The article below is a call to attend a protest at Bow roundabout from 6pm tonight.
I’ve previously criticised these things for being too mild, for not causing the kind of disruption – and grabbing the kind of headlines – that the Dutch did in the 1970s.
If a “die-in” is to occur then tonight is probably as good a time as there ever will be.
If it hadn’t been for the people in the photo above doing what they did, the Netherlands wouldn’t have the great cycling conditions it has today. Now it’s our turn.
The details of today’s cycling death at Bow roundabout are not clear yet. All we know is it involves a left-turning lorry (again).
But one thing which is very clear is that TfL’s changes to the layout here are sub-standard. They are not good enough, and they were warned about this.
Despite the addition of blue paint and a bit of kerb, the primary function of Bow roundabout is to handle a huge number of motor vehicles. Anything else must be fitted around this core premise. This must change.
Even walking around this area on foot is awful, as there are no pedestrian crossing signals. You merely have to guess the best time to cross, hoping that the traffic lights are red and won’t change while you’re in the middle.
How are people expected to get around here? Clearly it isn’t suitable for someone who can’t move fast, as even on foot you have to stay alert and nimble.
The message is clear: if you want to travel here, get a car. Are we surprised that two thirds of motor journeys in London are under 3 miles long?
Today’s death is a shock, a wake-up call, a headline-grabber.
What about the pensioners who don’t leave their homes because it’s too stressful to get around?
What about the mothers who don’t let their children play outside for fear of an “accident”?
What about Britain’s high rate of childhood obesity and heart disease caused by lack of activity?
This is about more than just cycling. This is more than just a “cyclists” protest.
For every shocking collision there are thousands of untold stories of harm caused by our motor-centric towns and cities. It’s a tragedy on a national scale.
The way we’ve designed the areas we live gives most people little choice but to use a motor vehicle, as the alternatives are too unpleasant or unsafe to consider. This must change.
Another “always stop” cycle light at Bow roundabout won’t cut it. We need to create safe space for cycling, and safe space for walking, and safe space for prams and pushchairs and wheelchairs and Zimmer frames and tartan zip-up trolley bags.
We need space that isn’t subservient to those using motor vehicles, space which allows and encourages other modes of transport.
So please do come down tonight. It’s a sad day, but also an angry one.
As the Dutch might say, “stop de moord”.
It turns out that iBikeLondon was writing a similar post, which includes more details of tonight’s protest. He rightly points out that we’ve been hearing promises from the Mayor and his associates for far too long. The time for action is now.