Cyclists bring traffic to a standstill on Blackfriars Bridge - London
Approximately 100 cyclists have staged a rush-hour go slow on Blackfriars Bridge in central London to protest against the lifting of a 20 mile an hour speed limit. UK. 29th July 2011
It was timed to snarl up the rush up traffic on Blackfriars Bridge. The protestors - about 100 cyclists - two wheels good four wheels bad - want the temporary speed limit of 20 miles per hour to be made permanent. On the stroke of six or very soon after they took to the street on the south side of the bridge.
Within seconds they are in front of the cars vans, taxis and lorries which very soon are edging along at a crawl. Walking pace is the call and walking pace it is as the cyclists of all ages, men and women and one dog set about bringing the rush hour traffic to a standstill.
It was once over the bridge and back again as the pedal powered protestors urged the bicycling mayor himself Boris to rethink the traffic measures on Blackfriars Bridge, a notorious black spot for accidents in this part of London. There were a scattering of the so called Boris bikes on the demo too which lasted about an hour so if those who'd hired them were quick their protest should only have cost them a pound or two.
A solitary constable on a motorcycle policed the event. Overheard explaining how he was holding back the traffic he is met with a gruff reminder from a gentleman on a bike who's heard him that he is traffic too.
Those trapped in their cars sat quietly for the most part.
Some were bemused. Most appeared unphased by the delay. Traffic jams are not uncommon even with the congestion charge. Some suggested it was the first time they'd seen so many cyclists stop for a red light as at least now and then the protestors noticed that the lights were against them. Some wanted to make their point and so they explained their grievances against the bikers, mainly to photographers as there was no direct dialogue in or across the lanes.
One woman complained how a cyclist on another bridge, she pointed east, had come out of nowhere recently and how they had almost collided. Having had her say she popped her head back inside the car.
A man said a cyclist had damaged his Mercedes. "They don't have insurance so there's no point in suing them," he said. At which point a courier, on two wheels, and at speed darted up and over the curb between the lanes narrowing missing a man in his fifties and who was on foot. It rather proved the point that if the bikes and the cars are at war perhaps it is only the poor old pedestrian who has a daily battle with both.