More than 20,000 people in less than 48 hours have signed a petition calling for action from Boris Johnson, following a spate of cyclist deaths across the capital.

The petition, titled ‘Save our Cyclists’ was launched on Wednesday at 5pm, while, in 24 hours, via the London Cycling Campaign 5,000 people have emailed Boris Johnson to act on cycle safety.

The deaths of five cyclists in nine days has sparked an outpouring of concern and frustration over cycle safety in the capital, worsened by the Mayor’s recent comments that appear to blame cyclists for breaking the law.

Women’s rights campaigner and cyclist, Rhiannon Redpath, who started the Save our Cyclists campaign, said: “Signature by signature, we are gathering the outrage that cyclists and others feel about the lack of action from City Hall both in response to the past week, and their slow progress on the Mayor’s ‘Vision for cycling’.”

“The petition calls for Boris Johnson and Andrew Gilligan to vastly accelerate their plans for cycling in London. We want to see some action. Not in 6 months, not in 12 months, but now. We want to see a a time-bound, costed and accurate plan of the works they are planning to undertake in London over the next 12 months – and the changes that cyclists can expect to see. We will not be stifled by the constant repetition that £1bn is being invested in cycling for London, when that investment is due over 10 years,” she added.

Both petitions calls for urgent, timetabled action on Cycle Superhighway 2, where three of the five deaths occurred.

However, the London Cycling Campaign specifically asks for the immediate installation of protected space for cycling at Aldgate where two of the recent fatal accidents occurred, along with pedestrian and cycling-specific traffic lights across Bow roundabout where a cyclist died on Wednesday morning.

The London Cycling Campaign says Bow roundabout’s ‘early start’ cyclist traffic lights are potentially lethal, and that CS2 from Aldgate to Bow is “utterly substandard”.

LCC Chief Executive Ashok Sinha said, “We warned the Mayor about the potentially lethal flaws on Superhighway 2 over a year ago. The Mayor must now signal that he wants to eliminate such avoidable fatalities by transforming CS2 – including the junctions at Bow and Aldgate – into an example of the highest standards in cycle safety.

Following the deaths Boris Johnson said: “If cyclists don’t follow the rules there is no amount of traffic engineering that is going to save them.”

London Green party politician Jenny Jones responded by saying ‘blaming the victims is the lowest form of politics’.

The Save our Cyclists petition can be found here.

The London Cycling Campaign is urging people to write to Boris Johnson calling for specific actions to protect cyclists.

Related links

London cycling in crisis: Now is the time for change

Fifth cyclist killed in London in nine days

  • Liz Evans

    Cyclists are balanced people on two wheels, London was built prodominently in the Victorian era before cars and lorries arrived on mass, Deliveries & big vehicles should happen before shops open/close or at weekends or make it compulsory and open half of the pavements for safe cycling. I have just returned from New Zealand where cyclists have to wear a helmet by law, it is spot the car on their roads !! Akin to Britain 20 years ago before capital cities were overwhelmed by powered vehicles, supercycle highways would help but so would making train travel affordable and less crowded so that it is more pleasant for all. perhaps we need more advertising to make everyone more respectful and considerate when getting to work, rubbish in bins like the good old adverts and more thunderbirds underground parking/cycling as we haven’t any spare land in London.

  • Ken Evans

    These issues are particularly acute in London. The road layouts and designs need to take account of bike users. Public transport such as railways should encourage cycle use. The education and testing of new motorists could include issues about cycling.

  • Robert

    Richard, motorists would still have a negative attitude to cyclists even if every cyclist on the road never broke a traffic law, wore a helmet, dressed from head to toe in day-glow yellow and, a Jeremy Clarkson ‘advised’ them to do ‘Shut up when they were cut up’. Reason is that hostility to cyclists is primarily to do with the fact that they are simply ‘different’ from the motoring norm, something that is exacerbated in a hierarchical, status-orientated country such as the UK. (Just look at attitudes to other social out-groups in the UK, especially as reflected in the pages of the UK’s most popular on-line news site, The Daily Mail, for other examples.)………………………………..There is ample research backing up the observation that cyclists are treated with little care and consideration largely because they are members of a social ‘out-group’, ranging from the Transport Research Laboratory’s report ‘Drivers’ perceptions of cyclists’ to more recent work published by Ian Walker of the University of Bath. Fact is the level of law breaking amongst motorists is way higher than that amongst cyclists, with most drivers breaking the speed limit at some point every time they drive, but as the members of a dominant ‘in-group’ this behaviour is excused and the behaviour of the most reckless drivers is not held to be representative of that of all drivers, as is often the case with cyclists. Unfortunately the attitudes towards cyclists in the UK is largely a reflection of the darker side of human psychology, as Willam Storr noted when commenting on that TRL report back in 2006…………………………………….Quote: “A recent report for the government commissioned by the Transport Research Foundation found that drivers treat cyclists as an ‘out-group’. According to social-identity theory, this means that there is a multi-forked bias against us, which takes the form of that pernicious trident of hate – discrimination, stereotyping and prejudice………………………So, in the head of a typical driver, subconsciously and automatically, things like these happen: the behaviour of the worst cyclist is used to judge them all; any cash the council visibly spends on them seems maddeningly unfair; any accident is the cyclist’s fault; when making a decision, the motorist puts the needs of other motorists first; any behaviour at all that is ‘different’ to the driver’s own is wrong. And so on. These are precisely the same primeval mental sparks that lead to football hooliganism, gang warfare and racism. Provocative and hateful newspaper reports about ‘two-wheeled terrorists’ merely stir up tribalism – basic, brutal and bad. It’s the most dangerous and atrocious human impulse there is.”

  • Richard

    Although the figures you state look appealing, Robert. I would suggest they only measure the end result. What they fail to state is the contributing factors to motorists attitude to cyclists and their lack of concern for them. I would suggest Julio’s observations contribute to motorists poor attitudes and, therefore, the accidents cyclists experience.
    However, to take polarised views is never going to solve the issue. It will take all sides working together, and quite a bit of money.

  • Robert

    julio, when you say “Cyclists Should… be Stopped and Fined by Police when they Disrespect Traffic Laws ! That Will Help More on Stop the Killing that anything Else !” you are simply wrong! Transport for London’s own research found that in only 6% of cases where a cyclist was a casualty had the rider broken any traffic law immediately prior to the collision. In comparison, in 56% of cases where a cyclist was a casualty a motorist had broken a traffic law. Similarly, in 2009 the Transport Research Laboratory found that in only 2% of cases where a cyclisr was seriously injured in a collision with other road users was the rider disobeying a stop sign or traffic light held to be a likely contributing factor by the police. Similarly, wearing dark clothing at night was regarded by the police as a potential contributory factor in just 2.5% of incidents, and a failure to use lights a factor in only 2% of cases. This same study also found that in 60-75% of cases where a cyclist was killed or injured the driver of a motor vehicle was significantly or wholly responsible. Clearly, it is driver behaviour that needs to be targeted!

  • julio

    I Cycle daily ,
    and around me I see Cab and Bus drivers that Act as if they were Driving a War Tank ,
    But Also and Most Important I see Cyclists That act With no respect For Traffic ,
    and Act as if They Were the “center of the Universe” !
    Cyclists Should Learn to Look Around them at all Time ! (Not just Ahead)
    and be Stopped and Fined by Police when they Disrespect Traffic Laws !
    That Will Help More on Stop the Killing that anything Else !