An esimated 2,000 cyclists lay down in the street outside Transport for London (TfL)’s headquarters this evening, in protest at six cyclist deaths in two weeks.
The ‘die-in’, which was organised via Facebook and flyers handed out on the street, was staged to send a message to TfL, who have been criticised for London’s Cycle Superhighways, notably CS2, on which three of the cyclists were killed.
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After cyclists lay down in the road in chilly winds for 15 minutes the names of pedestrians and cyclists killed on London’s roads were read out, along with poetry, music and a speech by the mother of a young girl killed by a lorry in Birmingham two years ago.
Paul Kitson, a CTC Lawyer at solicitors Slater and Gordon said: “I’m here as a mark of respect to people who died and to put pressure on TfL to see what can be done about it. I think it shows that people care and I think the Mayor will take note if votes are on the back of it. I think the cyclist lobby has a huge vote now: there are 570,000 cycle journeys every day in London.”
Cyclist Nick Lawler, at his first protest in adulthood, said while lying in the road: “This is surreal, but I’m here because it could happen to any of us. I’m not a fan of cycle lanes and segregation but something has to be done about the lorries. I think they should be restrictions of HGVs during rush hour – it is a no brainer.”
Andrew Bowman, for whom this was also a first cycle protest, had been given a flyer on his way to work. He said: “We are concerned about cycling safety, we get it every day cycling in massive amounts of traffic and massive lorries and varying amounts of attention paid to cyclists and provision could be better for cyclists, particularly at huge junctions.
“The way this has been organised shows that cyclists are civilised . It shouldn’t be seen as some sort of battle between different types of road users but every day you see examples of confrontation,” he added.
A protest organiser said at the event: “We are building on the work of other campaigns and we are bringing it to TfL’s doors. Stop killing cyclists is just a snappy slogan. This affects everyone, whether they walk cycle or drive and roads should be safe for everyone who uses them.”
Jane Davis, of Lewisham Cyclists, said: “I think TfL needs to radically rethink the way they design their roads. We have got a huge roundabout in Lewisham which they are redesigning; it is just not going to be safe. We think it is a wasted opportunity we think it could be designed the Dutch style but it is more of the same multi lane stuff, cyclists squeezed into ASLs and feeder lanes.”