Monday, 10 October 2011

Why I'm going to the Blackfriars Bridge Flashride (Traffic Nightclub)

I have noticed that since the summer ended, the roads are filled with more cars, more lorries, more buses and more vans (and more cyclists!). This means that cycling down Hornsey Rise is frequently becoming more of a squeeze as cars, Lorries, vans and buses all battle it out to get to their destination the quickest. All the while there is traffic chaos on this road, displaying itself in the form of lots of large lumps of metal, rubber and glass sitting at traffic lights, sitting at pedestrian crossing, trying to turn left, right, wherever. And then there is myself and other cyclists dangerously dancing close to lorries and vans as they attempt to overtake by squeezing around us like we are at a traffic nightclub or something. Not clever Trevor!!
So this morning it finally happened, what I have been silently expecting to happen some time or another. A white van man who seemed to drive by the ethos of #CyclistsShouldBeRunOver came storming past me, cramming me to the gutter. Once stationery, I reluctantly passed the van and then went on my way. And that was the end of that. Until I realised the familiar squeak of my boyfriends bike was no longer chirping behind me. I stopped and pulled up on the pavement and waited a bit to find him coming towards me shaking his head. The white van had failed to signal to turn left and subsequently proceeded to cut my boyfriend up, leaving him to quickly leap off his bike onto the pavement with seconds to spare before his legs would have been caught under the tyres. Luckily the only thing which got run over was the back of his bike which now has a very wonky back wheel in need of replacing.
Thankfully my boyfriend had his super wits about him and survived his ordeal unhurt. He mentioned that if it had happened to me, I would have been under the van wheels (me? surely not with my amazing agility?!). Its frustrating that as a cyclist you are powerless, the van just drove away and will never be seen again. I know that these close scrapes occur everyday across London and the UK and that thousands of roads look just the same as Hornsey Rise on a gloomy Monday morning. I’m not much of an activist but it made me realise that something needs to be done BIGTIME.
So this is why I’m going to the Blackfriars flash ride on Wednesday 12th October 5.45pm. I’m not going to argue about what TFL are doing wrong and how we can improve the city, I’ll leave that up to the expert bloggers and activists like ibikelondon and Cyclists in the City and the LCC. I just want to go to show my support for the campaigners and wish for a safer cycling future in London. One where cyclists and drivers alike are vigilant and respectful and more provision is available to reduce the traffic nightclub scenario I just love to experience in the mornings. You should come too!

Black Friars Flash Ride: Meet at at 5.45pm, outside Doggetts pub, on Wednesday 12 October 2011.


Iainecg said...

Hope your boyfriend has reported the incident to the Police, leaving the scene of an accident is an offence (as I uspect is failing to indicate, which could well be deemed driving without due care and attention) The cycling lawyer might be able to assist with advice -

Would like to be at Blackfriars, but I'm usually home by then (home being the best part of 2 hours from there), the thought of riding home in the dark and doing it all again at 4 the next morning is probably more dangerous than the numpties on the road! It's funny, isn't it, few scary moments tonight on the ride home, wonder if it had anything to do with the number of Police vehicles along the route!? Sad but true.

I hope the powers that be actually take notice, actually spent a bit of this morning's ride into London composing a little ditty on this, but can't remember all of it now! to the tune of "this old man"

This road's bad, not fit to use,
sort it out lads, shouldn't be hard
sack them Boris, give the job to us,
make it better for peds, bike, bus

(it seemed better mid ride circa 0530!)

Tillie said...

Ugh! I too have noticed how appalling the traffic is during the morning (and evening) commute. I just cannot comprehend why people drive to work in London! Who wants to sit in traffic when you have somewhere to be? The precious little space left on the roads for cyclists really is frustrating, not to mention the number of close shaves from impatient drivers who feel the need to overtake on narrow roads just because they have an engine and you don't. Please report this incident even with a bent wheel to go on (it's always those unmarked white vans, isn't it?) It's so important that it's on record. I'm really glad your boyfriend is OK!!

Jemma said...

Thanks Iainecg. I told him to report the incident but sadly he hasn't! Excuses about not being able to do it online and also filling out a large paper form were the reasons. Sadly it will be another incident unreported. I can only nag, but I don't want to turn into a mum!! I like you rhyme :-)

And thanks for your support Tillie. Yes, it's always white vans. I used to give them the benefit of the doubt but sadly these days they are all morphing into one persona of mean, selfish cycle running over machines! Good to get that off my chest!

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