I usually love cycling in London – much as I don’t like cycling as an activity it’s my favourite option of travelling across London. It keeps me sane. It gives me a sense of freedom and independence – especially when I cycle over one of the bridges crossing the river Thames.
This week I found cycling in London quite unsettling and awkward. On Tuesday I learned about the death of a cyclist in Camberwell the previous day – 6 cyclists having been killed on London’s roads in a fortnight, I still feel quite shaken about it.
My cycle route that day involved going through Bow roundabout where the young Russian woman was killed by a tipper lorry the previous week. I made my way through the slightly confusing though apparently now safer traffic light system into the round about and had to stop at a red ligh just by the site where she was remembered with flowers, placards, messages. As I was waiting for the light to turn green a young man on a racing bike passed me from behind and slowly cycled through the red light into the roundabout and onto the blue cycle lane, wearing no helmet, no high visibility accessories and a very calm face. I felt really angry about it: much as I know that jumping red lights is not a direct cause for cycle accidents I think it contributes to a culture of ‘bigger, better’ faster’ and find it an unnecessary provocation to everyone else on the roads who’s (having to) sticking to the rules and therefore making it a more predictable and safe place.
I’d like us all – cyclists, pedestrians, drivers – to take responsibility for our own behaviour on the streets and making our own safety and that of others around us a priority over getting somewhere quickly…