Cyclists have finally taken to protesting after the TfL Blackfriars Bridge fiasco

When TfL announced a victory for cyclists on Wednesday over the Blackfriars Bridge changes few were clapping. Encouraged by the LCC, The iBikeLondon blog and Cyclists in the City (as well as tweets on the London Cyclist twitter!) a protest was organised for 8.30am on Blackfriars Bridge.

Blackfriars bridge protest

It appears the turnout at the Blackfriars Bridge protest has been very good. It is encouraging to see so many cyclists are following the social media sites and able to respond so quickly when TfL takes a decision that majorly discourages cycling.

The picture above taken by twitter user Floella Webb shows the 20mph signs that will soon be removed to make the bridge a 30mph route with few provisions made for pedestrians and cyclists. This despite a recommendation by City of London that all bridges in central London have a 20mph limit.

If you were at the protest then we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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30 Responses to Cyclists have finally taken to protesting after the TfL Blackfriars Bridge fiasco

  1. Mike (chthonicionic) 20/05/2011 at 9:23 am #

    I’m over on the far right-hand side being hassled by a grumpy motorcyclist who was revving his engine a lot. He was being held up by another motorcyclist to whom I’d been talking and who agreed that 30mph was totally unnecessary and sends the wrong message. He seemed to be enjoying stopping revving-boy from coming through.

    It seems good to focus on a single aspect of what they are doing wrong here rather than water it down with “well, the lanes are a bit narrow, the two lanes going west are hard to cross” etc when trying to get the public on your side.

    • Andreas 20/05/2011 at 9:33 am #

      Good to see support from fellow road users (of course there would be one guy who would be a bit of an idiot!). I agree that single issue is usually much more “media” friendly. Hopefully, we’ll see some coverage of this one.

    • Reuben 20/05/2011 at 9:35 am #

      I found that revving guy hilarious, got in front just to be stopped by the bike-police then cut across two lanes of cyclists. Smooth.

      Really good to be on the streets as well as writing letters, TFL staff are rude when trying to get past, saying excuse me wont hurt anyone, but maybe they will try again a bit harder next time…

  2. Corin 20/05/2011 at 9:32 am #

    I was near the front on the outside – can’t see me in that picture.

    Very much enjoyed the protest. Was great that the LCC organisers/stewards took charge and gave instructions pretty clearly.

    I hope members of the general public whose journeys might have been held up by us today will get a chance to hear why we were protesting and not just think “bloody cyclists”. I guess that’ll depend partly on whichever way the Standard/Metro decides to report it – if at all. I hope we don’t get smeared by London’s tabloid press in the way the RMT are.

    • Andreas 20/05/2011 at 10:08 am #

      Yep, good idea by the LCC to go via the TfL offices too!

  3. Lindsey 20/05/2011 at 9:44 am #

    I’m somewhere hidden in the middle of the crowd, trying hard not to wobble as we were cycling so slowly! It was a well-organised event, with a good bunch of people sending a clear message – I hope it has some effect.

    I was particularly delighted by the lovely ladies at the bus-stop who clapped and said ‘go cyclists’ as we passed.

  4. Tim 20/05/2011 at 10:10 am #

    Work in Ealing, so no chance I could make it, I’m afraid: really delighted to see cyclists getting a bit more militant though. Kind of gobsmacked at how stupid TfL can be, then remembered the planning for the Oympics (

  5. AdamS 20/05/2011 at 10:27 am #

    Definitely good to see some direct action but I don’t ride that route so not sure what the fuss is about. Does a 30 mph limit make any difference to how cyclists are treated by other road users? I would have thought a proper cycle lane would be preferable – can someone explain?

    • Andreas 20/05/2011 at 10:41 am #

      TfL were planning to remove the one cycle lane but eventually their decision was overturned after overwhelming support from people such as Jenny Jones, the Mayoral candidate for the Green Party. However, they were still keen to raise the limit from 20 to 30mph. A 20mph road is seen as far more pleasant for cyclists as well as pedestrians and makes it far less dangerous.

  6. Corin 20/05/2011 at 10:35 am #

    For me personally, it’s much easier to get into the right-hand lane for my turn at the junction if the motorized traffic is moving at 20mph rather than 30mph. I can overtake at 20 going uphill, but not so much at 30mph.

    I guess for cyclists in general it’s just the general safety on the road. The faster the drivers are going the less likely they are to spot cyclists and the less they are able to react in time to unexpected events on the road. Converging the speed of all forms of traffic – i.e. cyclists go a bit faster cars go a bit slower – should lead to safer and more integrated roads.

  7. Tim 20/05/2011 at 10:36 am #

    Power to the Pedal. Love it.

  8. ibikelondon 20/05/2011 at 10:43 am #

    Wow, Andreas, you got this coverage up really quick! I was so impressed by everyone this morning – there was a real cross section of cyclists present who made the effort to turn up to show they cared and show they wanted better conditions for cycling – not just here with the crappy designs for Blackfriars, but for every motorway-like junction in London.

    All power to social media; getting that kind of turn out organised in 24hours is incredible.

    • Andreas 20/05/2011 at 11:19 am #

      Thanks Mark – was impressed with the turnout so wanted to get it covered asap in time for Friday’s newsletter! Great stuff on spotting this and tweeting it – would have missed it otherwise!

