Thousands protest in London to demand 'Space for Cycling' after latest HGV death

Second demonstration in five days follows Monday's fatality on High Holborn

by Simon_MacMichael   July 17, 2013  

Space for Cycling flyer from London Cycling Campaign

An estimated 2,500 people on bikes – perhaps more – took to the streets of London yesterday evening to join London Cycling Campaign in an appeal for ‘Space for Cyclists’ following the death on Monday of a third bike rider in three weeks.

The latest victim was a man aged in his forties killed when he was dragged beneath a lorry on High Holborn, his death giving renewed urgency to appeals from cycle campaigners to make the city’s roads safer for those who chose to get around by bicycle.

Yesterday’s ride, which began at Russell Square at 6.30pm, was the second organised by LCC in the space of just five days – last Friday, 1,500 cyclists rode from Tower Hill to Aldgate, scene of the death earlier this month of 20-year-old French student Philippine de Gerin-Ricard.

On 24 June, 41-year-old cyclist Paul Hutcheson died after a hit-and-run incident involving a car in Lewisham. Police subsequently arrested a 28-year-old man in connection with that incident.

On Twitter, Mark Ames who writes the I Bike London blog, said: “Incredible! #Space4Cycling is HUGE. 10 minutes in and they're still pouring past the start line in their hundreds.”

Later, he added: “A huge, gut-felt roar as #space4cycling reaches the crash site in Holborn. Can you hear us now, @MayorofLondon ?

“#Space4Cycling reaches around Holborn gyratory, down the Kingsway, into Lincoln's Inn and still they come, many thousands of angry Londoners.

“At the side of the road pedestrians 5 deep clap. A bus driver stops to cheer. ‘Sort it out, enough is enough.’ people say.

In a subsequent message, he revealed: "As I tweet, a HGV driver pulls up talking on a mobile handset. I tell him to stop. 'Cyclists should take more care' he says."

On Monday, LCC’s chief executive, Ashok Sinha, said: “Three Londoners have now been killed in three weeks, all of them on busy roads that provide no dedicated space for cycling.

"Mayor Boris Johnson must take swift and radical steps to redesign our streets to make them safe and inviting for cycling.

"The evidence is clear: if the Mayor doesn't take urgent action, then more Londoners will die needlessly cycling on our city streets."

LCC also revealed that a three-year-old boy had lost his life after being struck by a lorry in Northolt, West London, the second pedestrian to have lost their life in an incident involving an HGV in less than a fortnight.

The group Action For Lorry Danger – of which RoadPeace is a member, along with organisations including Living Streets, CTC and RoadPeace – will be holding a protest outside London’s City Hall, just as it did last week, to highlight the number of people, whether on bike or foot, who fall victim to lorries on London’s streets.

Yesterday afternoon, representatives of national cyclists’ organisation CTC was present at a meeting with road safety minister Stephen Hammond that addressed safety issues associated with lorries, among other things.

Ahead of that meeting, CTC’s chief executive Gordon Seabright said: “Along with the Mayor’s promised  infrastructure improvements, Transport for London needs to change the way it deals with lorry traffic, and start restricting access to the largest vehicles during periods when cycle use is highest.

“Under current arrangements deliveries are banned at night, meaning lorries and cyclists are forced to share the space during peak commuting hours – a potentially lethal combination given the lack of good design in junctions for cyclists.”

In a guest blog post for the website Liberal Conspiracy, transport commentator Christian Wolmar, who is seeking nomination as Labour’s candidate for the next London mayoral elections due in 2016, said that despite the number of cyclists attending last Friday’s protest, “there needs to be a bigger more forceful response from the cycling community and its supporters.”

He went on: “One policy I advocate is reducing the number of freight lorries in central London at peak times. Several other European cities already have such rules.

“Conversely, in London, there is presently a night time ban on HGVs – implemented in 1985 when lorries were much louder – which dramatically increases HGV congestion during the day.

“Separating lorries from cycles at peak times is an urgent priority and greater flexibility on delivery times is a part of the solution. We need more than warm words from the mayor. We need leadership and action on this key London issue.”

