Saturday ride visiting ten most dangerous junctions comes in the wake of Boris Johnson’s negative comments towards cyclists

"It grieves me to sometimes, to see the way that [Transport for London] is blamed.” was Boris Johnson’s response when pushed by Jenny Jones about cyclist safety. In his response, the Mayor then continues by denouncing suggestions for safer measures in dangerous junctions. He states “But sometimes… I don’t think that interventions are really, that physical street works are the answer”.

The junctions that are in question will be visited tomorrow (November 12) starting at 10.30am from St Mark’s Church, The Oval, Kennington, SE11 4PW. The ride will be run by Cyclists in the City and the iBikeLondon blog in partnership with LCC campaign groups.

The locations the ride will visit include Hyde Park corner, Parliament Square and Waterloo. Over 100 cyclists are expected to attend and it is open for anyone who wishes to go along and see the dangers of these junctions for themselves.

The purpose of the ride is to demonstrate what is causing accidents and what could be done to prevent those accidents. The ride will be documented and it will give TfL even less space to hide behind when questioned on road safety. It is hoped amongst the attendants will be local reporters as well as a national newspaper.

The ride will last for approximately two hours and will end up at Look Mum No Hands.

For more on Boris Johnson’s performance see this post:

Boris Johnson’s cycle revolution. I don’t see how a single London cyclist could vote Boris after watching his performance today.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

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18 Responses to Saturday ride visiting ten most dangerous junctions comes in the wake of Boris Johnson’s negative comments towards cyclists

  1. Rose Stark 11/11/2011 at 10:48 am #

    As a middle aged, slow and trying to be very courteous to other road users, type of cyclist, I am startled by the hatred which other road users seem to have for cyclists and tend to assume that all cyclists (rather than just some) are bullies and dangerous – same as others we are different individuals. Following an altercation with a pedestrian who was deliberately obstructive and rude to me this week and witnessing several incidents where motorists have behaved appallingly towards cyclists, I want to say, in a world where we need to use more sustainable forms of transport – ie your kids and grandkids are going to have to use bikes more and it could be your relative who is getting this unwarranted abuse, lets be more tolerant of each other. I do wonder whether some people are actually jealous because they don’t feel able to get onto two wheels themselves. Just wanted to get that off my chest.

    Just read the piece in the Guardian too about whether the ghost bike initiative is a good idea. It always seems very poignant to me and makes me think about cycling with more care – so I think it’s a good idea and certainly doesn’t make me want to give up.
    Keep safe and do reflect on your attitude on the road too
    Still struggling to get up those hills!
    Rose

  2. Malcis 11/11/2011 at 10:54 am #

    Rose, as a similar sort of cyclist I think there’s misogyny involved too – people (mostly young men) will shout at middle-aged female cyclists as they are too intimidated to take on young, fit, lycra clad male cyclists…or said cyclists have already disappeared into the far distance! Women are seen as an easier target and we get a lot of the resentment and flak for others’ behaviour.
    I try to stay serene but not always easy!

  3. James 11/11/2011 at 11:03 am #

    Andreas

    I wholeheartedly support all efforts to make our roads safer for cycling and have nothing but sympathy for those cyclists who have been killed or injured. However, I find myself getting more and more frustrated with the cycling community. I have been a London cyclist for about 17 years and I have seen many changes in that time – the most marked of which is the explosion in the numbers of cyclists in the last few years. I am all for it for there is safety in numbers – but I have one major reservation.

    The growing aggression off cyclists, typified both by manners on the road and by self-righteous proselytising in the media may have some positive impact on getting our politicians to respond, but the overall effect is one of creating an atmosphere of intolerance. A frighteningly high proportion of other road users – motorists and pedestrians now harbour such an intense dislike of cyclists that we are in danger of losing their support.

    Today, my experience is that the huge majority of road users are amazingly accommodating towards cyclists and they support the measures paid for by their taxes to protect cyclists – but if we carry on the way we are, hectoring and bullying, demanding more and more concessions, cycling with appalling road manners then we deserve to be put in our place.

    The vitriolic response to Boris’ bumbling comments about road safety measures show exactly the kind of militancy that has typified the anti-capitalist nonsense and the “climate change” movement which are both long past the point where rational debate is possible.

