The campaigning group, 'Bikes Alive', held another protest delaying traffic in during rush hour at King's Cross, where road engineers were told to ignore cyclists in planning the junction, leading to injuries and at least one death of a cyclists.
Campaigning group Bikes Alive held another protest delaying traffic in the evening rush hour at King's Cross, where road engineers were told to ignore cyclists in planning the junction, leading to injuries and at least one death of cyclists.
Around 30 cyclists along with a few campaigners on foot made a number of slow circuits along the Euston Road and the one-way system at King's Cross at the height of the evening rush hour, causing short delays to traffic through the area which soon backed up some way down the Euston Road. Among the cyclists were a few campaigners on foot, including this evening London Assembly Member and Green Party Mayoral candidate, Jenny Jones, a keen cyclist and promoter of cycling safety and facilities for cyclists.
The cyclists were accompanied by three police cyclists, a couple of police motorcyclists and a police car, and shortly after the protest started the police had to wave over several motorists who seemed determined to drive through the bunch of cyclists. At one point one of the police motorcyclists warned some of the cyclists for going through a red traffic light, although as the protest had stopped the traffic and it was being held by police there seemed to be no reason to stop, and to do so would simply have held up traffic on the Euston Road for longer, but otherwise there seemed to be no problems.
Revelations that Transport for London (TfL) under the direction of Mayor Boris Johnson had told road engineers to ignore the needs of cyclists when planning the road layout at King's Cross shocked all those concerned with road safety, and work has begun on changes at the junction there which will actually make things even more dangerous for cyclists. The area was also chosen as the location for the series of protests following the death there last year of cyclist Min Joo Lee, commemorated by a white-painted 'ghost bicycle' with flower tributes at the junction.
TfL's policy is said by campaigners to support the unnecessary use of motor vehicles and to prioritise the speed and volume of motor traffic over the health, safety and ease of movement of the community as a whole. They say that traffic lights are sited and their changes timed to suit the impatience of motorists rather than the needs of cyclists and pedestrians, and that pedestrian crossings are now threatened with removal because they hold up traffic, even where this will make it impossible for disabled people to cross some roads.
Many road planning decisions appear to be based on models of movement which assign high costs to the movement of cars, lorries and other motorised vehicles but ignore the needs of those on foot, on bicycles or mobility scooters and in wheelchairs. Planning is aimed at increasing traffic flow on the roads in a city where more than 4,000 premature deaths each year are caused by pollution, largely from traffic, and vehicle em missions also form an important contribution to climate change. We need policies that encourage walking, cycling and the use of low or zero-emission vehicles and of an improved public transport system to make London a cleaner and safer city.
The most important way to encourage cycling is to take measures to make it safer. Among the ways this could be done would be to have a 20 mph speed limit as the default in urban areas, to redesign dangerous traffic junctions with filters and lights for cyclists, to ban parking in cycle lanes and prosecute drivers who abuse these and other cycle facilities, and to follow the example of some other countries in giving pedestrians and cyclists legal priority over motor vehicles, and in particular insisting that vehicles give way to cyclists and pedestrians at junctions - as happens in some other countries.
This protest was one in a series at King's Cross, and more are expected to take place later in the year.