Month: January 2015

Killing for an ideology

At the beginning of January the United Kingdom witnessed an atrocity that claimed as many victims as the number of people killed at the Charlie Hebdo building in Paris.
No major media outlet reported this atrocity. The public remained unaware. The killers are mostly still at large. There has been no national demonstration. No politician has mentioned it, let alone proposed new measures to tackle these terrorists. And yet this type of crime produces the largest number of victims in the country, more than homicides.
The reason is that the terrorists have won. They have seized power and brainwashed the population.
In the first 15 days of 2015 12 people were brutally killed while riding their bicycles on British roads. A similar number of people were probably butchered while walking, but we don’t have the precise number because the authorities refuse to publish timely statistics. (For example Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police still refuse to tell us how many pedestrians where killed in London in 2014. And Glasgow City Council is doing its best to cover up the Christmas massacre).
Terrorism is defined as the use or threat of violence for the purpose of advancing an ideological cause.
In this case the ideology is the belief that everyone has a right to drive a motor vehicle, that the roads were built for cars, and that killings by motorists are accidents.
The terrorists have won because these repulsive ideas have become accepted by the majority of people. For example, in a recent essay, Stephen Pinker confirms the thesis of his book which lauds the decrease of violence in the world in the past fifty years. At no point, does he mention traffic violence, which according to the World Health Organization is the number one cause of of violent death in the world. The number of vulnerable road users killed by motorists is at least thirty percent greater than the number of homicides.
We are hopeful that this barbaric state imposed by terrorists, will not last long. We believe that soon the public will feel ashamed and full of revulsion by the violence and cruelty of this ideology, which calls “accidents” brutal killings such as that of Stephanie Turner

10,000 people who rode for Going Dutch do not want more of the same shite

On 28 April 2012, London witnessed the largest ever protest ride. Under heavy rain, 10,000 people demanded Dutch-standard cycling infrastructure in London. It was a pivotal event which led to the Mayor’s Vision for London, an ambitious document and the Cycling Commissioner, who acknowledged that the work done in the first term of Johnson’s mayoralty was not good enough.

Almost three years have passed. Gilligan has managed to steer the TfL tanker to much higher levels of quality, supported by a Mayor keen to leave a legacy which is not just blue paint.

However the core part of the strategy, the Central London Cycling Grid is in danger of being swept aside by corrupt Local Authorities which have no ambition and are marionettes of minority self-interest groups, such as taxi drivers and car owners.

I have alerted the leadership of the London Cycling Campaign that if they don’t urgently mobilise the membership and robustly engage Gilligan, the Local Authorities and the LCC local groups, we are not going to witness  a Dutch-quality network but a total travesty, not dissimilar to the pitiful LCN of decades ago.

So far I have not received an answer to my letter below. I urge you all to write to the LCC and express your dismay at the plans (or lack of) proposed by Westminster, Camden, Islington, City, Southwark and Kensington, and request an energetic response.

Dear all,

We are facing a fundamental threat to the Central London Grid, and if we are don’t respond appropriately and promptly it will undermine the whole Cycling Vision.
There seems to be an attempt, principally by Westminster and now it seems from Camden as well, to assume that the whole Grid is a Quietway and therefore it requires minimal intervention.
That is fundamentally wrong.
The Grid is a dense network of safe and direct cycle routes that respect desire lines and that aspirationally are on streets with low traffic volumes. Where the conditions are such that a road can be considered quiet (i.e. 30kph AND fewer than 2k cpu/day), then minimal intervention is required. By definition, not a single street in Westminster meets these requirements.
If a street is not quiet there are two options:
a. make it quiet, or
b. install protected cycle facilities.
Now, the Vision does seem to rule out a.
A new network of cycle routes in central London
 In partnership with the central boroughs, we will create a central London ‘Bike Grid’ of high-quality, high-volume cycle routes, using a combination of segregation and quiet shared streets, along with some innovative use of existing infrastructure. The ‘Crossrail’ East-West Superhighway will form part of this.
 With the boroughs’ agreement, we will seek to open up a number of central one-way streets for two-way cycling, creating direct, easy, lower-traffic routes through the City and West End. Experience from the City and Kensington and Chelsea, who have brilliantly led this process, shows that it can be accomplished without traffic or safety impacts.
 We will not be asking boroughs to remove traffic or, in the vast majority of cases, change parking on the two-way cycle streets, unless they want to.
 The east-west segregated Superhighway will be delivered by 2016. Subject to the agreement of the boroughs, so will the majority of the Grid. Route planning has already started; a planning conference with the central London boroughs will take place next week. Routes for the Grid will be announced as they are agreed with the boroughs.
If a. is ruled out, then b. is a MUST, otherwise we are not going to have “high-quality, high-volume cycle routes”.
I think that the LCC and the local groups should sit down with Andrew Gilligan and the Boroughs, and convince them that a. is often cheaper than b. and should be part of the arsenal.
This is where the Motoring Grid becomes a powerful tool. We must challenge the authorities to draw the arterial roads on a map. Then we have a logical framework for filtering cells.
We need 
  • co-ordination from LCC HQ; this must be a key campaign for 2015
  • the various local groups to be on message; the quality of the network MUST BE HOMOGENEOUS 
We are winning, but now we need to fight twice as hard to achieve our goals

Images via LCC