May 2013 - 18:50

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Typical handling skills of a female London cyclist. No doubt hammered her brakes in an effort to stop and found physics getting in the way.

I'm sorry for this comment, but I see so many women cycling around London without any sense of road cycling awareness, and no really understanding of how to handle their bikes. It saddens and depresses me when I hear these stories about women being crushed under lorries, mostly because I see so many blithely riding around London without ever understanding their bike and the road.

I sort of feel you ought to have a license to ride. Imagine driving a car without having instruction. You'd probably do OK once you figured out the clutch and braking, but when you get yourself into a tricky position you'd be toast.

Many of these women (appear to me) to be young and may never have taken a driving test. They may have done cycling proficiency at junior school (and probably in a small town or village - at least on quieter roads), but they are vastly ingnorant of the risks they put themselves at. There are courses which they can take but the majority ignore. Plain irresponsible.

....and breath. Sorry guys

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1072 posts]
9th May 2013 - 19:39

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Leech was probably getting a draught off the other bike before grabbing a handful of front brake. Did she check to see if he didn't steal her purse as he slipped away without being seen? Typical slimy politician.

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posted by cidermart [456 posts]
9th May 2013 - 20:40

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Colin you do have a point...

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posted by Dutchie [52 posts]
9th May 2013 - 22:02

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Seriously Colin? You think your gender makes you a better cyclist? You are not sorry for that comment or you wouldn't have posted it. What a load of UTTER BOLLOCKS.

I've been riding a bike since I was four and would say I know how to use it. An Englishman visiting my folks' house in The Netherlands however made a similar manoeuvre to the lady in this article and ended up in my parents' pond.

Following your logic, perhaps English people don't know how to ride a bike? Thinking

Look, everyone comes of their bikes every so often. It's nice when there's someone about to pick you back up. That's what this story was about.

posted by CraftyDutchie [5 posts]
9th May 2013 - 22:02

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@CraftyDutchi Is Colin saying that all young women can't ride a bike or that some can't? Seems like the latter to me. And while I agree that is seems unfair to single out young women cyclists - plenty of young men can't ride a bike very well either. I think Colin is saying that the problem is caused not because they are women but because they are inexperienced cyclists with no training or in some cases even any previous experience of cycling.

Actually quite a lot of English people don't know how to ride a bike - this is a very different place from the Netherlands in that respect.

Very many British children, particularly girls never learn how to ride a bike. I once interviewed one of the pioneers of adult cycle training in the UK and he told me that the people he trained were overwhelmingly women who had either never learned to ride or who had stopped riding at a very young age. As traffic level grew in the UK in the late Seventies and in to the Eighties parents stopped letting their kids just go out on their bikes - the perceived danger was too great. He estimated that most of the generation that grew up in the UK from the mid 80 to the mid 90s had been lost to cycling at a young age and that a much larger number than in previous generations had never actually started cycling at all. One of the consequences of the vicious cycle of car dependancy this country has gotten itself in to - the other being the rise in childhood obesity - now thankfully being reversed.

If more Brits had been riding their bikes like you continuously from the age of four on in to adulthood our transport system wouldn't be the mess it is today.

You're of course right though that no matter how good a rider you are there's always the chance of an occasional 'off' and it's good to know that people are still willing to pick you up when that happens.

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4132 posts]
9th May 2013 - 22:50

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Women eh?! Who do they think they are, swanning around on their sustainable and effective forms of transport, as if they have some kind of legal right to do so.

Still, at least we can mock their ignorance and laugh at their misfortunes, eh lads?! The last thing we need is MORE people riding bicycles; after all, it's their fault if they get crushed by lorries. As long as we create social barriers (like sneering at them) and suggesting legal barriers (like licensing them), we'll keep the numbers down and ensure the streets remain the domain of belligerent, knuckle-scraping men.

/sarcasticranting

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posted by Ghedebrav [1015 posts]
9th May 2013 - 23:00

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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

Many of these women (appear to me) to be young and may never have taken a driving test. They may have done cycling proficiency at junior school (and probably in a small town or village - at least on quieter roads), but they are vastly ingnorant of the risks they put themselves at. There are courses which they can take but the majority ignore. Plain irresponsible.

I looked into the background of a number of female cyclists killed in London in recent years as part of research for an article recently. What struck me was how experienced many of them were as cyclists.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7881 posts]
9th May 2013 - 23:06

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Simon_MacMichael wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:

Many of these women (appear to me) to be young and may never have taken a driving test. They may have done cycling proficiency at junior school (and probably in a small town or village - at least on quieter roads), but they are vastly ingnorant of the risks they put themselves at. There are courses which they can take but the majority ignore. Plain irresponsible.

I looked into the background of a number of female cyclists killed in London in recent years as part of research for an article recently. What struck me was how experienced many of them were as cyclists.

Release cat amongst pigeons time Big Grin

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2656 posts]
10th May 2013 - 11:01

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What seems to be common place is the truck/bus turning left scenario with the cyclist being in the drivers blind spot. My personal theory Is that this is because many women often have slower pick ups from standing starts than men who might hide themselves in a blind spot. If they are not proficient with gear changes they may start in high gear too (I see so many male and female riders forgetting to down shift at junctions and lights) but women are often less able to power their way out of this error. Couple this with being unaware of whether a truck/bus driver can see them and a failure for the driver to indicate (as a driver we've all had that moment where we've not signalled properly - or see others do it) and its the perfect recipe for disaster in London's crowded roads. Although I only ever here the basic scenario 'bus/truck turning right crushes rider' without much or any details.

What exactly do you mean by experienced too? Had they attended road safety courses? Were they skilled bike handlers? Did they ride for both pleasure and commute? Or had it simply been that they rode to work everyday for a significant period? I'm sure I see plenty of regular commuters commiting the same errors of judgement everyday without harm happening. More through the care of other road users. The biggest single factor (which is much the same in cars) is the lack of road awareness - never looking around and checking what is going on, spotting danger. It makes me weep to see cyclists manoeuvre without ever doing this.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1072 posts]
10th May 2013 - 18:04

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This is a horrible reaction to a story of road-side chivalry:

"What exactly do you mean by experienced? Had they attended road safety courses?" ..

In my experience of cycle training, adult women are more inclined to take training; whereas men are often over-confident, feeling they have 'little to learn'.

The truth is that we all have something to learn, no matter how experienced.

-- Hey, how many gears have you got? .. Just one! ... Mate, your bike sucks! --

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posted by brylonscamel [20 posts]
10th May 2013 - 19:35

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brylonscamel wrote:
This is a horrible reaction to a story of road-side chivalry:

"What exactly do you mean by experienced? Had they attended road safety courses?" ..

In my experience of cycle training, adult women are more inclined to take training; whereas men are often over-confident, feeling they have 'little to learn'.

The truth is that we all have something to learn, no matter how experienced.

Well it's all grist to the political PR machines. Well done Milhouse. You are my hero.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1072 posts]
10th May 2013 - 19:40

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hmm .. neatly side-stepped my point about cycle training. Are you a politician yourself? Wink

-- Hey, how many gears have you got? .. Just one! ... Mate, your bike sucks! --

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posted by brylonscamel [20 posts]
10th May 2013 - 19:46

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Is there any statistical backing to this 'young women cyclists' debate?

posted by paulfg42 [368 posts]
12th May 2013 - 19:50

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