The Times adds its voice to the call for safer roads for cyclists

Mary Bowers

Three months ago Times Reporter Mary Bowers was hit by a lorry as she made her way to her office. She remains in critical condition in hospital. Today, her colleagues have launched a campaign to call for safer measures to be put in place to protect cyclists.

The campaign has a front page position in the Times newspaper and is calling for people to visit this page to pledge their support:

Additionally, people on Twitter are asked to use the #cyclesafe to see if it can become a trending topic.

The times is calling for the below measures:

  1. Trucks entering a city centre should be required by law to fit sensors, audible truck-turning alarms, extra mirrors and safety bars to stop cyclists being thrown under the wheels.
  2. The 500 most dangerous road junctions must be identified, redesigned or fitted with priority traffic lights for cyclists and Trixi mirrors that allow lorry drivers to see cyclists on their near-side.
  3. A national audit of cycling to find out how many people cycle in Britain and how cyclists are killed or injured should be held to underpin effective cycle safety.
  4. Two per cent of the Highways Agency budget should be earmarked for next generation cycle routes, providing £100 million a year towards world-class cycling infrastructure. Each year cities should be graded on the quality of cycling provision.
  5. The training of cyclists and drivers must improve and cycle safety should become a core part of the driving test.
  6. 20mph should become the default speed limit in residential areas where there are no cycle lanes.
  7. Businesses should be invited to sponsor cycleways and cycling super-highways, mirroring the Barclays-backed bicycle hire scheme in London.
  8. Every city, even those without an elected mayor, should appoint a cycling commissioner to push home reforms.

It’s good to see a big newspaper getting behind the campaign for safer cycling conditions. A front page feature helps get the message across to an audience that perhaps is less aware of the issues. Hopefully they’ll be a few copies of the Times floating around parliament today.

Join 10,221 fellow cyclists who are subscribed to the London Cyclist newsletter

Sign up for our free newsletter to get...

  • Advice on the best cycling gear
  • A Friday roundup of all the latest London cycling news
  • Exclusive content not available on the blog

Subscribe today, and get exclusive access forever! (It's free)

*No spam, ever!

As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

21 Responses to The Times adds its voice to the call for safer roads for cyclists

  1. Clive Friend 03/02/2012 at 10:22 am #

    This is indeed a welcome campaign, is the Times aware of londoncyclist? You warn of the possible consequences of riding in the gutter and edging up inside heavy vehicles. I wonder how many of London’s traffic victims have fallen into this trap? The Times has advocated “more training” but it would be beneficial to highlight your advice to cyclists to keep their place in their lane rather stay at the kerb. At least a truck driver can see you if you are in front him rather than on his inside even if it makes him impatient. The Times today says that there are twice as many women victims as men. I wonder whether this is because they find it more intimidating to ride in their lane so tend to keep to the inside?
    Finally, I have posted here before on the total lack of a loud warning device for cyclists. I still do not know of any on the market although I am sure it would be really simple to make.

    • Neil Illing 03/02/2012 at 10:42 am #

      You may want to check out The Hornit 140db

      • Andreas 03/02/2012 at 10:51 am #

        Very loud and agressive! I guess it serves its purpose but I don’t think I’d use it to warn pedestrians – I would just slow down and go around them.

      • Ian Taplin 03/02/2012 at 10:58 am #

        Hi Neil,

        Thanks for the tip ;have ordered the device!

        Best wishes,


    • Andreas 03/02/2012 at 10:54 am #

      The one be Neil posted in the comments should appeal. I think the problem with simply telling people “don’t go inside heavy goods vehicles” is they nod, acknowledge it and then do it anyway. The best is to actually go through cycle training which might help scratch it into people’s minds a little more!

  2. uct 03/02/2012 at 10:26 am #

    The majority of ‘think bike’ add at the moment seem to be focused on making people aware of motorbikes. Should include bicycles too. Additionally every incident I have been involved with whilst cycling has been the result of motorists not looking in their left wing mirror before manoeuvring. This needs to be reinforced!!

  3. Ian Taplin 03/02/2012 at 10:35 am #

    Dear cycling friends,

    I was knocked off my bike this Monday in Burbage Wiltshire which is not like London or Manchester.

    I was wearning bright clothes and had yellow canvas markers front and rear.

    I was on a roundabout and a pick up truck hit me at 10 mph threw me across the road ;it seemed I had a broken shoulder and arm -but luckily suffered only severe bruises.The bike is severly damaged.

    I was rushed to Swindon Hospital .

    My helmet saved my life and is cracked in the base protection split right through.

