Safe cycling in London is closer with the plan for bike superhighways. But they need to get a move on!
A couple of months ago I wrote about the proposed new East-West and North-South Cycle Superhighways in London. They are supported by the London Cycling Campaign, Darren Johnson (London Assembly Greet Party member), Microsoft CEO Michel Van Der Bel, and even London Mayor Boris Johnson. All of them want to see safe cycling in London made possible. The Microsoft CEO wants his employees to be able to cycle to work in London safely.
The need for the cycle superhighways to enable safe cycling in London was highlighted again this week on 16 January, when a woman cyclist was seen by many eyewitnesses to be “crushed” under a lorry at the busy Elephant and Castle circle.
This busy circle is at one end of the proposed cycle superhighway in London.
Luckily this cyclist is not going to die.
However, a woman cyclist in her thirties was not so lucky in 9 April 2009, when she was crushed under the rear wheels of a truck. The woman died at the scene, highlighting the need for safe cycling in London.
And a 26-year-old woman was killed last year when she collided with a left-turning lorry at Ludgate Circus. In April 2014, Victor Manuel Ben Rodriguez died at the same place while cycling to a job interview.
Judging by some of the responses to my post on the cyclist who was knocked down and then assaulted by a white van driver, some people might just say that all of these cyclists should have just cycled more safely and defensively, and avoided getting crushed or killed.
I disagree. I find the London circles scary even in a car. They are not safe places for cyclists, period. Safe cycling infrastructure needs to be built so that cyclist don’t have to be paragons of incredibly good cycling every second they are on the road – just to survive. Safe cycling in London will be made possible by good infrastructure, not by every cyclist somehow achieving complete perfection every second.
Giant trucks, lorries and vans are dangerous for people on bikes, and should not be sharing the same road space. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time – but cyclists are not encased in 5 tons of steel, so we sometimes pay for minor mistakes with our lives.
I hope that that those new East-West and North-South Cycle Superhighways in London get built very soon, so we can stop reading about these awful accidents. We need to have safe cycling in London, just as we need to have safe cycling in all cities.
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