Tag Archives: cycling

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.

Elephant & Castle Die-In – Thank Yous

Donnachadh McCarthy writes…

Stop Killing Cyclists hold their third die-in at Elephant & Castle outside the Strata building (photo by Sean O'Sullivan)
Stop Killing Cyclists hold their third die-in at Elephant & Castle outside the Strata building (photo by Sean O’Sullivan)

Just a quickie to say a huge thank you to everybody who showed up to our Direct Action Protest at the Elephant yesterday.

(UPDATE: media coverage of the event is HERE)

I thought it was one of our best events to date and believe a really powerful, moving and effective message was sent to TfL, Southwark and London – no more killing!

Today’s event involved a huge array of people voluntarily helping in one way or another – remember today’s event was purely grassroots organised with no money and no organisation – so I think what you all managed to create was awesome and I am know that Steve joins me in saying a huge thank you.

Just look at this picture!!! It summarises so well what is needed in a moving, graphic and dignified direct-action protest.

One quick piece of feedback – Will and Luke urged me to take on Simon Hughes MP, the Minister of State for Justice and Civil Liberties, who showed up at the event and was speaking to Live TV.

Loathe to allow him to give a government spin on what was happening, I interrupted his interview gently and challenged him live on air about his and his party and his administration’s record, which in my view is just as bad as Val Shawcross’s Labour GLA and Southwark Council.

As a result he invited us to come into his offce next week to go over our entire list of demands at national and local level.

Yes We Can!

(UPDATE: more thank yous after the video – scroll down)

YouTube: Donnachadh quizzes Simon Hughes MP


More Thank Yous…

Before we move on from this week’s Direct Action at the Elephant, it’s important to thank the many many people who helped make it the great and important success that it was.

Fred Smith – who set up FB event and organised the chalk and so much else.
Andrew D Smith – for printing and handng out the flyers.
Abby Taubin – for flyering and reading out the Heaney poem.
Will Nickell – for bringing a cycle trailer of stuff across London and ensuring victims had a voice at the event.

Dave Rinaldi Alexandra Dingreville Richard Paul Brocklehurst Sonia Quintero John Garthwaite, UCL students etc etc for help with flyering

Paul Brocklehurst for sorting out emergency tape and chair!
Krisztian Hajdu for banner and roundels
Graham Neale and Luisa Pretolani for sorting out overhead camera crew
Chris Lemin – for bringing PA and Mike
Andrew Reeves-Hall – for doing great stuff on website
Steve for doing the flyer graphics
Nic Fripp – for loan of cycle trailer
Luke Holland for helping me organise lane drawing
Rhiannon Redpath for asking 38 degrees to FB event
Jenny Jones and Natalie Bennett for tweeting the event
ITV, London Live, Evening Standard, South London Press, Road CC, Southwark News etc for letting their audiences know about protest beforehand.
Tom Kearney for his moral support
David Fonseca for the posters
Karl Roche for useful profile graphic
To all who tweeted and emailed and Facebooked the event including the enthusiastic Mad Munk
The mums and dads who brought their kids
To all who wrote powerful messages on the drawn in cycle lane
To the many talented photographers who ensured our visual message was recorded and seen by many.
To the Met police who helped the public get past the protest and who allowed us chalk the cycle lane without hassle
And most importantly to the women, men and kids who turned up and lay down in Direct Action protest including people who cycle, walk and drive.

Yes You Did – And Yes We Can! 

We are hugely grateful for what all you guys did – this event and all Stop Killing Cyclists activities are organised with no funding and no professional staff – so it is you guys who make the miracles possible.

Big thanks from

Steve and Donnachadh

Children and families ‘Pedal on Parliament’ in their thousands

Thousands protest at Pedal on Parliament (photo by Chris Hill).
Thousands protest at Pedal on Parliament (photo by Chris Hill).

On Saturday, people by their thousands took to the streets of Edinburgh to protest road danger and demand that their elected representatives make substantial changes to the transport infrastructure and laws.

