The Times – Save our Cyclists

Yesterday The Times launched a campaign to make cycling in cities across England safer after one of the Times’ reports was struck by a lorry only yards away from her workplace in November last year, she has been a comma since.

I was asked to give my opinion on current road conditions for cyclists, and whilst I think the roads are a safe place, there is obviously an issue on our roads.

In the last quarter of 2011 we saw an 8% rise in cycling deaths or serious injuries in London over 2010’s last quarter whilst deaths and serious injuries of car drivers, motorcyclist’s and pedestrians continued to fall.

Compare Paris to London, a city which has 3,000,000 more people than us and is known for its crazy drivers. How many cycling related deaths where there in 2011?

The bike accident is not what concerns us most and in 2011, there were no death

Source >

There where 0 cycling deaths in Paris throughout 2011, where as in London, there where 16 deaths and many more seriously injured. Why do we allow these deaths to continue? It seems that the public think these sorts of deaths are acceptable, nothing happens to make cyclists safer on the roads!

In the past decade, cyclists killed on our roads outnumber servicemen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan by a factor of two.

Any sort of death of a person is a tragic incident, just think about how you would feel if a family member was suddenly no longer with you! We can do something about deaths on our roads, make them safer and all road users will have the benefit of being able to travel without the thought of it being there last.

The Times raise an 8 point manifesto of things they want changed, and whilst I don’t agree that every point is going to make a difference, they are certainly pointing in the right direction and having such a large newspaper behind us is a great thing.

In the first day of the campaign more than 5,000 people pledged their support with more than 300 writing to their MP’s and many more showing support on twitter.

14 thoughts on “The Times – Save our Cyclists

  1. This campaign has got a lot of traction since it’s launch, it’s just a pity it has taken the deaths of 16 cyclists before people will listen 🙁 just hope something good comes out of it…

  2. Hi Gaz
    I think it’s great that this campaign of the Times will at least spread awareness of cycling deaths on the roads. I’m not sure on your thoughts and I haven’t done much research to see how The Times came to their 8 points but it seems to me that number 3 is a crucial first step:

    “3.A national audit of cycling to find out how many people cycle in Britain and how cyclists are killed or injured should be held to underpin effective cycle safety”

    I think only when you have this kind of information do we know if some of the other points are significant factors (e.g. trucks, dangerous junctions (how has the figure of 500 been decided upon?, why not 250, why not 1000?), 20mph speed limit in residential areas)

    Like most things, a lot of these changes are going to cost money and presumably The Times isn’t footing the bill for these so councils are going to need hard data to even consider changes because these things won’t be cheap.

  3. I know its not a popular view point but I still think one of the main problems we have is lack of eduction for cyclists. You can see how clear that is when you look at some of the clips from ‘Silly Cyclists’. Sure there are some junctions in the capital that aren’t cyclist friendly, but a lot of the time the blame needs to be shared with badly positioned cyclists. Yes opinions of cyclists (especially from taxi drivers, minicab drivers and white van drivers) also needs changing but that is coming with having more cyclists on the road, they have no option than to become more tolerant.

    Perhaps a condition of the bike to work scheme should be that you have to take your new bike on a cycle training course.

  4. I try to cycle whenever possible, but I think I experience just as many problems from other motorists when I’m driving — tailgating at 50mph (in a 50 limit) is a good example. If anything people are more careful around cyclists, but then I don’t live or work in the City and the rules seem to be different in London. There’s far too much aggro, impatience and rudeness on the roads full stop. Towards pedestrians, cyclists, people in smaller cars…

    I’d be interested to know whether the “Think Bike” campaign has reduced motorcyclist deaths. Modifying the way motorists think and behave on the roads will make far more difference to the safety of cyclists in both the short and long term than infrastructure changes.

  5. This is very interesting to know. I had no idea that Paris was a place that would have zero deaths. Traffic there seems hectic, although I never actually rode on a bike there. What could be so different about it that leads to so fewer deaths.

  6. amazing stat about paris – london really needs something done about the cycling environment (I’m pretty sure that London has a higher popluation than Paris though..?).
    The number of cyclists has shot up since I started riding 20 years ago to a phenomenal level, but still the same crappy roads.

  7. This is usually Grauniad territory, as the Murdoch press is usually unhappy about covering such marginal issue, but I suppose – tragic though this is – it is one of their own, so a good reason for highlighting this, and for that it gets my thumbs up. The problem now is how to maintain the initiative.

  8. Hi Gaz

    I share your views about the TImes campaign. I wish it luck and will support it but have my doubts how much it will change UK roads. We will see.

    One small pedantic point. The unfortunate journalist that inspired the campaign is not and never has been in a comma. I understand she was in a coma for a while though! LOL

  9. I cycled London to Paris 2 years ago, not an organised trip, just 3 off us that decided to do it.
    We left from St Pauls and arrived at Notre Dame, so pretty much city centre to city centre.
    I consider myself to be an experienced cyclist in traffic and take my own safety seriously, but London felt dangerous whilst Paris just felt busy. I felt that drivers gave us more space and just that little bit more time in Paris than London.
    As for the ride through the French countryside from Boulogne to Amiens and then Paris, well that was an absolute delight!
    I’ve also cycled in Germany, Holland, southern France. and some of the busiest cities in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia. The bottom line for me is that my impression of other countries vehicle drivers is that they appreciate that if they hit you, they will injure you and quite possibly kill you and that is exactly the attitude that is missing in Britain.
    Over here, the attitude is “how dare you get in the way of my expensive car!”
    I have been knocked off by being rear ended by a van and when I reported it to the police purely for insurance purposes, I was asked “what was I doing on the road?” by the desk sergeant!
    and when I was knocked off and hospitalised by a van doing a U-turn when I was overtaking a line of stationary vehicles, the police let me off with a warning for “filtering”.
    It’ll take a long time to change those sorts of attitude, but with more people cycling it changes their own perception of other road users and rubs off on the people who know them.

  10. Let’s hope attitudes do change. We have seen new cycle lanes added in our town, but somehow they seem to make cycling even more difficult and dangerous. For example, cycle lanes which have concrete bus stops posts in the middle of them – with the inevitable bus queue alongside. Or a cycle lane in the countryside with Give Way markings every few hundred metres so that a cyclist has to slow down for every gateway, driveway and bridle-path. Such things do not reassure me that the planners knew or cared what it’s like to cycle. I guess they were rather more worried about meeting some target of cycle lanes miles.

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