10,000 cyclists -massive protests

For better cycling infrastructure.


Since this UK article will disappear off the Internet eventually, here it is below. This is not Critical Mass. It's something way more than just that.


 


Apr. 30, 2012  The Times http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/article3398722.ece


Central London was overrun by 10,000 cyclists today, as the biggest bike protest ever seen in the capital took to the streets.


The mayoral candidates Brian Paddick and Jenny Jones, as well as Simon Hughes, the Lib Dem deputy leader, joined the ride from Hyde Park to Blackfriars, which called on the candidates in next week’s local and mayoral elections to make concrete pledges to make the streets safer for cyclists.


Mr Paddick, the Liberal Democrat candidate, said: “I personally am too afraid to cycle on the roads and roundabouts in London and that isn’t right. We need to review all junctions, especially those on the cycle superhighways.”


Ms Jones, the Green candidate, told The Times: I am here to celebrate cycling and London has to understand that cycling is the future.”


A parallel event took place in Edinburgh, where more than 3,000 cyclists – three times the turnout expected - rode down the Royal Mile.


In London, despite the steady rain, cyclists of all shapes and sizes - old and young, male and female, lycra-clad and fancy-dressed - took over Piccadilly, Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and Victoria Embankment, chanting for safer streets.


Parmy Boual was out with her three children, Anil, 8, Markus, 12 and Mandeep 10 and said: “I want to see safer streets for us as a family. My kids have always ridden with us, in trailers when they were younger and then on their own bikes. All road-users need greater awareness.”


Mr Hughes, cycling alongside reporters from The Times, said that more secondary school pupils need to cycle and called for all new social houses to include safe cycle storage and parking, to save people needing “to carry bikes up four flights of stairs”. He said: “I have always supported events like this and this is really good to see.”


Dr Ashok Sinha, chief executive of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), who organised the ride with support from The Times, said: “We got the mayoral candidates to sign up to the LCC safer cycling campaign, and thousands of people are here to witness that promise. we weill be going back to them the day after the elections to see how they will act on it.”


Between them, The Times’s ‘Cities fit for cycling’ campaign and the LCC’s ‘Love London, Go Dutch’ campaign have received more than 70,000 signatures, with cycling expected to be a potentially decisive issue in the mayoral elections taking place this week in London, Liverpool and Salford.


Campaigners are calling on Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, who famously cycles regularly in London, to defend his pro-cycling reputation in the face of escalating casualties. One cyclist said: “At the moment, the cyclists’ vote is with Jenny Jones as first choice, and Ken Livingstone as second preference.”


The organisers of the Pedal on Parliament ride in Edinburgh today are expecting more than 1,000 protesters, after the deaths of two cyclists — Andrew McNicoll, 43, and Bryan Simons, 40 — in the Scottish capital so far this year. Sixteen cyclists have been killed in the Lothian area since 2000. Sunshine is forecast for Edinburgh this afternoon.


“We’ve done nothing like this before,” said Dave Brennan, one of the organisers. “It sends a strong message to politicians that people want to get out on their bikes.”


On Monday the five major candidates for the London mayoral election will take part in hustings hosted by The Times and the Sustrans charity. It will be the only time that all the main candidates will come together to debate cycling.


Although all the candidates have expressed their verbal support for The Times’ Cities Fit for Cycling campaign, James Harding, the Editor, told the Government’s cycle safety inquiry this week that more needed to be done to make sure that “warm words are translated into action”.


In Edinburgh, because smaller numbers had been anticipated, no roads had been closed for the ‘Pedal on Parliament’, leading to a handful of arguments with irate motorists. One cyclist swore loudly at a car as it nearly knocked him off his bike on Canongate, and two taxis turning up onto the same road were also involved in a couple of close calls with the cyclists.


Dave Brennan, who organised the Pedal on Parliament, said: “We didn’t expect these sorts of numbers. We didn’t know how strong the feeling was, obviously we’ve struck a chord. People are coming form all over Scotland.”


But they reached Holyrood, where they were met by representatives from the main political parties, each of whom said they supported the movement’s agenda.


Before setting off, the campaigners held a minutes’ silence in memory of cyclists who had been killed on Edinburgh’s roads recently.


Paul and Jenny Wilson, who joined the protest with their son Christopher, said: “Coming from the north of the city to the south is quite tricky on a bike. The cycle routes don’t join up.”


Gareth Dennis, 21, who is a student at Edinburgh University, joined the protest after being involved in an accident on his bike. “I feel pretty angry about the state of cycling. The attitudes of the British are all wrong when it comes to cycling,” he said.


Alice Ennals Sumner, his friend, agreed: “The main problem is the attitude of drivers. Part of being a driver is recognising cyclists.”


Meanwhile a cycling campaign in Italy which is affiliated to The Times’ Cities fit for Cycling mustered thousands of riders for a demonstration in Rome.


Riding towards the Colosseum under the banner Veni, Vidi, Bici, they aimed to bring attention to the city’s lack of provision for cyclists and poor road safety record. To make their point the protesters dismounted and lay down as though dead in the Via dei Fori Imperiali. “Policy in this country is made for drivers,” said Alberto Fiorillo, one of the organisers.


Protest organisers said that more than 2,500 cyclists had been killed on Italy’s roads over the past ten years, the worst accident rates being in Rome and Milan.


Paolo Bellino, one of the cyclists, said that the most recent deaths were those of a 54-year-old cyclist run down on Friday near Naples and a 14-year-old boy hit in Parma.


 

Forums: 

Attitudes

With all these "protests" (because that's really what they are), there needs to be a larger movement of actually educating both drivers and cyclists on how to actually operate their respective vehicles.  We have misguided "self-entitlement" issues as a society: Just because you can wobble down a sidewalk doesn't mean you should be allowed to share a roadway with motorists.  Education, for all users, needs to start much earlier in our schools, communities, and infrastructure. 


 

Agree X2

Yes, I couldn't agree more.  Everyone benefits when awareness and education are improved for all: cyclists, motorists, and even pedestrians.

On that note, here is an invitation to everyone who values greater cycling education: Bike Calgary is promoting an event sponsored by Safer Cycling Calgary to help educate youth on cycling skills and knowledge.  (Safe Cycling Calgary is a cycling education organization created by one of our Bike Calgary cycling instructors, Melissa Malejko.)

If you are reading this, I can almost guarantee that you have valuable cycling skills and knowledge that kids would really benefit from. If you have a few hours of your time to donate to a great cause, please consider volunteering to help with the Kids Can-Bike Festival being held on Sunday, June 24th.  Details and contact information for volunteers can be found here:

http://bikecalgary.org/node/3205

and here:

http://bikecalgary.org/node/3354

 

(and sorry to the OP for the thread hijack!)