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Up to 1,000 cyclists take part in Blackfriars Bridge 'flashride' (plus video)

TfL and Boris Johnson "gambling with the safety of those wishing to get about by bicycle or on foot"...

Up to 1,000 cyclists took part in yesterday’s ‘flashride’ protest on London’s Blackfriars Bridge to protest against plans by Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London (TfL) to scrap a temporary 20mph speed limit.

Despite opposition from cycle campaign groups and the Greater London Assembly earlier this month backing a motion from the Green Party’s Jenny Jones to review the speed limit, Mr Johnson and TfL appear to be determined to push ahead with the reintroducing a 30mph limit once current roadworks are finished.

The construction works on the bridge, which coincide with the completion of a three-year redevelopment of Blackfriars Station, will also see the road widened from two lanes to three.

TfL says that the changes will enable the station to cope with a 60% increase in the number of passengers when it reopens following Christmas, and it is also expected that the number of people entering or leaving the station will rise by ten times the previous level.

Ben Plowden, TfL's director of better routes and places, told the BBC: "We've had to allow for that increase in pedestrian movement while allowing other people to go through the junction - cyclists, taxi drivers, taxi passengers - safely and efficiently and we think that's what the junction design will do."

Cycle campaigners insist however that the works and the planned reintroduction of the 30mph speed limit represent a danger to cyclists.

Jim Davis, chairman of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, commented: "By pushing ahead with this backwards design that gives minimal consideration to the needs of cyclists - who now outnumber cars on the bridge at peak hours - they are literally gambling with the safety of those wishing to get about by bicycle or on foot.

"It is responding neither to the all-party consensus of the London Assembly that its plans are unsatisfactory for pedestrians and cyclists, nor to Boris Johnson's own concerns about the problems faced by cyclists on Blackfriars Bridge.”

He added: "It should be of concern to all Londoners that the mayor and the GLA aren't in control."

Tom Cavenett of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), which also has a series of photos from the evening on its website - there are also pictures on Flickr - said: "The huge turnout for this protest ride shows the passion for cycling in London, and the desire among ordinary Londoners to enjoy safer and more people-friendly streets.

"Blackfriars must not be redesigned as an urban motorway: it's time London moved on."

Simon has been news editor at 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.

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