The night we swooped on Blackfriars Bridge...

You came in your many hundreds... old cyclists, young cyclists, people on road bikes, upright town bikes, people with dogs and kids in trailers or on cargo bikes. Lycra clad or cycle chic, two wheels or even three, there must have been close to a thousand angry Londoners on Blackfriars Bridge on Friday night telling Transport for London that their designs - and their excuses-  just aren't good enough any more.  You arrived via Twitter, via Facebook, by email, by press coverage, by good old fashioned word of mouth.  London Cycling Campaign, the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, Living Streets, and various itinerant bloggers like myself were all united in spreading the word, and the important thing is you all heard the message and were there.

As I stood with the BBC camera crew ready for my highly uncomfortable minute in the media glare, I couldn't help but feel extraordinarily proud of all the people who'd come along to make their voices heard.  I've never seen a bike protest in London that big before, and it just goes to show the strength of feeling amongst everyday and ordinary people that plans like those of TfL just aren't acceptable anymore.

Look, Mum, I'm on the telly!

Pictures and videos speak a thousand words, so I'll let them do the talking, but all I wanted to say really was a very, very BIG "Thank You".  Thank you, London cyclists, you've started the ball rolling with a bang in putting on to the agenda the fact that we need to designing streets for people and putting safety and sustainability first. 

ITV London news covered the protest live, too.  That's us, on our bikes, filling the entire bridge.

The trick now is to keep up the pressure.  Some cyclists are going back on Monday morning to ride together across the bridge again, in the hope of raising awareness.  There's already mutterings of a massive, pedestrian and cycling rally in September calling for people-led places to be put first.  The important thing is, we must keep the pressure on.  On Friday night it may have felt as though we were winning the battle, but we certainly haven't won the war.  Suggestions, as always, are most welcome.

Thank you,



Photo 1 & 2 via Zefrog on Flickr Dino photo unknown

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Anonymous said...

I'll be back there Monday morning, as per the facebook group.

David Hembrow said...

Excellent turnout. Well done all who are involved. Let's hope it makes TfL listen.

ndru said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ndru said...

Shame I missed it. Will be there on Monday though. You stood your ground well on both occassions - if this was decided on looks alone - we'd have already won.

Ben Brown said...

Just phenominal amount of support for this cause. Once we connected up with critical mass and headed off again, it seemed like it was way over a 1000 cyclists. Total gridlock was inevitable. Really need some placards stating why we are doing this to explain to the masses what's going on (and the pissed off motorists). But in general it was mental, never seen a cycle protest like it. Well done!

Azor_rider said...

Politicians are intimidated by people 'in their face'. Usually they make decisions and the public don't react. So the key to moving this forward would be getting as many people as possible into the public gallery of the London Assembly. Use the public question time to demand better conditions for cyclists on Blackfriars bridge.

jamesup said...

Great work Mark, and a flawless performance on the interviews, Plowden sticking to his pedestrian increase point so keep hammering away at why does that mean faster and more traffic lanes.

Explaining what it is about to people who see it is hugely important, something we could do perhaps with ads in Metro or the Standard?

Does the LCC have money to get stuff like that done? I'm very happy to donate to specific action, I'm sure others are too.

Kim said...

Hopefully this represents the re-introduction of local democracy, something which has been dying in this country for the last 30 years!

Mike Smith said...

Fantastic! Over a 1000 cyclists! How can they not listen? I think Ben Azor and jamesup have good ideas how to get it into the public view more.

In Edinburgh the council are just about to introduce 20mph speed limits on some of our busy roads. But they might change their mind! If anyone reading this lives in Edinburgh, write to your councillors (they meet tomorrow to vote on this!). see

(sorry to hijack your blog - but it's on a similar topic ;).

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on all the hard work so far. You've really got the ear of a lot of London cyclists and I think there's a lot to be done with that. Endless little demonstrations would probably become easily ignored, but a momentum of numbers will begin to make a difference. Call on as many commuting cyclists as possible to shift their daily route to incorporate Blackfriars Bridge. I know it may seem counterintuitive to ask riders to head into the belly of the beast, but I reckon increasing the cycle traffic there will encourage other traffic onto other routes. If bridge congestion increases then the some of the response will be for people to seek other means to travel.

As Eric Penalosa says, sometimes a traffic jam is your friend.

If there are some riders lacking confidence, then perhaps some a shuttle collection point where people can group together to ride across en masse.

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