Press Release – A Terrible Place to Walk or Cycle

Press Release Header with logo (Abby Taubin)

A Terrible Place to Walk or Cycle;
Local Death, Local Action

* For immediate release *

For the fourth time this year, Stop Killing Cyclists, the cycling activist group, will commemorate with a Vigil and Die-In a person killed, while riding a bicycle, by a lorry being driven through our streets.

The person being remembered is 36 year old Claire Hitier-Abadie, who died when her bicycle was hit by a Cross Rail lorry as she cycled through the road works at Bressenden Place near Victoria Station on Thursday, 19 February.

Stop Killing Cyclists will start their protest outside Westminster City Hall in Victoria Street, gathering to music from 5pm on Monday 2nd March 2015.

From 5.30 there will be speakers who campaign for safer streets for people who walk and cycle in Westminster. These include Tom Kearney, Oxford Street Collision Survivor & TfL Bus Safety Campaigner; Caroline Russell, Walking and Cycling campaigner; speakers from Westminster Living Streets, and representatives from Road Peace.

Westminster City Council is notorious for poor cycling provision, and must take responsibility, along with Transport for London and the construction industry, for this latest tragedy. This area, outside one of the busiest stations in London, is terribly dangerous for people on foot or bicycle.

At 6.30, the vigil for Claire will begin, still at Westminster City Hall rather than on the dangerous corner of Bressenden Place where she died.

In this, sadly now familiar ritual, short speeches will be offered along with a candle-lit ghost bike before everyone lies on the ground, with their bikes, to silently commemorate Claire Hitier-Abadie.

Traffic will be brought to a standstill for two minutes, and all will be given a space to contemplate the terrible price paid by cyclists and pedestrians through traffic violence in London.

Stop Killing Cyclists calls on Westminster City Council and Transport for London to truly recognise that cycling must be a priority for road design and transport planning if London is to become a safe place for everyone to cycle, not just the fit and the brave, but the pensioner, the child, the parent taking children to school, the ordinary person going about their daily business.

Transport for London must appoint cycling representatives to its board, to balance the representatives of the HGV and taxi industries. It should allocate 10% of its budget to cycling provision, and ensure that every facet of road maintenance, building and planning considers the needs of cyclists.

Westminster City Council must take immediate action to provide protected lanes for people who cycle in this busy area. If our streets are allowed to become construction sites, as has happened outside Victoria Station, then construction site standards must apply to vehicles on them, with restrictions on movements, careful checking and provision for those who must pass through.

Vigil Co-organiser Abby Taubin said:

“We must put an end to these terrible tragedies and invest in making our roads safe for all who use them. “

Ends.

Release Dated: 24 February 2015

Event Listings:

 


Stop Killing Cyclists - logo with website in red

Notes:

Stop Killing Cyclists is the direct action protest group set up in November 2013 after the terrible spate of cyclist killings in London. They arranged the first mass Die-In at TfL HQ where 1,500 cyclists laid down in the road in protest at lack of safety investment in London.

Photos and information about previous vigils can be found on our website at http://StopKillingCyclists.org. All photos on the website are available for media use – with credit given to the photographer and Stop Killing Cyclists.

Representatives are available for interviews and media contact by emailing contact@StopKillingCyclists.org or by calling 07947 884299.

We would like to highlight this video about road danger in Westminster; it was published in January by Rod King of the 20’s Plenty campaign: http://youtu.be/-sNImwSaC1k

One thought on “Press Release – A Terrible Place to Walk or Cycle”

  1. Echoing Kate and Cynthia’s deeply personal and emotive presentations at the CLOCS 4 event on Thursday, we need greater transparency in the way information is released about how and why crashes happened and ways to use that information to make real changes – for example banning left turns if necessary at junctions where this is a hazard with high levels of risk. Its already been done following the death of Ellie Carey, but sadly not after the death of Wan Chen Chang so that Francis Golding died in an identical crash 5 years later. This still dangerous junction should immediately have a left turn ban for large vehicles, but as far as I read the Camden Rule 28 response not one mention of a clear and positive action (3 right turns via Theobalds Rd Proctor St and High Holborn if you need to have it spelled out) – just pages of waffle (as Boris did for Brian Dorling’s Rule 28 report – see later)

    The culpable stupidity of having CS2 designers ignoring the choice of 70% of cyclists (who used the safer route over the flyover) and sending 3 cyclists to their deaths through identical crashes on a roundabout where 100% of the motor traffic WILL drive directly through the route taken by the cyclists (not a % that might turn left as at most junctions) Here the only means of managing that risk of collision is a naieve belief that all road users will comply precisely with the traffic signals. The very fact that during most busy periods the circulating traffic which fails to stop at the stop signal runs on for 4 seconds – and more, wiping out the theoretical safety feature of a 2 second ‘head start’ for cyclists who are then cut-up by faster vehicles which take barely 3 seconds to get to the same space from the rear stop line.

    I have a clear picture of the sequence which killed Venera M through the sequence which involved the vehicle in front ot the truck that hit her. The vehicle’s existence was confirmed by the Police’s own evidence but a vehicle which has never been identified or traced nor its interaction with Venera if she had been at the advanced stop line. The basis of the inquest verdict just doesn’t stack up – a fit cyclist typically doing over 15mph on that route hit from behind by a truck that the Police proved to have barely reached 13mph moving from a stand fully laden, but the driver then taking 49 metres to stop after the impact. The noise of the truck, the noise from the A12 traffic may have masked the sounds of mangling metal, shouts, screams? of the crash? Yet no one actually did objective measurments of noise levels, checked for any impairment to the driver’s ability to hear noises outside (windows closed, radio on blocked ears?) even if only to find out why that driver, like so many others who have killed on similar crashes failed to hear the obviously wrong noises. Then perhaps we might learn a bit more about making sure all drivers have full use of their ears as a safety system, as much as the campaigns call for cyclists to also stop using headphones.

    Basically anyone who uses a busy road, on foot or using any vehicle MUST have the primary safety systems of seeing and hearing working fully to avoid colliding wth others – just stand at a busy rail station and watch how those who are using their eyes and ears compensate for the idiots buried in their i-phones walking around blind and usually deaf, and watch with mild amusement (as no serious injury normally happens) as two i-phone users walk straight into each other.

    Cynthia called for a Highways version of the RAIB, and it is very telling that every one of the three cyclist fatalities investigated by RAIB (since it was formed in 2005), where cyclists rode out on level crossings in front of trams and trains, has clear evidence that the deceased was shut-off from the real world danger by the used of headphones, and often vision reducing clothing. perhaps if we had this open transparent, and objective system, freely available (online reports from RAIB) for road crashes there would be a greater understanding from all sides, for those at greatest risk to make sure they are well aware of what is happening around them and a greater pressure for action on the roads authorities to make the changes clearly spelled out by an objective crash report, to remove or manage the hazards delivering the root causes of the original event.

    Read this http://www.raib.gov.uk/publications/investigation_reports/reports_2013/report012013.cfm and please tell those you love and want to see survive to stop wearing earphones when cycling and walking, AND turn the ICE systems down when driving (and drive with the window open too) so that your ears can do the job they are meant to do, and protect you from those things you don’t SEE coming.

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