Borough-by-Borough London Die-In

Adam Jukes writes…

Cycle the London Boroughs Route
The route cycled, which covered all the boroughs of London (click for larger image).

On Saturday 28th June we* Cycled The Boroughs.

We cycled every one of London’s 33 boroughs (lets count City of London as a borough for the purposes of this write up!).

London Boroughs Die-Ins 2014 Wave (resized)
Seven people cycled the 95-mile route around and through London.

We’d done this before, in 2010 some friends and I mapped and cycled the shortest route for the first time- a 95 mile ‘e’ shaped ride starting in Hammersmith and Fulham. A few of us repeated the ride in 2012 and as 2014 rolled round it felt time to do it again.

My partner, some friends and I had attended the first Stop Killing Cyclists ‘die-in’ outside the TFL offices in November and lay down on the pavement at Elephant in Castle in May. My friend Chris, who rode the first ‘Cycle The Boroughs’ with me in 2010 suggested that our 2014 ride would be a great opportunity to promote the Stop Killing Cyclists campaign.

EVERY BOROUGH

And so it came to be that seven cyclists and friends, four from the UK, a Pole, a German and an Italian set off from Willesden Junction at 7.15am on a bright Saturday morning to stage a public ‘die-in’ in every London borough.

London Boroughs Die-Ins 2014 Sun (resized)
There was rain. There was sun. There was fun; with a serious message.

The route carried us along canal towpaths, through parks, on designated cycle routes and paths and along many minor and major streets and highways, sampling just about every sort of urban cycling experience there is to offer.

We began heading east from Hammersmith, a long straight route through the central boroughs north of Hyde Park, along an eerily empty Oxford Street, through Old Street, Victoria Park and past the Olympic site.

By Redbridge the sun bailed out behind an ominous looking cloud just as I swerved to narrowly miss a car door being flung open across the cycle lane. On reaching Havering we’d staged eleven die-ins, cycled about 25 miles, made a pit stop for espresso’s and more than burnt off breakfast.

DELUGE

Our long broad sweep through the northern boroughs saw us cycling on plenty of red routes, happily lost in a few woodlands and a stretch along the river Lea. The showers were at first refreshing, then chilling, obscuring glass on route and

Richmond
The group held a ‘Die-In’ in each borough that they visited.

slowing our pace through very heavy traffic in Barnet and particularly aggressive driving in Finchley.

After our Ealing ‘die-in’ we peddled south through the western boroughs before crossing the river at Twickenham through another deluge.

THUNDEROUS ROAR

Bexley
A rainbow at Bexley.

A welcome breather as we cycled through Richmond Park soon gave way to the thunderous roar of the A3 as we began to tick off the southern boroughs.

Passing through Merton, Sutton and Lambeth we knew that the greatest climb awaited; at Crystal Palace. Thankfully the rain had stopped by this point and soon as were atop the hill we were speeding down the other side towards Sydenham.

The sun returned for the first time since Waltham Forest giving us a much needed boost for the last stretch. The section of the Green Ring we cycled to the South of Catford was a joy and a break from the traffic, noise and pollution that had plagued us on much of route.

13 HOURS AND ONLY 1 FLAT TYRE

Approaching our final borough Bexley brought the unpleasant ride along the A20 and our only flat tyre of the day, just 3 miles before our finish at Sidcup Station.

The journey had taken us over thirteen hours, slowed by the many traffic lights we encountered meaning that parts of the group were forever getting stuck behind a red while that others were left waiting up ahead.

We completed the cycle on a collection of road bikes, hybrid bikes and mountain bikes.

The cycle highlighted just how far there is to go in creating a safe cycling environment in London and the lack of improvement in cycling infrastructure in the 4 years since we first completed the route, which is even more scandalous considering the huge increase in numbers of cyclists in this time.

– Adam


*The riders were: Adam Jukes, Jodie Cross, Jacob Przeklasa, Craig Horsfall, Laura Horsfall, Fabrizio Stefanoni, and Chris Speirs.

John Lewis, DO NOT pass the buck on cycling safety.

Petition on 38Degrees websiteA member of Stop Killing Cyclists has created a petition (click HERE) calling on Justin Laney, General Manager Central Transport at John Lewis Partnership to remove the dangerous stickers recently affixed to all John Lewis vans and trucks.

The stickers say: “Cyclists: DO NOT pass on this side”

According to Guardian reporter Peter Walker, they are currently seen on kerb-side of all John Lewis vans & trucks.

The stickers are on vehicles irrespective of whether it has any relevant ‘blindspot’, and issue their instruction regardless of road situations.