      • ibikelondon 20/05/2011 at 11:30 am #

        I would have missed it myself if Danny from Cyclists in the City hadn’t pointed it out to me. Imagine what social media could do with a little bit more time…! Let’s hope this is just the start of seeing some action about these inherently people-unfriendly road designs which keep being foisted on London.

        • Andreas 20/05/2011 at 11:37 am #

          Agreed, I’m all for it! Hopefully TfL will release that cyclists aren’t a group that will just sit back and take anything they throw our way!

  9. Richard Gray 20/05/2011 at 10:46 am #

    Agree – changing 20 to 30 sends out completely the wrong message about safety. But in rush hour, do any cars get anywhere near 20mph?

    • PaulM 20/05/2011 at 10:56 am #

      Coming over Blackfriars Bridge they do. Even in the peak hours the percentiles exceeding the 30mph limit on the bridge itself are high, and at night the general speed is closer to 40.

      The 20 limit only applies around the junction north of the bridge. One of our demands was for this to stay, and be extended across the bridge. TfL itself in its road safety section argued for 20mph to apply on several of the Thames bridges.

  10. carolyn 20/05/2011 at 11:02 am #

    Brilliant, so pleased, too late for me to be there plus use Southwark Bridge more cycle friendly.

  11. PaulR 20/05/2011 at 11:23 am #

    Very good natured protest. I spent quite a while talking to a few of the police there – I have to say that they all did a very good job and were supportive.

    It was great to see so many people from different parts of the community coming together over an issue like this. There were a lot of city workers (of all ages, not just young including some very senior city guys -a partner from Deloitte was out) and there were families (a lady with a couple of children in the front of a cargo bike). This is really important as it shows that cyclists aren’t some small minority group, they are representative of the whole population of London. It’s not just a load of fixie messengers moaning, it is everyday Londoners asking for help and protection.

    • ibikelondon 20/05/2011 at 11:29 am #

      ^ What he said! Bang on the nail.

    • Titan yer Tummy 21/05/2011 at 2:32 pm #

      I think it is important to highlight the cross-section of the demographic who were represented on this protest. I did toy with the idea of joining in and eventually decided against. 


      I often cross Waterloo Bridge on friday afternoons. On the last friday of each month as I pass the southern end of the bridge I am aware of large number of hairy, leery cyclists gathering for the Critical Mass ride. I am sure that most who take part in this relatively harmless activity are decent law abiding bike riders and there is nothing sinister in their participation. But there is also little doubt in my mind that infiltated into this group are some very unsavoury mischief-makers whose sole intent is to cause trouble.

      The recent student demonstrations / riots were were caused mainly by peaceful folk who had their legitimate protest hijacked by a bunch of hooligans with a very different agenda.

      I am just fearful that the decent cycling community are going to find their peaceful protests equally distorted. And I just don’t want to be part of it!!


  12. PaulR 20/05/2011 at 11:32 am #

    Video from the flashride (care of LCC’s facebook page)

    Luckily it doesn’t show the point at which I almost fell off my bike… need to work on my slow speed bike handling skills.

  13. Alice 20/05/2011 at 11:49 am #

    This looks brilliant, well done guys! What a great turnout. I really wanted to come but I was working unfortunately.

    I’m glad it was good natured and people were sympathetic to the cause. Maybe this is more of what we need for TfL and the government generally to pay attention to non-car users of the roads and that cyclists particularly make up a major part of rush hour traffic, especially in London.

    Viva la revolución ciclista!

  14. Gaz 20/05/2011 at 12:15 pm #

    I hope i got some good footage, will post something on youtube later. A very well worked event and i was pleased to see so many cyclists.

    That motorcyclist that was revving kicked out at a few cyclists. He was a total idiot and unfortunatly for him there where at least a dozen cyclists with video cameras.

  15. heather (red trike) 20/05/2011 at 12:50 pm #

    I hope that you can keep the 20 mph speed limit on the bridge. I would also suggest that a 20 mph speed limit would be appropriate where the width of the street is only sufficent for two lanes of traffic. What I am suggesting is that narrow streets need a lower speed limit.

    If there is enough room for four lanes (dual carriageways), then the speed limit could be greater. But here it is more important to have enough pedestrian crossings to make the route safe for people who are walking. It is also important that there are enough cycle lanes to make cycling safe as well. There needs to be well sign posted quiet routes for cyclists as well.

  16. Henz 20/05/2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Looks wonderful. Unfortunately I cycle north from Islington in the mornings, so couldn’t be there.

    If Islington and Southwark can both manage to implement 20mph speed limits why can’t TfL? Especially when the average London traffic speed is 16.9mph (AA News, 3 April 2008).

  17. Jane 20/05/2011 at 4:28 pm #

    Good work fellas! I heard about this on BBC news at about 8 o’clock this morning so unfortunately didn’t have the time to get down there and show my support. So glad so many people did. Power to the people!

  18. Sandi Zapatos Niño 27/05/2011 at 12:53 pm #

    I :love: this! I can’t beleive you pulled this off. This deserves another 100 comments it is so good Sandi

  19. 650c 30/07/2011 at 4:50 pm #

    Great to see PEACEFUL direct action in full effect. And loving that people were making the most of Boris bikes for this as well!

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