The Times today devotes it’s front page to a description of what happened when a young reporter, commuting to work on her bike, came into collision with a lorry. The story (by Kaya Burgess) is heartbreaking. It’s used as a launch pad for a long-overdue campaign to make our cities safe for all road users.
The story hit home for me because I often cycle to work, from home in Dulwich to Euston, along some pretty busy roads, across some horrendous junctions. I’ve been telling myself that the fitness benefits outweigh the road safety risks. I cycle conservatively, if not defensively. Yet still, night after night, I arrive home shaken from the aggression of other road users.
On Tuesday, the incident that got to me was the double decker bus driver who drove way to close to me, leaning on his horn, all the way across Waterloo Bridge, trying to push me into the gutter. The gutter is not a safe place to cycle – not least because buses can’t see you there. It was simple bullying; a very big road user trying to frighten and intimidate a small, insecure road user. We both have a right to the road.
Anyway. I’m going to carry on cycling, but I’m campaigning, too. I’ve signed up to the Times’ campaign (not behind a paywall) here: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/ and sent a short email to Tessa Jowell, my MP, to ask her to back the 8-point manifesto to improve road safety for cyclists (a copy of my email is below). I’d ask all my readers to consider doing the same.
I think it’s a brilliant campaign and I’ve received quite of bit of correspondence from constituents showing their support. This issue is particularly relevant to our constituency as so many people cycle to work in Central London and within the constituency and many more would be encouraged to do so if it was safer.
Cities need to be made safer for cyclists and The Times’ campaign is a great way to achieve this, and that is why I support the campaign and have been in touch with The Times to ask that they let me know what I can do to promote or support the campaign further.