Die-in to be held outside TfL HQ to protest cycling deaths

Stop Killing Cyclists have organised a die-in outside TfL's headquarters on Friday evening to commemorate the 21 cyclists who have died since November 2013

London cyclists die in protest outside TfL, November 29 2013

Cycling safety campaigners will lay 21 coffins outside TfL's headquarters on Friday evening to commemorate the 21 cyclists who have been killed whilst cycling in London in the past two years.

Six cyclists died in just one month in November 2013, leading to the first "die-in" organised by cycling campaign group Stop Killing Cyclists (SKC).

>>> Gallery: Stop Killing Cyclists' first organised die-in

The third annual demonstration will begin at 5:30pm on Friday evening and speakers will include Tom Kearney (opens in new tab), who punctured both his lungs and was in a coma for two weeks after being hit by a bus on Oxford Street in December 2009.

Also speaking will be Professor Brendan Delaney, Chair in Medical Informatics and Decision Making, and Director of the Centre for Patient Safety and Service Quality at Imperial College London, and Peter Bartley of Westminster Living Streets.

At 6pm, all in attendance will be asked to take part in a die-in, where people will lie down on the ground, with or without their bikes, to symbolise those who have lost their lives cycling in the capital.

A tombstone symbolising "the estimated 24,000 Londoners who have died from transport-related pollution and inactivity diseases over the two years" will also be placed outside TfL HQ.

London cyclists die in protest outside TfL, November 29 2013

Candles are laid at SKC's first die-in protest in November 2013.

SKC have sent a list of ten policy challenges (opens in new tab) to the main five candidates for the 2016 London mayoral election, calling on them to pledge 10% of TfL's budget to cycling by 2020. The current figure of 1.4% was branded "pathetic" by SKC's co-founder, Donnachadh McCarthy.

SKC co-organiser Nicola Branch said: “Any mayoral candidate serious about tackling the shocking scandal of over 12,000 transport-related Londoner deaths each year and the hundreds of thousands of Londoners living with terrible transport-related diseases will back our '10 for 2020' Cycling Safety Challenge.”

Green Party candidate Sian Berry and independent Rosalind Readhead supported the call for 10% of TfL's budget to be spent on cycling, while Liberal Democrat candidate Caroline Pidgeon promised at least 3% and more if cycling exceeded 3% of traffic. The two favourites, Sadiq Khan (Labour) and Zac Goldsmith (Conservative) did not make any specific pledge about TfL's budget.

SKC also called on the mayoral candidates to:

  • support a comprehensive grid of protected cycle routes across the TfL road network;
  • a 20mph speed limit across the capital, excluding motorways;
  • the closing of Oxford Street, and other major squares and shopping areas, to traffic;
  • blind-spot safety equipment to be installed on all new and existed HGVs, buses, coaches and tipper trucks entering London;
  • the extension of the Mini-Holland programme to all London boroughs;
  • an end to time-based incentives for London buses (under Quality Incentive Contracts (opens in new tab)) and HGVs performing deliveries;
  • the introduction of the so-called Idaho law, which allows cyclists to turn left when traffic is free at junctions;
  • two places on TfL's board to be awarded to cyclists;
  • the renaming of TfL to the London Cycling, Walking and Vehicular Transport Authority.

Sadiq Khan has said he will support the introduction of the Idaho law, the extension of the Mini-Holland scheme across London and the appointment of two cyclists to TfL's board. Both he and Zac Goldsmith support the closing of Oxford Street to traffic.

Die-in protest in Camberwell, South London. Photo by Tom Kearney/Twitter

Die-in protest in Camberwell, South London, in June 2015. Photo by Tom Kearney/Twitter
(Image credit: Tom Kearney/Twitter)

In his reponse to SKC, Goldsmith said: "As long as we have large infrastructure projects like Crossrail, the cycling budget will always be a smaller percentage for obvious reasons. In addition, unlike other forms of transport, cycling incurs very little operational expenditure, which is one of the many reasons it needs to be promoted. We need to invest properly in cycling, but the 10% commitment is not, in my view, realistic."

Khan responded to SKC: "Along with tackling our city’s polluted air and encouraging more Londoners to take up cycling as a healthy alternative to driving, making the capital’s roads safer is one of my top priorities.

"To that end, I am happy to pledge a significant increase in investment for cycling infrastructure, as well as promise to look carefully at taking tipper trucks and HGV’s off London’s roads during rush hour."

SKC organised a similar protest in June this year, following the death of Esther Hartsilver on May 29 in Camberwell.

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