The event was very well attend — thank you to all who came out and especially to those who stepped in at the last minute to ensure the event went ahead smoothly when organiser James Gower fell ill the evening before.
Soon after a few words about the gyratory, and the ride will be said.
At 6:10pm we will hold a two minute silence for Deep Lee, killed on the gyratory in 2011. There will be a floral tribute, so this can be laid during this time.
Straight after we will head out onto the gyratory; ride on this route until about 7pm or 7:30pm.
Thank you for the backing behind this. It is my first time organising anything like this, so here is hoping everything goes to plan!
James Gower, who is a member of Stop Killing Cyclists, is organising a Flashride Protest on Tuesday at Kings Cross.
The protest is because despite numerous submissions to the TfL proposals to re-configure the junction, it no-way approaches Go Dutch standards.
Almost ZERO suggestions from cyclists were taken on board. For example, there are NO protected Left-Hand-Turns and despite FIVE lanes for traffic on Grays Inn Road, NO segregated space has been allocated to cycling.
We cycled every one of London’s 33 boroughs (lets count City of London as a borough for the purposes of this write up!).
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
*The riders were: Adam Jukes, Jodie Cross, Jacob Przeklasa, Craig Horsfall, Laura Horsfall, Fabrizio Stefanoni, and Chris Speirs.
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)
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.
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.
Remember: this protest is taking place at the southern intersection, next to the Strata building.
Dignified and Peaceful
Some family members of those killed and injured may be attending – so we are asking that people treat the event as a dignified peaceful Direct Action expressing our anger but our peaceful determination to get emergency action to protect cyclists and pedestrians asap from Southwark Council and TfL.
Approximate timings of the event today – rain or shine. Subject to change depending on situation, weather and media goals.
The Die-In may take place before the Rally at 6pm as London Tonight, Evening Standard, Live TV, South London Press and Southwark News have all said they want to cover the event – possibly on their evening broadcast.
The police have been very helpful liaising to ensure its safe.
NOTE: Timetable may vary slightly from that published. Be there for 5:30p and then you won’t miss a thing!
5:00 Pre-event meet-up for volunteers to sketch the outline of where a segregated cycle lane should go
5:30 Start of “Draw-In” event. Protesters invited to colour in the cycle route in whatever way they feel moved to -whether images or messages. We must be respectful as the protest is a result of Abdelkhars Lahyani’s terrible death last week.
6:00 Die-In (bring something soft for lying on the ground!)
6:10 Rally – speech by Steve. Poem to be read by Abby. Special message to the protest from Thames Street victim Bart Chan to be read out by Will. Possibly other statements.
Over 350 cyclists have already signed up to attend a protest at London’s most dangerous junction this Wednesday, following the death of Abdelkhalak Lahyani last Monday at Elephant & Castle. Protesters are so frustrated at the lack of urgent action that they will chalk in the route of the segregated cycle-lane that Southwark Council and TfL failed to include in the recent multi-million junction refurbishment, despite the calls by campaigners to do so.
“This was not an accident but a designed-in killing. TfL insisted on lethally prioritising traffic speeds through the junction and Southwark Council’s Transport Plan opposes segregated cycle-lanes.”
“Southwark was warned that its policy of using cyclists bodies to slow HGV trucks and buses would end up in carnage on our streets. It is time now for Southwark & TfL to send in emergency crews to install the safe segregated left-hand turn by-passes that campaigners have demanded for years.”
Stop Killing Cyclists have consulted professional traffic engineers and they confirm our proposals are sensible, practical and cost less than £10,000. Action is now needed before yet more lives are needlessly sacrificed and families cruelly torn-apart.
1. Stop Killing Cyclists is the direct action protest group set up after the spate of cyclist killings in London, in November 2013. They arranged the mass Die-In at TfL HQ where 1,500 cyclists lay down in the road in protest at lack of safety investment in London.
2. The London boroughs, including Southwark, 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. Southwark Council has not installed a single metre of segregated cycle-lane in the 3 years since their Head of Planning, Simon Bevan announced a policy of using cyclists to slow the traffic.
4. The Southern Roundabout where the tragedy took place was resigned in 2010. The redesign was planned to speed traffic flow and failed to install any adequate physical protection for cyclists, despite TfL being told their designs failed to protect them.
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
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.
A number of our supporters recently posted news articles about how a company called Wayman Forensic Expert Witnesses specialises in getting dangerous drivers off the hook in court and preventing insurance companies having to pay compensation to the victims.
This ‘expert’ opinion has included such excuses as the sun was in the driver’s eyes, or that it’s perfectly fine to overtake dangerously close to cyclists, contrary to the Highway Code.
On Friday we launched a polite but forceful internet campaign to stop them boasting on social media sites and elsewhere about how they win cases for their dangerous drivers at the expense of dead and maimed cyclists and pedestrians.
Supporters posted messages of condemnation on social media sites; other than a short-lived tweet about being “trolled”, Wayman did not directly respond to the concerns raised.
Wayman Twitter page, before it was removed
Within hours they had removed their Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as the long list of cases on their website.
Hopefully after this attention, Wayman Experts will review the effect their testimony has on the victims of road violence, and consider using their experience to ensure dangerous drivers are successfully prosecuted, not excused.
The problem is not just with one firm though. The court system in the UK is not serving the victims of road collisions or their families; too often dangerous driving is excused by judges and juries.
That is why presumed liability is one of our demands to improve road safety. This would place the default responsibility on the vehicle driver when there is a vehicle/pedestrian or vehicle/bicycle collision, as implemented in most European countries.