The petition:

Petition – London Mayor Must End London’s Lethal Truck Epidemic Now

Fred Smith writes…

Petition on 38Degrees websiteThis petition calls for action on the HGVs & buses which pose the greatest danger to cyclists and pedestrians.

After another truck killed a cyclist at Vauxhall, Stop Killing Cyclists calls on the London Mayor to take immediate action to stop the carnage.

The London Mayor must urgently focus resources on tackling London’s horrifying dangerous truck epidemic.

In just one pilot project by the Metropolitan Police last winter they found 70% of targeted trucks stopped were driven illegally.

We’re launching this petition to call on the mayor to step up enforcement of truck safety with immediate effect.

____

Vauxhall die-in protestStop Killing Cyclists held a demonstration at Vauxhall Cross in December 2013, following the 6 awful November tragedies, calling for greater enforcement of truck safety regulations and emergency segregated cycle lanes to be installed at left-hand turn junctions like Vauxhall Cross and Elephant & Castle.

We have submitted proposals for Elephant and Castle which are under consideration and a scheme for major improvements at Vauxhall has been promised this summer.

There are also issues with the design and legislation around these vehicles, but that isn’t within the power of the mayor to change so isn’t included in the petition. However it is something we will be campaigning on.

Press Release – Mayor Must End London’s Illegal Truck Epidemic Now!

Press Release Header with logoMayor Must End London’s Illegal Truck Epidemic Now!

Online Petition Launched by Stop Killing Cyclists

After yet another cyclist was killed by a truck at Vauxhall Cross, Stop Killing Cyclists have today (22nd June 2014) launched a petition calling on the London Mayor to set a target of reducing the illegally driven trucks on London’s roads down from its current epidemic levels (estimated to be over 30%) to a maximum of 1%.

The petition also calls on the Mayor to:

  • Provide the funding to achieve this to the Metropolitan Police Enforcement Unit
  • End the dangerous driver time-penalty systems used by TfL Buses and trucks used on the Crossrail Project.

The full text of the petition is below.

It is estimated that up to 30% of all trucks being driven in London were in an illegally dangerous state or were being driven illegally.

Stop Killing Cyclists petition author Fred Smith said:

“After yet another preventable killing at Vauxhall Cross we are calling for thousands of Londoners to sign this petition to pressure the Mayor to end the illegal truck epidemic on London’s roads and set a 2 year target to reduce illegality to a maximum of 1%, from its current estimated level of 30%”.

Donnachadh McCarthy, Stop Killing Cyclists co-founder said:

“Stop Killing Cyclists held a demonstration at Vauxhall Cross in December 2013, following the 6 awful November tragedies, calling for greater enforcement of truck safety regulations to protect London’s pedestrians and cyclists, yet almost nothing has changed. Dangerous illegal trucks keep putting Londoners lives at risk.

London’s vulnerable road users cannot tolerate TfL’s complacency any longer. The Mayor must target the killers not the victims.”


Stop Killing Cyclists - logo with website in redDate: Sunday June 22nd 2014
Press Contact: Donnachadh McCarthy
Telephone: 07947 8842 99

Note to editors:

1. Stop Killing Cyclists is the direct action protest group set up after the recent spate of cyclist killings in London. They arranged the mass Die-In at TfL HQ where 1,500 cyclists laid down in the road in protest at lack of safety investment in London.

2. The online petition is hosted by 38 Degrees; Hotlink to the online petition: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/London-Mayor-Must-End-Lethal-Truck-Epidemic-Now

Vauxhall die-in protest3. Link to pictures and press coverage of December’s Vauxhall Cross Die-In Protest:

http://stopthekilling.org.uk/VauxhallDemo

4. This press release was revised on 22nd June to add a quote from the author of the petition and to provide a clearer hotlink petition web address (item 2, above).

Full Text of Petition

“Following the tragic death of yet another cyclist at Vauxhall under the wheels of a HGV truck, Stop Killing Cyclists call on the London Mayor to urgently increase enforcement of Truck Safety Laws and set a target of pushing the level of illegally driven or in an illegally dangerous state trucks down below 1% by the end of 2015, from the current estimated 30% level.

The Mayor must:

  • Increase the funding to the Metropolitan Police Truck Enforcement Unit to achieve this target
  • Amend all TfL Bus and HGV contracts (including Crossrail) to ban the practice of penalising drivers using time or load-based key performance indicators (KPI)
  • Ban the use of iBus to text TfL Bus Drivers while they’re driving and introduce safety performance KPIs which reward drivers for driving safely

Why is this important?