    Once cycling issues start following a similarly intolerant course, we’re on a slippery slope. When we get idiotic demands such as to make the Elephant & Castle roundabout safe for 12 year olds to cycle around, we’re in that territory. It’s a busy city, with crazy roads packed to capacity. Don’t be silly.

    • Bill Morgan 11/11/2011 at 12:56 pm #

      James, maybe those militant types would say that they have tried the conventional and polite route without much success.

      I do however feel that some of these junctions are avoidable and that rather than demanding that they be made safe for cyclists, we should be looking to promote alternative routes for those that don’t want to run the gauntlet. I used to cycle from Waterloo to Balham, almost entirely on back roads, and while it took around 10 minutes longer than CS7 it was an altogether more pleasant experience.

      Blackfriars Bridge is the obvious exception to this and I’m sure there will be others.

    • Hannah 11/11/2011 at 4:37 pm #

      James, I find your comments interesting and reassuring as I feel exactly the same. I love cycling to and from work (often the best part of my day!), but the way some cyclists behave makes me feel part of something I don’t really like.

      I often face aggression from pedestrians and motorists which stems from an overall annoyance at cyclists, rather than at something I have done. For example, if the subject of cycling comes up in my office, no one has a good word to say. My boyfriend actively encourages me to cycle, and yet hates that cyclists plough into him on the shared crossing at the top of Great Eastern Street (why can’t they just slow down??). I think the overall image of cyclists among non-cyclists is not great, which I find so frustrating as someone who obeys all the rules, indicates, wears lights, never ever jumps any red light, thanks drivers for giving way etc etc.

      There must be others of us out there, who don’t feel cyclists have it too badly; who (as you say) don’t think Elephant and Castle needs to be suitable for children to cycle round; who think that a little courtesy – some basic manners – from cyclists would go a very long way towards earning us the respect we seem to constantly demand. I think this would massively improve the safety of our roads for cyclists.

      I sometimes feel like I have signed up to a political party I utterly disagree with, rather than a mode of transport which I love.

      • Andreas 14/11/2011 at 6:19 am #

        It’s interesting to read the comments above and to hear about the worries people have of cyclists been seen as a group that cannot be appeased and is thus ignored by politicians. I believe there’s a fine line to tread and it will be interesting to follow the developments over the coming months and years to see how this slightly more aggressive stance by cyclists against road conditions that we are seeing recently plays out.

    • Peter 15/11/2011 at 7:46 am #

      this was the comment I meditated on on as I went on the ride. The thing is, Elephant and castle roundabout is at the bottom of a large residential tower block. it will have loads of 12 year olds in. they ought to be able to ride safely around it, and also able to safely step across the road in front of their house.
      These junctions aren’t some motorway intersection, they are in the middle of a city full of people, who should be safely allowed to get around it on foot or on bicycle without needing special training.

  4. Mark 11/11/2011 at 11:16 am #

    I so agree with the sentiments above, I started riding from Putney to Fleet Street way back in the early 80′s, it seemed back then cyclists just got on with going about their business in geting from A to B and back without being so highlyly politicised and without the self-rightenous that seems to abound these days, okay once a car turned in front of me, I landed on the bonnet of his car, shouted at him to pay attenton and carried on with my journey.

  5. Loving the Bike 11/11/2011 at 3:57 pm #

    I’ve been following the build up to this on Mark’s site and am super excited for everyone involved. This is a fantastic idea and a great way to raise awareness. Good luck tomorrow.

    Darryl

  6. veryrarelystable 11/11/2011 at 5:44 pm #

    I didn’t know whether to be saddened or amused by TFL’s recent self-congratulatory press release (here: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/media/newscentre/21550.aspx), which starts:

    “The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and London’s Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy, will outline today how safety is at the heart of the cycling revolution the Mayor is bringing to the capital.”

    and also says:

    “A huge range of practical measures are being delivered by the Mayor and TfL to tackle the issue [cycling fatalities] and make the city’s streets safer for cyclists.”

