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Cycle for London: Protestors urge TfL to rethink capital's transport priorities (+ video)

Climate Rush joins cycle campaigners at Blackfriars Bridge this morning to mark World Car Free Day

Cycle and environmental campaigners in London have marked today’s World Car Free Day by riding and walking from Blackfriars Bridge to the offices of Transport for London (TfL) offices to call for a change in the capital’s transport policy, under the banner ‘Cycle for London.’

Specifically, the campaigners, led by the group Climate Rush, which drew up today’s initiative, were looking to lobby TfL staff on three issues where it is looking for a commitment from the body – “an open and democratic TfL that values people over cars,” “a 20mph speed limit throughout central London,” and “car-light and car-free areas of London.”

Those three themes are each expanded upon in an overview of today’s event on the website of Climate Rush, which takes as its inspiration the Suffragette movement of around 100 years ago that succeeded in winning the vote for women.

Among those joining it this morning were representatives of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), while Blackfriars Bridge marked a symbolic departure point, having been the focus of protests over recent months by cycling advocates as a result of the decision by TfL and Mayor Boris Johnson to scrap a temporary 20 mile an hour speed limit there.

Yesterday, Climate Rush had publicised this morning’s event with a message edged on the walls of the Rotherhithe Tunnel beneath the Thames, created using “reverse graffiti” – in other words, by cleaning off the dust and grime, which also showed just how filthy the environment is down there.

The creation of the work, a six-foot high picture of a bicycle with the slogan ‘Pollution Solution’ next to it, was captured in a YouTube video, shown below.

Spokesperson Alice Haworth-Booth said, "Toxic air, hundreds of road deaths, as well as the most congested streets in Europe: this is Transport for London’s gift to the capital.

"For as long as Transport for London values cars above people, neither our streets nor our lungs will be safe.

"It’s time their attitude changed. Our clogged up streets can’t carry this capacity any more, and our polluted lungs are taking the strain. People should be encouraged to leave their car at home, jump on their cycle or use public transport and walk."

Mike Cavenett from LCC added: "Not all cyclists think of themselves as environmentalists, but every time we choose to cycle or walk instead of using motorised transport, we're reducing CO2 and air pollution.

"London has the potential to be a clean, green and efficient city, but only if politicians and civil servants work towards streets that encourage walking and cycling."



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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A V Lowe | 12 years ago

Blackwall Tunnel? Looks more like Rotherhithe Tunnel. Blackwall has 2 bores one in each direction and no access for pedestrians. Effectively = A102(M) with concession for non motorway traffic for section through tunnel.

Rotherhithe has footways and 1 x 2-way bore with sub-standard lane width - so that buses which used to run through (395) had to be narrow bodied minibus.

mad_scot_rider | 12 years ago

Not all cyclists think of themselves as environmentalists...

Never a truer word spoken - I love the outdoors, the countryside et. al. But I'm no tree-hugging hippy - the winning argument surely has to be that if motorised traffic keeps growing as it has then there is no way the UK's cities can continue to function, let alone thrive.

a.jumper | 12 years ago

reverse graffiti. What a great idea. The usual complaint of councils against activist graffiti is that they have to do expensive cleaning to remove the paint. With this, they just need some water to clean stuff that's probably being damaged by the neglect anyway.

Hope tfl respond positively to the call.

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