Tuesday 27 September 2016

Making cycling safer in London

There has been a massive increase in cycling in London over the last ten years. Whatever your view of Boris, he cannot be faulted for his desire and his policies to get us all out on our bikes. The bike hire scheme and the cycle superhighway are just two of the high profile policies that Boris championed.

Sadly, there are many aspects of cycling that are still dangerous in the capital and there are still too many avoidable injuries and deaths. The biggest risk to responsible cyclists are HGV's in the capital. As far as I am concerned, this is scandalous. Technology now exists to alert HGV drivers to the proximity of cyclists. If a cyclist is in the proximity of an HGV an alert should be issued to the driver. I also believe that all HGVs need to be fitted with cameras and any driver killing or maiming a cyclist through bad driving should receive a mandatory jail sentence. I believe this is the only way to stop the carnage. Cameras can prove whether drivers were negligent, so should be compulsory.

That is only half the picture though. Yesterday, walking between my office in Chiswell St and Farringdon, I saw three examples of irresponsible and reckless cycling. The first was a cyclist who nearly ran me over on a zebra crossing. He didn't want to lose momentum so sped across, narrowly missing me. As he emerged from behind a van, I had no opportunity to take evasive action.

If that wasn't bad enough, a volley of abuse accompanied his behaviour.  The second instance also occurred on Chiswell St, where I saw a cyclist attempt to undertake a Lorry. It was clear the Lorry was unaware of his presence as he nearly ran the guy over, when pulling over  to avoid an oncoming bus. I would have had sympathy for the driver as the cyclist was hugely stupid in his manoeuvre. 

The third instance was on Whitecross St. Although there was no near accident, the sight of a young man cycling hands free, with no helmet, headphones in, smoking a joint filled me with fear for his safety.

Personally, I believe all cyclists should have to take the cycling proficiency test to cycle in London. I believe we should also require registration plates and insurance. Such measures would ensure that it was easy to enforce the law on cyclists, who seem to believe they are exempted. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I remember driving my car into a one way street and having to slam the brakes on to avoid a cyclist coming towards me the wrong way down the middle of the road. He had the temerity to shout abuse at me! I was so relieved not to have killed him I couldn't think of any reply.
You're right, there should be a minimum standard to cycle in London.