    I am lucky to be alive

    Keep the pressure up!

    Best wishes,


    • Andreas 03/02/2012 at 10:52 am #

      Scary story Ian – thanks for sharing – reminds us of the dangers out there.

      • Ian Taplin 03/02/2012 at 10:56 am #

        Thanks Andreas;your site is brilliant.

        Keep up the valuable work which is so much appreciated.

        best wishes,


  4. Clive Friend 03/02/2012 at 11:07 am #

    Thanks Ian, that is certainly a step in the right direction. What I visualised was perhaps a 3 button device. 1- a friendly look out I’m here sort of chime, 2 – a more urgent warning and 3 a real shriek (like a very old luggage alarm I have, so the technonology is there) which says your are about to f……g kill me!

    • Ian Taplin 03/02/2012 at 11:22 am #

      Yes Clive a great idea.Keep safe buddy!

  5. Big Softy 03/02/2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Forget the horn, I bark at pedestrians that step into the road . Everybody freezes when they think they’re about to get mauled.
    Yes it’s aggressive, but it keeps them and me safe, and I don’t have to take my hands off the brakes.

    • Andreas 03/02/2012 at 2:55 pm #

      More effective than a loud meow I guess! Again though I don’t tend to find myself in many situations that require a loud shout/bark

  6. Helen 03/02/2012 at 3:17 pm #

    Just to point out, HGV drivers CANNOT see you if you are directly in front of them – which is why some people feel that advanced cycle boxes are dangerous too (even when lorries don’t park right across them). It encourages you to go up the inside and then in front of an HGV, invisible the whole time. You need to be at least 5m in front of a lorry to be sure the driver’s seen you – and that puts you across the other side of the junction really!

    I’ve seen some really good diagrams of this, which I annoyingly can’t find now, but there’s one here:

    if you scroll down a bit. Hopefully somebody will post a better image.

    Keep up the good work!


    • Andreas 03/02/2012 at 4:29 pm #

      Helen – very good point. We talk a lot about how you shouldn’t pull up to the left of a HGV because they can turn left and never see you but it’s just as important that you are still in the danger zone directly in front of a HGV.

  7. Big Softy 03/02/2012 at 5:33 pm #

    Things will only change when it affects a couple of politicians.
    Any volunteers to push Boris under a bus?

    • Jerome 03/02/2012 at 9:59 pm #

      Sad but true…..Cycling Safety should be addressed ‘seriously’ once and for all. Lets hope she pulls through.

  8. skippy 03/02/2012 at 8:10 pm #

    Thanks for your post about the ” Times ” campaign !

    THE THUNDERER has knocked over the ” sitting government parties ” in years gone by so let’s see them put their shoulder to the wheel with their proposals !

    Overdue that Cyclists received support from a respected Newspaper and with such a vested interest one hopes the pressure exerted will see those in the Houses of Parliament treat this matter expeditiously !

    All your followers should also canvass their respective politicians since David Cameron and nick clegg will be seeking their support in the not too distant future !

    Have blogged in Parrabuddy using the bulk of your ” post ” and also asked others such as ” Thecyclingsilk blog” followers to canvass their politicians of all persuasions !

    Looking for a cheaper helmet camera than the ATC , so will welcome advice !

  9. Robert Davies 04/02/2012 at 8:39 pm #

    While not wishing to belittle any efforts to make cycling safer, it’s a reality on my London commute that there’s no helping some people who seem to lack common sense. The Old Street roundabout is a classic with cyclists going up the inside of HGVs that may be static, but then move once the lights some 200m away have turned green.

    I am clearly generalising, but the vast majority of near misses that I have seen have been down to cyclists putting themselves in the tracking path of large vehicles and not realising that the space will disappear as the vehicle tracks through the corner.

    • Andreas 05/02/2012 at 7:39 pm #

      Awareness is definitely needed from HGV drivers and cyclists. Unfortunately, it is proving tough to deliver. So far we’ve seen stickers on the Boris Bikes, adverts, emails by TfL and lots of press coverage of the dangers. Some people will continue to ignore so greater safe guards need to be put in place (separate lanes? Warning beeps on HGVs?)

    • RobtheRider 10/03/2012 at 11:29 am #

      Sadly that is the issue, no common sense, and i’m not referring to any particular user of our roads, all of us are responsible for our own actions. We are also far to reliant on just taking it for granted that as cyclist we are or have been seen. Think, be aware, look a round you, again this is not just cyclist, but all road users and that also includes Pedestrians. Lets all be careful out on the roads! Also, any update on Mary’s recovery?

Leave a Reply