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Cycling in sadness

After the sixth death on a bike in London in the last two weeks, it is easy to lay blame...

...on the Mayor, the hauliers, the cyclists or even the onset of dark evenings but none of this is necessarily helpful. Andrew Gilligan the GLA’s cycling commissioner has issued statements saying all parties must exercise more care and that the police will have a presence in every major route this week. Boris Johnson has also fought back stating that safety levels have improved in recent years. 

When interviewed, a spokesperson from Sustrans was cautious about causes of the recent upsurge in incidents. Simon Jenkins in the Evening Standard even gave us some stats about how low cycling death rates are in London compared to rest of UK and suggested we should be wary of being too reactive.

If we look at other statistics we know that deaths from respiratory causes linked to London’s traffic pollution are far higher than from cycling – some 4,000 deaths a year at the last count by the Mayor. Whilst these numbers are clearly significant they are poor comfort for the families and friends who have lost people over the last few days. Encouraging more people to cycle would help cut some of that air pollution and improve all our health but people also need to believe it is safe and easy to do so.

There is going to be a cycling protest and vigil outside Transport for London offices on Blackfriars Road on 29 Nov...And the London Assembly’s Transport Committee is inviting cyclists to respond to a survey on road safety for its next meeting in December. You can respond to the survey here.

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