Friday, 15 November 2013

Dark week for cyclists in the capital

5 cyclists in the past 9 days have been killed in collisions with heavy vehicles in London.

This is an abysmal statistic, but from reading several stories and comments posted on them, it seems that a lot of people unfortunately aren't surprised, especially at the scene of one of the accidents, Bow roundabout. Read this post from the As Easy As Riding A Bike blog and tell me you know what is going on. After reading that, I can understand why people aren't surprised.

Of course it is a terrible tragedy for all concerned. A lot of questions need to be asked to determine what happened in each case. When I've been thinking about it, I've asked:

  • Was the cyclist taking a risk?
  • Were they using lights? (most accidents have happened at night)
  • Was the driver concentrating properly?
  • Was anybody confused by the traffic signals?
  • Is the cycling infrastructure at fault?
There's many more and if you're a cyclist, you'll have probably been thinking your own questions.

The last one is the one that is causing the most controversy at the moment. The fact is, cycling infrastructure is particularly poor. I mean, go back to that link and have a look again, or visit this link.

Infrastructure on Cycle Superhighway 2 (Image taken from Cyclists in the City)
Today everybody's favourite bumbling buffoon of a politician, Boris Johnson has gone some way to upset many cyclists. Normally an advocate of cycling, Johnson has been quoted in the news as saying "there's no amount of traffic engineering that we invest in that is going to save people's lives", hinting that unless people obeyed the laws of the road, this would continue to happen. So far there isn't anything released to say why the accidents occurred, so these comments are extremely ill-judged.

At the end of it all, this problem will not be easily solved. To put proper infrastructure in place will take billions of pounds, years and years of road works. In that time, more cyclists will, unfortunately, be killed. The only thing that can help at the moment, in the present time, the next time you are riding your bike or driving your car is to be vigilant. Don't take risks. Be seen when riding at night. Be patient, a few seconds longer will not hurt.

EDIT:

Just flicking through Twitter, seeing reports that ANOTHER cyclist is reported to be killed:

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