The organisers of a ride taking place next Saturday to highlight the ten most dangerous junctions in London for cyclists says that they have been “overwhelmed by the response,” not only from those wanting to join them on their bikes but also from people volunteering to help plan the route as well as act as marshals, take photos and perform other duties on the day. Upwards of 100 cyclists are expected to take part.
The ride, which starts at St Mark’s Church, Oval, Kennington, SE11 4PW at 10.30am, is the brainchild of blogger Danny Williams of Cyclists In The City who has been helped in setting it up by Mark Ames of ibikelondon and builds on safety concerns previously aired at protests such as the Blackfriars Bridge Flashrides held in recent months.
Saturday’s ride is not itself positioned as a protest, however; rather, it is an opportunity for cyclists to ride to what Transport for London has identified as the ten most dangerous junctions for cyclists in the city, in terms of the volume of cyclists killed or seriously injured there, which in the order of Saturday’s route are:
The ride will enable cyclists taking part “to see these places for ourselves, to record them, look at conditions on the ground and to experience what it feels like to be a vulnerable road user in these locations which supposedly ‘work well for cyclists.’”
Writing on his ibikelondon blog, Mark says: “People who have been living locally to some of these junctions and campaigning to have them changed for many years got in touch with us; over and over again they'd been told that making these dangerous, unpleasant corners of London more people friendly was just not possible because it would disrupt the ‘smooth flow of traffic.’
“Some money has been spent on little cycling signs, or a splash of paint here or there, but nothing has been done to reduce the exposure to the source of danger. It's become clear that Transport for London has been putting vehicle journey times over and above the safety of pedestrians and cyclists all across London. It's not just Blackfriars, it's not just the Elephant and Castle, it's our entire city.”
Danny from Cyclists in the City adds: "It's abhorrent that in the 21st century we have junctions which are so poorly designed and aimed solely at squeezing as many vehicles through as possible; that casualties at these sites are almost seen as inevitable.
“Transport for London can't keep on encouraging people to walk and to cycle without addressing the serious issue of safety around these junctions first - it's completely irresponsible.
“These junctions are a hangover of 1960s-style urban design; today they don't work for people who need to drive in central London, they don't work for people who use public transport and they are downright lethal for people on foot or on bike."
All bike riders are welcome, “whether you're a fast cyclist or slow, young or old… You'll meet other London cyclists, hear how people have been working together to change our streets for the better, and you'll even get to see some famous London landmarks along the way.”
Mark adds: “We'll take photos of each junction and record the experience of riding these locations; we'll rate each junction for safety, comfort, air quality and cycle facilities and pass our findings directly to Transport for London - that way the next time the terrible and the inevitable happens at one of these junctions TfL can't say they weren't warned.”
Due to the Lord Mayor’s Show taking part on Saturday, the ride won’t be able to cross Blackfriars Bridge to visit Bank, one of the ten junctions on the list, but it will make a detour to Kings Cross, where student Min Joo Lee was killed last month.
A full map of the route can be found here, and the ride will end at the Look Mum No Hands cycling café on Old Street on Saturday afternoon. Anyone with questions should email cyclistsinthecity [at] gmail.com.
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.