In London over half cyclist fatalities involve HGVs, despite HGVs making up only 5% of traffic [1].

The Metropolitan Police found in one targeted action that as few as a third of lorries met safety regulations [2]. The police must step up enforcement efforts to catch dangerous lorries before they kill more Londoners.

TfL and other bus and truck companies must stop using incentives which encourage dangerous driving, a practice which has been linked to the disproportionate number of accidents involving HGVs, especially those from the construction industry [3].

A TRL study showed texting whilst driving could be more dangerous than drink or drug driving [4]. Therefore it is unacceptable that TfL is using a text based system to communicate with bus drivers while they are driving.

With one cycling death a month so far in 2014 and even more pedestrian deaths, urgent action must be taken to prevent further fatalities on our roads.”

Press Release – Minister for Cycling Agrees to Consider Call for National Cycling & Highways Agency

Press Release Header with logo

Minister for Cycling Agrees to Consider Call for ‘National Cycling & Highways Agency’

Ahead of today’s (June 11th) All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) bike ride, the co-founders of Stop Killing Cyclists Steven Routley and Donnachadh McCarthy, met with the Minister for Cycling Robert Goodwill MP on Monday.

He agreed to consider amendments to the new Infrastructure Bill that would ensure cycling was included in the remit of the proposed re-structured Highways Agency.

Donnachadh McCarthy said,

“We welcome the Minister’s commitment to considering such an amendment from MPs. It is crucial that a National Cycling & Highways Agency takes the lead for funding and overseeing the creation of a National Cycling Infrastructure.”

Steven Routley said,

“Cycling must be included in the title and remit of the reformed Highway’s Agency.

For too long cycling provision has been the invisible Cinderella of Britain’s transport investments despite its enormous potential to reduce epidemic levels of diabetes, lung and heart diseases from traffic pollution and obesity, improve economic competitiveness through congestion reduction, making our roads safer for pedestrians and other road users and reducing carbon emissions.”

Other items discussed during the Stop Killing Cyclists meeting with the Minister for Cycling were:

1. The creation of a national version of TfL’s Mini-Holland cycle funding scheme for councils across the country.

2. The introduction of improved national standards for truck safety equipment on existing trucks.

3. Raising the penalties for texting and speaking on a mobile phone whilst driving, to the same severity as drink driving.

4. Increasing UK cycling funding levels to modern Dutch levels.


Date: Wednesday June 11th 2014
Stop Killing Cyclists - logo with website in red
Press Contact: Donnachadh McCarthy
Telephone: 07947 8842 99

Note to editors:

1. Stop Killing Cyclists is the direct action protest group set up after the recent spate of cyclist killings in London. They arranged the mass Die-In at TfL HQ where 1,500 cyclists laid down in the road in protest at lack of safety investment in London.

2. The new Infrastructure Bill proposes to turn the Highways Agency into an arms-length government-owned company.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/infrastructure-bill

3. A study by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) found that a driver’s reaction times slowed by 46% when he or she was making a call on a hand-held mobile, by 37% when texting while driving and by 27% during hands-free calls. For those on the drink-drive limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, reaction times were reduced by 13%. For those who had used cannabis it was 21%.
http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/Politics/article1420279.ece

4. Britain currently spends a tiny £2.20 per person on cycling infrastructure annually compared to the Dutch £24. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/article3789794.ece

5. Link to pictures and press coverage of Stop Killing Cyclists Direct-Actions: http://stopkillingcyclists.org/

Press Release – Elephant & Castle Emergency Cycling Safety Proposals Revealed

press release header Elephant & Castle Emergency Cycling Safety Proposals Revealed

Date: 5 June 2014

Stop Killing Cyclists have today released their detailed proposals to install emergency cycling safety measures at the Elephant & Castle southern junction, following their direct action there on May 21st.

The proposals, which have been submitted to TfL Managing Director of Surface Transport, Leon Daniels and the Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan, were prepared in conjunction with professional traffic engineers. This was done in response to Leon Daniels’ commitment to treat our proposals seriously.

Click to read the report (pdf format)
Click to read the report (pdf format)

The proposals, included in a report prepared by Stop Killing Cyclists member Fred Smith, provide for safe segregated cycle lanes at the junction’s left-hand turns and also provide safer routes for right-hand turns. (Report is HERE.)

As the plans use existing infrastructure at the recently refurbished junction, estimated costs are in the low thousands.

Fred Smith, the Stop Killing Cyclists‘ report author said:

“Implementing the signs, lines and small number of separators we propose would be straightforward, very cheap and, we consider, could be achieved within a week.”

