- Evening Standard)
ES Views: Cyclists are dicing with death on London’s roads
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- a day ago
- 1 comment
I write in response to Rosamund Urwin’s article about the bravery it takes to be a cyclist in London [“Our new cycling tsar needs to get drivers to behave”, Comment, February 9]. I am a cyclist with almost 40 years’ experience under my wheels but I would not dare to ride in London.
I walk every day from King’s Cross to my place of work off Tottenham Court Road and always see the same thing. Once you get off roads such as Euston Road, Gower Street and the like, streets that look post-apocalyptic due to the lack of vehicles are teeming with cyclists and pedestrians.
Yet 80 per cent of the space for the road is reserved for motorised vehicles, even though in real terms they account for probably less than five per cent of those who actually use them.
Such roads should be pedestrianised or have tramways built on them, and those who wish to obtain parking permits for cars that are not powered by electric or hybrid motors should have to pay an extra fee. As for cyclists, they are not entirely innocent, and should purchase lights that are easily visible and obey the rules of the road. If you have the privilege of using the road, you must accept the responsibility that comes with it.
Rosamund Urwin should be reminded that Will Norman is not just the new “cycling tsar” but the new “walking and cycling tsar”.
As desirable as it might be for cycling proficiency to become part of the driving test, how much more urgent is it for all cyclists to become proficient ourselves? After all, it is our lives that are at stake.
As a regular London cyclist for the past 30 years, I am endlessly amazed at the sheer incompetence and absurd risk-taking demonstrated by a significant number of my fellow riders.
There is a lot we can do for ourselves to improve our chances of a safe journey — and that includes showing due consideration for our fellow cyclists.
I cannot be the only London cyclist who has already abandoned the supposedly safe space of the cycle superhighways as a result of those who travel at excessive speeds.
I drive and cycle in London and think Rosamund Urwin makes some entirely reasonable points about the safety of cyclists. I feel unsafe even when riding in a car in London. To travel among the capital’s traffic on a bike can be quite frightening.
Yes, some cyclists misbehave, but rarely does this contribute to a cyclist or any other member of the public being killed. Cyclists, on the other hand, are often injured or killed through no fault of their own.
The Mayor must do more to protect and accommodate cyclists in this city.