** Cycle safety protest TONIGHT, Wednesday 13th November, 6.30PM, Bow roundabout. See here for details. **
This morning an as-yet unidentified female cyclist was killed by an HGV at the notorious Bow roundabout in East London. She's the fourth cyclist to be killed in London in just 8 days in the bleakest week for cycle safety in recent memory.
This morning's fatality at Bow happened at the same time as two other serious cycling incidents in London, one involving a male cyclist in his 20s who was left with "life threatening injuries" following a collision involving an HGV in Millbank.
Another cyclist died yesterday after being hit by a bus in Croydon.
On Friday last week, prominent urban planner and former chair of CABE Francis Golding passed away after being hit by a left turning coach on Southampton Row in Holborn last Tuesday. And last Tuesday, 62 year old Brian Holt was killed by a left turning lorry on Cycle Superhighway 2 in Mile End cycling home from his job as a hospital porter at Mile End Hospital.
The woman who died this morning was the 3rd cyclist to die on Bow roundabout in a crash involving a lorry in 2 years following the deaths of Brian Dorling and Svetlana Tereschenko there in 2011. She is the 5th to die on Boris Johnson's "flagship cycling facility" Cycle Superhighway 2.
And these deaths come on top of a series of shocking injuries in separate incidents. This morning a woman was hit by a bus whilst cycling to work across the Vauxhall Bridge. According to The Times on Tuesday a 46-year-old cyclist was taken to hospital in a serious condition after another collision with a bus in Kennington, South London, while one cyclist, a woman in her 20s, was trapped under a car in Spitalfields and had to be rescued by 10 passers-by who lifted the car off her and rolled it onto its side.
Last Wednesday, a woman in her 30s suffered serious leg injuries when she her bike was dragged under the wheels of a lorry near Oxford Circus.
Whilst the details of this morning's collision have not yet been investigated, a pattern of needless death is very clear:
- There is a significant problem with Heavy Goods Vehicles in central London "interacting" with more vulnerable road users.
- There is a clear problem with the current design of existing "Cycle Superhighways", many of which are little more than blue paint.
- There is a clear problem with the speed and volume of traffic being encouraged through the heavily compromised design of Bow roundabout.
Transport for London and the Mayor have called this morning's death "tragic", and of course have said they are going as fast as they can to make London's roads safer for people on foot and people on bikes.
The problem is, the reality just does not match the rhetoric.
TfL won't even start consulting on a new east to west safe cycle highway until next year. Their proposal for a similar north-south safe cycling route from Kings Cross the Elephant and Castle has no date for delivery on it. In King's Cross, where a bright young fashion designer was crushed to death by an HGV in 2011, they have so far done nothing to change the fatally flawed design of the road where their consultant's report said casualties "were inevitable".
Boris has been muttering about possibly introducing a consultation about removing more dangerous lorries from our streets. Action so far? None.
At protests following a death in Holborn the Mayor's cycling commissioner said that people had been called to the streets "under false pretences" and that action by TfL would be seen "soon"; that was 3 months and 5 cycling deaths ago.
At Bow roundabout they were warned by the London Cycling Campaign that their designs for a "bike head start" traffic light system did not work, and there is a long and deplorable history of warnings about the safety of pedestrians and cyclists at Bow being ignored.
As Bow roundabout currently stands it is a car-centric 1960s design with no safe crossing points for pedestrians, and no safe cycling infrastructure, with high speeds, high traffic volume and a significant risk of left turning vehicle crashes.
And now another person has died here.
The London Cycling Campaign has organised a flash protest to take place at Bow, tonight, gathering at 6PM for a 6.30PM start. EVERYONE is welcome; cyclists, pedestrians and other concerned road users. Please bring lights, as it will be dark, and your anger and voices. Together, we need to ensure that TfL cannot pay lip service to our safety any longer but ACT TODAY.
What can you do?
- On foot, by bike, by bus or by train, come to Bow roundabout for 6PM for a 6.30PM start TONIGHT (Wednesday 13th November)
- Bring home-made banners, pictures and printed slogans. (Think "Demolish Bow now" or "Space4Cycling" or "No More Lethal Lorries!")
- Tell your friends, colleagues and loved ones what you are doing, and encouge them to come to.
- Spread the word on twitter, facebook and your social media channels. We don't have long!