Cyclists in London staged a protest last Wednesday evening following the ninth cycling fatality in the city this year, prompting a local councillor to ask, “how many deaths” have to happen before the streets are safe for cyclists.
Chris Tandy, a manager with the British Council, was killed on the evening of Saturday 2 August after he was thrown from his bike into the path of oncoming traffic when he hit the kerb on the central reservation of London Bridge.
While witnesses described the incident as a “tragic accident,” it does highlight ongoing concerns about provision for cyclists within parts of the capital.
Islington Cycle Action Group’s Chris Casalotti told the Islington Tribune: “We wanted to draw attention to an unfinished and unused cycle path at Clerkenwell and how it could provide safety for cyclists at a time when we put our lives in danger on London’s roads.
“We also wanted to show how the path can quite easily have continued onto a wide stretch of pavement – where there is room for cyclists and pedestrians – across Farringdon Bridge towards Old Street. If only our Islington Council planners had the foresight to do it.”
Speaking of London Bridge where Mr Tandy died, he went on: “As a cyclist I’ve always dreaded going onto that bridge.
“There is no protection for people on bikes. On top of the narrowness of the road you have buses overtaking each other. With roads like ours it only takes a small mistake by someone on a cycle before there is a serious accident.”
The newspaper adds that the cycle path in Clerkenwell where the protest took place, 70 feet long and 10 feet wide, was installed by the London Borough of Camden a decade ago and cost £30,000.
However, at the point where it crosses into the London Borough of Islington, the path was not continued.
Attending the protest were prospective Labour mayoral candidate Christian Wolmar, and Green Party councillor Caroline Russell, who said: “Transport for London, Islington and Camden councils keep telling us that they have plans to make cycling safe, particularly in Clerkenwell Road.
She added:“My question is: when are we going to see these improvements? How many deaths of cyclists do we have to have before our streets are safe?”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.