Be the change; why your help is needed on Blackrfriars Bridge

Tomorrow cyclists and pedestrians from all over London will take to Blackfriars Bridge to ensure their voices are heard and to push for a safer bridge for everyone. 

No one takes to the streets to protest lightly, but we've tried petitioning, lobbying, having motions passed at the London Assembly, picketing and pestering.  But when all other democratic options have been exhausted sometimes you have to break an egg to make an omelette.  There will be politicians and Assembly Members from all of the political parties, and the Police will be supervising what will be a well-marshalled protest ride (no kettling here, thanks!)

The diggers and bulldozers are standing by, and fresh new paint is already appearing on the bridge.  Before long, if Transport for London have their way the north junction of Blackfriars Bridge will have a faster speed limit (up from 20mph to 30mph), narrow sub-standard cycle lanes, pedestrian crossings removed and move space allocated to cars.  And all this on a bridge where bicycles make up the majority of traffic at peak times!  London Cycling Campaign have done an excellent job of showing what this junction should look like instead of what TfL has planned, with space and priority for pedestrians, safe and comfortable wide space for cyclists and space for public transport and cars.  As Mike Cavenett of the LCC explains over on the Guardian bike blog; "At the London Cycling Campaign, we're frustrated because the £550m Blackfriars development has shamefully neglected the safety of cyclists, even though we make up one-third of peak-time road users. We think the tens of thousands of pedestrians who will soon use the station daily have got a raw deal too, as the prioritisation of motorists has subsumed the needs of everyone else...
..The kerbed bike lanes we've used are wide enough for overtaking, meaning everyone gets to work on time, and confident cyclists can ride with motor traffic if they choose. Significantly, cyclists and motor vehicles always turn in separate streams, eliminating danger.

A pleasing by-product of our double-T design is that it creates a wonderfully open and accessible pedestrian space outside the Unilever building (750m2 we calculate), which could accommodate caf├ęs, parkland, sculptures, or other people-friendly spaces that make urban life so interesting.

It's saddening to look at the inaccessible triangle of despair that TfL has so optimistically landscaped in its "visionary" pictures. Who'd want to have a picnic there?"

If this sounds like the sort of London you want to cycle through, walk about and live in, rather than the soot-filled roaring traffic chasm that Blackfriars Bridge is about to become it's time for you to be the difference..

5 ways to be the change; help with a final push in the Battle for Blackriars:

1.  Talk to your friends, family and colleagues!
You may have been following the Blackfriars saga intently since it all kicked off back in February, but chances are your friends and colleagues might not even know what is going on.  Explain to them how unfair and dangerous TfL's plans are.  Explain that despite lobbying and campaigning the wishes of walkers and cyclists are being ignored.  Then ask them to come with you after work on Wednesday. (the demo starts by a pub - what more convincing could they need?!)

2.  Tag the bikes in your office! 
Why not download these handy little handle bar flyers here and stick them on the bikes in your office, or to the bikes on the rack outside in your lunch break?  It only takes 5 minutes!

3.  Share! Share! Share!
See that excellent article over at the Guardian Bike Blog plugging the flashride and showing London Cycling Campaign's designs for the junction?  Tweet about it to your followers, stick it on your Facebook.  E-mail it to everyone you know saying that you hope one day your cycle home will be as nice as this!

4.  Tweet tweet!
Some people will be nervous about coming to the flash ride by themselves, perhaps wary that they may not know anyone there, or might even be alone.  Use Twitter to reassure them!  Tweet "I'll be at Blackfriars Bridge tomorrow night! "  Eventually so many of us will be doing this that those who are nervous are bound to know someone else.  What's more it will help to encourage others to come along too!

5.  Actually come to the flashride!
I know it sounds obvious, but some of you will probably be thinking that the fact that this is going to be a big ride is somehow a 'given'.  Trust me, it's not - getting people to dedicate some of their free time on a windy bridge on a cold October night is not easy.  Be the change, make sure you are there!

See you on the bridge!

Blackfriars Bridge cycling charge! from ibikelondon on Vimeo.


remerson said...

Hi, do you have those handlebar flyers in any form other than an Google Docs, by any chance? Google Docs is blocked by many companies (sigh).

Dave said...

try this:

ibikelondon said...

Thanks gents! See you tomorrow!

Jono said...

Sorry not to be able to make it tomorrow, stuck elsewhere in the world. Good luck with the ride, I really hope there are a huge number of you down there. I have an idea about a photograpy project I will message you on flickr when I get back.



ibikelondon said...

Good to know you'll be with us in spirit Jono, even if you can't make it. You can contact me via my About Me page here:
...which I tend to check more regularly than my Flickr mail. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Jez Andrews said...

Wow I never realised how many commuters there are in London using bikes.....thats fantastic! sorry to far away to come give you the support but I really hope it goes well!


mikeLCC said...

There are A4 handlebar flyers at

"We want people-friendly streets"

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the updates Mark: I've been watching, like a lot of cyclists, to see what comes of all this. Good on you all for not backing down or giving up.