Huge Turnout For #space4cycling Protest Cycle

Posted by Rob Quigley on July 13, 2013 0 Comments

Yesterday was the first time I’ve ever been on a protest cycle.

Having recently heard of the harrowing and needless deaths of a number of people on bikes in London I felt that being here I had to lend my support to calls for more action to make it safer to cycle a bicycle in London. It was exactly a week to the day since Philippine De Gerin-Ricard. a young 20 year old French student working in London for the summer to improve her English, had been killed by a lorry while cycling a Boris Bike.

The protest cycle was organised by the London Cycling Campaign and called on London’s Mayor Boris Johnson for action not words.

People started gather ing from before 6pm at Tower Hill and as the number of bicycles swelled to well over 1000 I got talking to a guy who regularly cycles the route where the accident happened last week. He had come upon the scene just as the ambulance had arrived and spoke of how disturbing it was to witness the scene.

We started at about 6:30 and the route took us by Aldgate where Philippine had been killed. A minutes silence was observed so everyone could show their respects.

It was quite amazing to be in such a crowd of cyclists. As far as the eye could see in front and behind me it was bicycles, bicycles everywhere. Chants of “BLUE PAINT” “NOT ENOUGH!” rang out in reference to London’s Cycle Superhighways, which in many cases are little more than blue painted lines on a road.

The range of bicycles was pretty amazing from road racers, fixies and hybrids to recumbents, cargo bikes and even a penny farthing!

The cycle lasted about 30 minutes or so and ended in Altab Ali Park where Ann Kenrick, who organised the protest, spoke of the need for action, not words, from the London Transport authorities.

Hopefully the cycle will have some effect in drawing attention to the work needed to make London a safer place to cycle. The more people that cycle the safer it is for everyone, but convincing non-cyclists to hop on a bike means the streets need to be perceived as getting safer to start with. Recent deaths like Philippine’s highlight the need to take more action to make it safer to cycle in London and should not scare people out of the saddle. Cycling is still the easiest healthiest cheapest way to travel in London. Action needs to be taken to make it the safest.