    This isn’t my perspective, but then if you believe in the magical powers of blue paint…

  7. Iain 11/11/2011 at 8:06 pm #

    The issue isn’;t just that of cyclists v motorists, Blackfriars is supposedly remodelled for the thousands of people leaving the station, who, in the wondrous world of TfL don’t want to cross the road, ever… E&C has a diversion on CS7, with trtraffic lights that don’t recognise bikes so if like me you travel early in the morning you have to run the lights, or stop cycling on a cycle route! Junctions are being remodelled to speed up motor vehicles at the expense of everything else, be that cyclists having to negotiate racing cars, or tourists trying to get around the city… TfL are of course the organisation that have closed the DLR and some underground lines this weekend when there’s nothing happening in central London – except the Lord Mayor’s show and Rememberence Sunday…

    As for riding standards, there are some appalling cyclists out there, some who expect others to obey thr highway code while ignoring it themselves…

    • Andreas 14/11/2011 at 6:22 am #

      I wholeheartedly agree that this isn’t just an issue for cyclists but also for pedestrians. You see plenty of people taking risks and crossing the roads wherever they choose and ignoring crossing signals. This is a sign that it simply isn’t working for pedestrians.

  8. Jeremy 11/11/2011 at 8:46 pm #

    I find all this a bit confusing. I have only been riding a short time after a 30 year gap. I ride in Solihull, not London, but still feel a little aggression is needed to survive. Parents will stop to let their little darlings out without signalling, people will drive down the bicycle lane while talking on their phone and I am not above hitting a car with the palm of my hand to wake them up.
    I keep well out from the side of the road and go to the front of queues of traffic at the lights but I never go through a red light.
    Pavements are an enigma. The council thinks nothing of directing us from the road onto a pavement and painting a bike on the floor but at other times, pavements are people only.
    I often fail to make a distinction between pavements I can use and those I can’t, especially beside really bad junctions. The rule I follow is, when cycling near pedestrians, go at the same speed and thank them for letting you pass.
    Thirty years ago I would never have ridden on a pavement, I was a road user and proud of it. Now I am 30 years older and more aware of the discrepancy between the hardness of metal and the softness of skin and bone.

    • Andreas 14/11/2011 at 6:24 am #

      Good to hear from a reader from Solihull – lived there for many years!

  9. Nathan 11/11/2011 at 10:40 pm #

    James, I am completely in agreement with you about manners. We all need to get along. But I cannot let you get away with your comment about 12-year-olds cycling round the Elephant and Castle. Why on earth shouldn’t they? With proper design any junctions can be made safe for all cyclists including children. We should expect nothing less, and although I agree we should not be hectoring or aggressive, we must constantly argue how unfair it is that children have been driven off the roads. We must make it safe for them and for everyone else.

    Plkease look at my biking blog at http://rideaday.wordpress.com/
    Thanks, Nathan

  10. James 12/11/2011 at 9:43 am #

    Nathan

    Interesting you picked me up on the comment about 12 year olds – a fiend of mine did too. Only, he pointed out that when we were 12 we would have thought nothing of cycling around E&C. In fact, we would have probably set up a ramp to jump and tried to get round on just the back wheel, whilst completely ignoring road signals, wearing no helmets and maybe even smoking. We certaily wouldn’t have worn a high viz jacket or bothered with lights. I am sure we would have been talking in our mobiles too only they didn’t have them then. We knew we were invincible. However, now it’s my children, I know they are made of flesh and blood, I know all the dangers of inattentive drivers and day-dreaming pedestrians, of over-tired and stressed HGV drivers and I worry – and I can’t think of them cycling in London without that queasy feeling you get when you peer over a high balcony. Maybe we should stop being such protective parents and tell our kids to get out there – that might make drivers slow down a bit.

  11. Val 15/11/2011 at 4:45 pm #

    As cyclist and biker I see a lot of others cyclist on the road who don’t even perform life savers.
    Just on this weekend I had a long trip on my motorbike and could kill 2 cyclist just for fun. One was ridding on red light, other changed line without signaling neither checking if something is coming on this line. He was lucky I desiced to risk my own life and drop from 40 to 10 in a sec or two.

    I would love to see a law forcing cyclist to pass some kind of basic training before allowed to use roads.

  12. brucie445 17/11/2011 at 8:20 pm #

    Funny post, James. I agree, most of the drivers on the road are probably still drunk from the night before. Especially on the early commute.

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