Vigil will ask 'why are Londoners at least twice as likely to die in a bike crash as the Dutch?'

King’s Cross Christmas cycle vigil set for tomorrow

Tomorrow (Tuesday December 20) from 6pm cyclists, pedestrians, and friends and family of recent crash victims will gather outside King’s Cross station to remember loved ones and highlight the unacceptable death toll on the capital’s roads.

The London Cycling Campaign (LCC), RoadPeace, London Living Streets and prominent bloggers have combined to invite Londoners to join the vigil at one of the capital’s most dangerous junctions – where already a cyclist has been killed this year.

The organisers said the event will be used to contrast the high levels of road danger in Greater London with the safety of Dutch cities, with cyclists here more than twice as likely to die in a fatal crash as they are in Holland. Campaigners are calling on the Mayor to reject his policy of putting motor traffic flow above safety.

[In the UK there are 3.6 cyclist fatalities per 100 million km cycled, compared with 1.1 fatalities in the Netherlands, according to Pucher.]

"Every few days another London family is torn apart by the violent death of a loved one, killed needlessly on the capital’s streets on foot, on a bike, or in a car," said LCC chief executive Ashok Sinha. "It’s hard to imagine the pain these families will feel, especially on Christmas Day when we traditionally share the love of those closest to us.

"Sixteen of the road fatalities in 2011 have been Londoners riding bikes (up from ten last year), and this year there have been dozens of people on foot also killed.

"London cyclists have the same right to get about safely as people in Holland, so why are we more than twice as likely to be killed in collisions in our streets?"

[Over 100 people in London lose their lives on the road every year – on foot, on a bike, motorbike or in a car, while more details on fatal and serious injury collisions involving cyclists in London here.]

Mark Ames of the ibikelondon blog added: "The Dutch have shown that high-quality cycle provision and child-friendly residential zones can reduce this death toll dramatically, and improve the quality of life for all city-dwellers. These designs are being adopted all over the world, but London is being left behind.”

Danny Williams of Cyclists in the City commented: "People are being asked to fling themselves on bikes through multi-lane junctions where cycling is an after-thought. The safety of cyclists and pedestrians should have just as much importance as the safety of motor users on London’s streets."

The organisers are calling for the Mayor and TfL to address the most dangerous junctions in the city as a matter of urgency, and also to implement continental-style streets in London to make them as safe and inviting as they are in Holland.

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