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Vigil and die-in staged on London ‘death mile’ road with TfL accused of prioritising bus timetables over safety

Campaigners gathered yesterday evening at location on Camden Road where cyclist Ardian Zagani was killed last week


London cyclists were last night joined by road safety campaigners to stage a die-in and vigil at the location on a road known as “death mile” where Ardian Zagani was killed last week following a collision with a van as he rode his bike to work.

The group Stop Killing Cyclists is calling for protected cycle lanes to be put in place on Camden Road, the scene of the fatal crash, and which runs through the boroughs of Camden and Islington.

TfL has been accused in recent years of putting more emphasis on ensuring buses run on time on Camden Road than on the safety of cyclists and pedestrians there.

Mr Zagani, who was aged in his 30s, had been travelling to his work as a college caretaker in Enfield when the collision happened at the junction with Hilldrop Crescent, just within Islington's boundaries, at around 6am last Tuesday.

He was the sixth cyclist to have been killed on the capital’s streets this year. The female van driver involved was initially arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving but according to the Metropolitan Police was subsequently ‘de-arrested’ and interviewed under caution.

Stop Killing Cyclists is urging Transport for London (TfL) and the London Borough of Islington to make safety improvements including physically separated bike lanes, similar to those on North-South Cycle Superhighway.

Supporters of the group were joined at the vigil, which included a 10-minute die-in, by road safety campaigners including Green Party Assembly Member Caroline Russell, who addressed the gathering, insisting that TfL “prioritises moving vehicles and not people."

She added: “Maximum pressure must be put on the Mayor of London that killing streets are not acceptable."

Another speaker was London bus driver Joanne Harris who said she was “amazed” that TfL, which has in the past been accused of prioritising bus timetables over safety on Camden Road, "knew what to do to make this safer but didn’t act."

In 2011, the London Borough of Camden’s cycling champion Paul Braithwaite labelled Camden Road “death mile” after a number of road traffic collisions involving vulnerable road users, including one in which 20-year-old student Paula Jurek lost her life as she rode to university.

The Islington Tribune reported that he told the council: “We’ve had the most appalling series of accidents on Camden Road, between Sainsbury’s all the way up to Brecknock Road, with fatalities.”

The Liberal Democrat councillor told the council’s Labour cabinet member for the environment, Sue Vincent: “You know and I know that TfL have been pressed to change two of these junctions and have dragged their feet because they don’t want to slow their buses.

“TfL must sort out what is known as death mile,” he added.

Councillor Vincent agreed that TfL and then Mayor Boris Johnson needed to take action on Camden Road.

She said: “In 2004, TfL did a study of Camden Road and all of its junctions and they found several hot-spots that do need attention.

“Since then they’ve done a feasibility study to prevent accidents. It’s too late in coming. I’ve written today asking: Where is it? Where is this report? I will be following it up.”

As we reported at the weekend, three years later TfL met with cycling campaigners to talk about proposals for Camden Road, including protected cycle lanes.

> Scheme to improve cycle safety at spot where Ardian Zagani was killed has been "in the works" according to TfL

John Chamberlain of Camden Cyclists, the local branch of the London Cycling Campaign, told the Islington Tribune last week: “There was one scheme in 2014 that was supposed to be taken further – but didn’t go anywhere. There was another in 2004.”

According to TfL, safety improvements remain “in the works.”

Referring to Mr Zagani’s death, Mr Chamberlain said: “Of course, we cannot say whether these schemes would have protected against this tragic incident.

“My personal opinion is that what is happening is that there are people with good aspirations within TfL, but there are too many different interests.

“For example, there are big concerns about bus delays,” he continued. “It’s all to do with priorities.

“There are other roads in London like this one where changes have been made.

“Cycling is on the up and up,” he added. “You can’t keep kicking it into the long grass. You have to make compromises.”

Following last week’s fatality, Leon Daniels, TfL’s managing director of surface transport, said: “Our deepest sympathies go out to the friends and family of the man killed this morning while cycling along Camden Road.

“Every death on London’s road is one too many and we are committed to making all roads safer,” he added.

In June, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan pledged that no-one would be killed or seriously injured in road traffic collision in the capital by 2041 as he introduced a 'Vision Zero' policy.

> Sadiq Khan pledges 'Vision Zero' for road casualties in London

He also said that by 2030, no-one would be killed in an incident involving a London bus.

Preliminary figures for the year to June 2016 reveal that 128 people were killed in road traffic collisions in London during the 12-month period, while  2,119 people were killed or seriously injured.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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only1redders | 6 years ago

I know this type of action is well intentioned, but, in the same way as the 'post videos of close passes', this just screams of cyclists, as a group, being passive-aggressive.

I worry that such action does nothing more than to drive a wedge between us and motorists along exactly the same lines as the Brexit/'Remoaner' groups (I'm not saying that motorists voted for Brexit and cyclists for Remain by the way!).

There has to be another way that may have the chance of more positive outcomes. Answers on a postcard...... Other than writing to my local MP, I'm out of ideas

rct | 6 years ago

Has Khan acytually acheived anything in his tenure so far? (and I actually voted for him!)

dottigirl replied to rct | 6 years ago
1 like

rct wrote:

Has Khan acytually acheived anything in his tenure so far? (and I actually voted for him!)

Apart from pissing off Trump? No. Nothing at all. 

He likes to talk though.

EDIT: I tell a lie - he's delayed a few already-scheduled schemes. 

Though I didn't vote for him - he and Goldsmith were similarly lacklustre on cycling so I went Green.

emishi55 replied to dottigirl | 6 years ago
1 like


<p>[quote=rct wrote:

 Though I didn't vote for him - he and Goldsmith were similarly lacklustre on cycling so I went Green.


Cycling on the fabulous but already vastly oversubscribed CS3 routes this morning (CS 6 even more so), I found myself reminded again of Khan's comments while campaigning for the mayoralty (probably before it was suggested that it would be wise to tone it down) when he mentioned that he was pro-cycle lanes or words to that effect but, he thought they "didn't need to be so wide"!!

Khan may be doing us a favour, by showing a near total disinterest in the lives of Londoners who remain deprived of the option of cycling, there must be a kindling, a realisation that if transformation has to happen, it will happen despite of Khan - and certainly not because of him.

Some kind of reaction is surely due, and must find a way to progress action on reducing the car plague. 


Motors need to be kept to a through-traffic grid.

No through-access on side roads or 'living' areas.




emishi55 | 6 years ago
1 like

“Every death on London’s road is one too many and

we are committed to making all roads safer,” he added.


That's ok then.

How totally reassured I feel.

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