David Cameron has agreed to meet MPs to discuss the issue of cycle safety on a day when hundreds of bike riders brought the heart of the City of London to a standstill to protest at the latest death of a cyclist in London.
The invitation to the Conservative Party leader came from Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, patron of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, during Prime Minister’s Questions today.
This morning, the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) called for more space for cyclists at Bank Junction as cyclists converged to commemorate 26-year-old Ying Tao, killed in a collision with a tipper truck there on Monday morning.
She was the eighth cyclist – and the sixth woman – to be killed in the capital this year, with lorries involved in seven of those fatalities.
Riders also remembered Clifton James, 60, who died after he was struck by a car while cycling in Harrow in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Last month, Harriet Harman, interim leader of the Labour Party after Ed Miliband’s resignation following last month’s general election defeat, called for HGVs to be banned from Britain’s towns and cities at peak times.
Today, Mr Bradshaw, Member of Parliament for Exeter, asked Mr Cameron:
With the death of yet another cyclist—again, a young woman commuter, beneath the wheels of a tipper truck—will the Prime Minister meet a small delegation from the All-party Parliamentary Cycling Group to discuss what more can be done to protect vulnerable road users, including the call by the acting leader of the Labour party for a ban on these killer lorries in our towns and cities at peak times?
The Prime Minister replied:
I am very happy to have that meeting. It seems to me that although a lot has been done in London to try to make cycling safer on our roads with the cycling strategy – money is being invested and cycle lanes are being introduced – the number of fatalities is still very high, and it is extremely depressing that young lives are being snuffed out in this way.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson – back in Parliament since last his election as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, and widely seen as a potential successor to Mr Cameron – has repeatedly rejected calls to remove lorries from the streets of the capital at rush hour.
But Mr Cameron told Mr Bradshaw: “I am very happy to have that meeting and perhaps keep in contact with the Mayor about this important issue.”
At this morning’s protest – covered in depth by LCC on Storify – the campaign group reiterated three issues it believes will make the city safer for people on bikes:
The first is a complete redesign of major junctions to create safe space for cycling.
Second, high quality cycling lanes that physically separate cyclists from motor vehicles (but which are wide enough for the faster commuter cyclist to overtake others) should be the norm on main roads.
Third, only the best equipped HGVs should be allowed on London’s streets.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.