8 user comments

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"As I tweet, a HGV driver pulls up talking on a mobile handset. I tell him to stop. 'Cyclists should take more care' he says."

Just says it all really doesn't it !!!!

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [726 posts]
17th July 2013 - 9:20

12 Likes

Quote:
Conversely, in London, there is presently a night time ban on HGVs – implemented in 1985 when lorries were much louder – which dramatically increases HGV congestion during the day.

This is a key point. I suspect a lot of haulage companies would be happier making deliveries at night so swap a nighttime ban for a daytime ban and everyone's happy!

CraigS's picture

posted by CraigS [135 posts]
17th July 2013 - 9:42

8 Likes

CraigS wrote:
Quote:
Conversely, in London, there is presently a night time ban on HGVs – implemented in 1985 when lorries were much louder – which dramatically increases HGV congestion during the day.

This is a key point. I suspect a lot of haulage companies would be happier making deliveries at night so swap a nighttime ban for a daytime ban and everyone's happy!

It is an obvious decision, God only knows why no action is being taken. Can swapping night-time bans for day-time bans be so difficult?

harry's picture

posted by harry [13 posts]
17th July 2013 - 10:49

11 Likes

I was on the ride last night - was very heartening to see cyclists of all types coming together at very short notice to make our voice seen and heard

My London commute (of which yesterday was the last one, due to a new job) takes me around the outskirts of the centre (Islington to Docklands) so I miss the worst of central London. Going into Russell Square for this last night reminds me how bloody dangerous the centre is.

It's almost negligent for the Mayor to have created the "Boris Bikes" without having a suitable infrastructure to cater for all of the cyclists who are either inexperienced or not used to London traffic.

posted by VeloPeo [220 posts]
17th July 2013 - 10:59

13 Likes

How about the same day HGV ban for Manchester and the urgent need for better cycle lanes and road traffic policing in the Manchester area. We have no road safe like London and would welcome all measures to improve safety on the roads in this area too!!

Mattrb78

posted by Mattrb78 [21 posts]
17th July 2013 - 12:23

16 Likes

As a Londoner born and bred, as well as a regular cyclist in the capital, I have to say that I don't see how London can be redesigned to be more bike friendly. It's an ancient city with narrow streets and there is no answer. Trucks banned during the day ? It'd help. Even with all traffic banned from London all the time, it'd still be a dangerous city for cycling.

posted by Beaufort [181 posts]
17th July 2013 - 15:25

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Beaufort wrote:
As a Londoner born and bred, as well as a regular cyclist in the capital, I have to say that I don't see how London can be redesigned to be more bike friendly. It's an ancient city with narrow streets and there is no answer. Trucks banned during the day ? It'd help. Even with all traffic banned from London all the time, it'd still be a dangerous city for cycling.

And there you have the biggest challenge: overcoming defeatism of London cyclists.

It seems obvious that it can be redesigned to be more bike friendly. Perfect? No, just friendlier. Bringing TfL to heel so they stop designing crazy things like Blackfriars Bridge and stop allowing roadworks to cause the problems like at Holborn must be a vital first step.

posted by a.jumper [710 posts]
17th July 2013 - 23:49

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Quote:
Under current arrangements deliveries are banned at night, meaning lorries and cyclists are forced to share the space during peak commuting hours

I'm sure their are many in the transport/logistics industry who would love being able to access stores/factories/distribution depots at night and I'm sure there has been a lot of pressure on this ban in the past - its in place for a good reason as anyone who has lived next door to a supermarket will tell you - night time deliveries are noisy and have a very negative impact on nearby residents

My understanding is that the majority of LGV/HGVs involved in cyclist deaths have been construction related vehicles which would rarely have the opportunity to operate at night - what is needed is an investigation into how this industry operates - fairly sure that some drivers/owners are on per load basis and others on large projects have time slots with penalties if they miss them - believe some large co's have been forced to sign up to a code of practice but this should be made mandatory

Forget the Dutch model look at France - highly regulated HGV movements and road junctions designed to slow vehicles not increase "flow"

posted by antigee [165 posts]
17th July 2013 - 23:59

16 Likes