This year’s event came just weeks after the driver of a 55 foot articulated lorry was acquitted of causing the death of Andrew McNicoll as he cycled to work along Lanark Road in January 2012.

This is the third year for the Pedal on Parliament protest – each attracting more people than the previous one. Estimates are that about 4500 people protested this year – many of whom were families: FAMILIES TO THE FORE FOR THE THIRD PEDAL ON PARLIAMENT.

CHILDREN TELL POLITICIANS WHAT THEY WANT

Children address the protesters and politicians at PoP 2014 (photo by Chris Hill).
Children address the protesters and politicians at PoP 2014 (photo by Chris Hill).

One speaker at the protest in front of Holyrood was 8 year old Daniel Brennan who told the crowd:

“I’d love to be able to go for a bike ride without going in the car to cycle with my family. It would be great if Scotland was like Amsterdam where everyone can cycle with their friends.”

7 year old Katharine Dorman demanded:

“Let’s make Scotland a cycle friendly country!”

And 11 year old Kyle Thomas said:

“I believe cycling is the future for Scotland… Cycling down the high street I thought to myself that this is how cycling should be, there wasn’t a single car on the road but lots of cyclists as it should be.”

NO LONGER ABLE TO BE IGNORED

Transport Minister Keith Brown at Pop 2014 (photo by Chris Hill).
Transport Minister Keith Brown at Pop 2014 (photo by Chris Hill).

The growing visibility meant that government could no longer ignore the voices being raised: Transport Minister Keith Brown attended the protest to defend his government’s policies.

He announced £4.5 million over 2 years for promoting cycling training.

Not surprisingly, the organisers were quick to point out that:

…educating children to cycle on the road is not the best use of money, compared with starting to invest in a cycling network where they can actually be safe, and more importantly feel safe, as they get around on two wheels.

There’s no training in the world that will guarantee a child’s safety around HGVs and fast-moving cars – and as long as children need to mix in traffic to ride their bikes, then parents will be reluctant to give them the freedom to ride.

Thankfully, that message is being heard and taken on board by a growing number of politicians – the organisers are continuously updating their list of supportive MSPs and quotes: POLITICAL RESPONSES.

Keith Brown, the Transport Minister, addressed the crowd at PoP and said in part:

“We are making progress on infrastructure with more than £32 million spent on infrastructure… It will take time for Scotland to become as safe as Amsterdam. We have to change driver behaviour as well… we need to have the same attitudes as Scandinavian countries aiming towards zero deaths.”

MEDIA COVERAGE

The protest was front page news and received wide coverage in the media – a full list is being updated by the PoP organisers: MEDIA COVERAGE.

The BBC gave it headline coverage on their TV broadcast and news website: Thousands take part in Pedal on Parliament event in Edinburgh.

The organisers continue to post updates using their Twitter account: @PoPScotland. Their website is at PEDALONPARLIAMENT.ORG

WRITE TO YOUR POLITICIANS

Lynne marches in Pedal on Parliament 2014.
Lynne marches with councillors and MSPs in Pedal on Parliament 2014.

A leading campaigner for reducing road danger is the step-mum, Lynne, and father, Ian, of Andrew McNicoll – who was killed in a collision with a 55ft long articulated lorry in Edinburgh as he commuted to work on his bicycle.

The driver of the lorry was recently acquitted of causing his death: Man cleared over death of cyclist Andrew McNicoll.

Lynne wrote on her blog (HERE) following the PoP 2014 protest:

“it was so good to see politicians in some numbers with us: MSP Alison Johnstone, Cllr Cameron Rose, Transport Minister Keith Brown, Cllr Andrew Burns.

I asked the crowd and I ask you too now – if your politician was there, thank them and if they weren’t there please do write to them and tell them what we want:

No more cyclist deaths;

Better infrastructure;

Presumed liability;

for anyone of any age to cycle safely.

A time-lapse photo of people cycling to the protest is HERE.