Protesters plan to block one of London's busiest junctions today to
highlight their anger at a 60 per cent rise in cycling deaths in the
capital in two years.
The direct action group Bikes Alive is asking cyclists and
pedestrians to descend at 6pm on the junction outside King's Cross
station – where the 24-year-old Korean fashion student Min Joo Lee was
killed in October last year – in the hope of calming traffic there for
They have vowed to repeat their protest, with the aim of
closing down King's Cross for at least an hour a week, until changes are
made by the capital's transport authority, Transport for London (TfL).
Beale, of Bikes Alive, said of today's protest: "The event is the first
step in a campaign to stop – by whatever non-violent means needed – the
completely unnecessary level of deaths, injuries and fear inflicted by
motorists on the more vulnerable. I urge cyclists to join us. And if you
don't have a bike, bring your dancing shoes."
In December, TfL
said it would make changes to the road network at the station, where
four cyclists, including Miss Lee, have died in the past five years.
Wendy Gay, Emma Foa and Madeleine Rosie Wright were also killed by
lorries in the area. However, TfL said no major changes would take place
before the Olympics this summer.
The cyclists' action reflects a
growing anger in the capital at the soaring death rate of cyclists, as
highlighted by The Independent. Metropolitan Police figures show there
were 10 deaths in 2009 and 13 in 2010. Nine of the 16 deaths in 2011
involved collisions with HGVs. Police said most were hit by vehicles
By far the worst region of the UK for cyclist
injuries and deaths in 2010 was London, with 468 reported. The chief
executive of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), Ashok Sinha, said:
"Every few days, another London family is torn apart by the violent
death of a loved one, killed needlessly on the capital's streets."
from the transport experts John Pucher and Ralph Buehler show that the
number of cyclist deaths per 100 million miles cycled between 2005 and
2008 was 3.6 in the UK, compared with 1.7 in Germany, 1.5 in Denmark and
1.1 in the Netherlands.
Lenny Shallcross, 34, who has cycled in
London for about 10 years, said: "There is a level of inactivity on
behalf of TfL which is difficult to comprehend. There has been a 50 per
cent increase in the number of people who cycle in London recently and
they are talking about improvements which will take three years."
Shallcross said the Amsterdam model, with segregated cycle lanes, was
the safest one. He attacked the recent move towards dedicated cycle
lanes in London, which he called "a metre-wide lick of paint which is
supposed to protect cyclists from a lorry".