Donnachadh McCarthy Stop Killing Cyclists co-founder said:

“Stop Killing Cyclists called for emergency by-passes at the junction in March, prior to last month’s tragic killing of cyclist Abdelkhalak Lahyani. Hundreds of cyclists lay down on the ground at our Direct Action Die-In Protest calling for urgent action at this junction.

We are calling on TfL to implement these practical, low-cost, low-tech proposals as fast as humanly possible. Every day’s delay is another day with unprotected cyclists risking their lives as they pass through the junction”.

He added,

“If successful, as we believe they will be, such low tech, low-cost, emergency measures should be rolled out urgently by Boris Johnson across all of London’s dangerous junctions wherever there is sufficient space for both cycling and pedestrian infrastructure”.

Press Contact: Donnachadh McCarthy
Telephone: 07947 8842 99

UPDATE: Various media outlets picked up this story – thank you – some are listed under ‘Follow-Up’ in our article: Elephant & Castle Die-In – Media Coverage

Stop Killing Cyclists - logo with websiteNotes to editors:

1. Link to pictures and press coverage of May’s Elephant and Castle Draw-In and Die-In Protest by Stop Killing Cyclists:
http://stopkillingcyclists.org/elephant

2. Stop Killing Cyclists is the direct action protest group set up after the recent spate of cyclist killings in London. They arranged the mass Die-In at TfL HQ where 1,500 cyclists laid down in the road in protest at lack of safety investment in London.

3. The London boroughs, including Southwark where the Elephant & Castle junction is situated, are responsible for 95% of London’s roads, whereas the London Mayor and TfL control the remaining 5%, i.e. the large arterial routes.

4. Southwark Council has not installed a single metre of segregated cycle-lane in the four years since the last election.

5. A recent FOI survey by Stop Killing Cyclists revealed that 24 London Boroughs had installed ZERO metres of segregated cycle-lanes since the last elections in 2010.

Press Release – London Mayor Must Tackle London’s Lethal Truck Epidemic

press release headerLondon Mayor Must Tackle London’s Lethal Truck Epidemic

Dated: Monday June 2nd 2014

As yet another truck kills yet another cyclist on London’s roads Stop Killing Cyclists calls on the London Mayor to take immediate action to stop the carnage.

The London Mayor must urgently focus resources on tackling London’s horrifying dangerous truck epidemic.

In just one pilot project by the Metropolitan Police last winter they found 70% of targeted trucks stopped were driven illegally.

It is estimated that up to 30% of all trucks being driven in London were in an illegally dangerous state or being driven illegally.

When Stop Killing Cyclists met with the Metropolitan Police in February we were told a recruitment moratorium was in place in the truck enforcement team and in the Roadsafe dangerous driving reporting scheme.

Donnachadh McCarthy, Stop Killing Cyclists Co-founder, said,

“Our hearts go out to the family of yet another cyclist killed on London’s roads.

Stop Killing Cyclists held a demonstration at Vauxhall Cross in December 2013, following the 6 awful November tragedies, calling for greater enforcement of truck safety regulations and emergency segregated cycle lanes to be installed at left-hand turn junctions like Vauxhall Cross and Elephant & Castle.”

He added:

“The Mayor must immediately tackle the illegal dangerous truck epidemic on London’s roads and set a 2 year target to reduce illegality to a maximum of 1%, from its current estimated level of 30%.

It is time to call an end to this complacency and false priorities. The Mayor must target the killers not the victims.”

Press Contact: Donnachadh McCarthy
Telephone: 07947 8842 99

Stop Killing Cyclists - logo with websiteNote to editors:

1. Stop Killing Cyclists is the direct action protest group set up after the recent spate of cyclist killings in London. They arranged the mass Die-In at TfL HQ where 1,500 cyclists laid down in the road in protest at lack of safety investment in London.

2. The London Boroughs including Lambeth where today’s tragedy took place are responsible for 95% of London’s roads, whereas the London Mayor and TfL control the remaining 5% i.e. the very large arterial routes.

3. Lambeth Council has not installed a single meter of segregated cycle-lane in the 4 years since the last election.

4. A recent FOI survey by Stop Killing Cyclists revealed that 24 London Boroughs had installed ZERO meters of segregated cycle-lanes since the last elections in 2010. See http://StopKillingCyclists.org.uk/WallOfDeathFoi

5. Link to pictures and press coverage of December’s Vauxhall Cross Die-In Protest: http://StopTheKilling.org.uk/VauxhallDemo

6. Pictures shared with Stop Killing Cyclists by Paulius Štutas: