Today saw the unveiling of the London Mayor’s (revamped) Vision For Cycling In London. Launched by one Andrew Gilligan (yes, that one) freshly appointed as the Mayor’s £38k a year two day a week cycling commissioner.
The main item being focussed upon in the Evening Standard is the proposed ‘Crossrail for the bike’, a fifteen mile route from Hillingdon to Barking designed to be continuous and largely segregated. In particular people are focussing on the proposed change of use of a lane on the Westway from cars to cycles, it appears my blog was ahead of the curve on this!
Just imagine it, take all the money you’d spend on something like Crossrail (£12bn+?) and for maybe £1bn we could have a suspended cycleway running east to west
My Kinda Westway, February 2008
It might be tight in London, but that shouldn’t mean we can’t find the space for a single dedicated East-West route for bikes. And if we really can’t, why not take the vision of Crossrail into another mode and make something elevated or tunnelled if we must. Cyclists aren’t going to go away.
Lucky Seven, February 2012
This was idle talk five years ago, it was hopeful talk one year ago – it’s a heavily promoted part of a plan today. However, we are not talking about an entirely elevated route such as that mooted as the Skycycle or that I first mentioned. Instead this would reuse an existing part of the Westway which has seen a reduction in motorised traffic and hence space is available for reuse. Continue reading
Seven months ago I got run over on the streets of London for the second time.
Last week The Times launched a cycle safety campaign. Their Save Our Cyclists campaign has garnered plenty of support from cyclists including myself. I signed up and gave them a small summary of my experiences of cycling in London. They were nice enough to ask for more and ran the following paragraph as the experiences of one Alex Ingram of Hammersmith aged 30 who commutes daily to Kew Bridge:
In the seven years that I’ve been cycling in London I’ve been run over twice. My first accident was in 2007, at a T-junction. A young mother drove out of a side road and knocked me flying into the air. I was lucky — I was only bruised. My last accident was in July, when I was run over from behind by a pair on a stolen moped at a busy gyratory in Hammersmith. I’d been scraped across the road on my right-hand side. I was rather lucky.
Lucky, you might wonder? What’s lucky about being run over twice? Well, despite suffering pretty nasty road rash (which took months to heal and has left some scars) in July and awful bruising (which only healed after a few months) a few years back I’ve not broken anything worse than a front fork, some cranks and a pair of glasses. It could have been so much worse. The page my story was printed on shared its space with those of my fellow cyclists and that of James Cracknell. They had proper accidents, the changes they experienced were not just in the mind.
So, this morning, I got run over on the streets of London. AGAIN. This time by a moped which had allegedly just been stolen by two lads who were spooked by a police motorbike and decided to careen into the back of this poor cyclist.
Just as I started to get myself together in the ambulance I started tweeting about what happened, and I’ve just consolidated all of those tweets into a nice little timeline on Storify.
Sat here in bed at the other end of the day I feel very positive despite all that’s happened. Strangers and friends alike were kind, the emergency services looked after me well, without any rush, and work were pretty understanding. Haven’t gone back to see what state the bike’s in yet, but apparently it wasn’t too bad, most of the damage basically happened to me as I flew over the handlebars having been undertaken by a moped which landed on me with it’s two occupants.
If I do have a bit of anger, it’s this. I know I was run over by someone breaking the law, who the police are trying to track down. But I also know that there are people driving today with well over 12 points on their license, and there is a lot of talk of smoothing the traffic flow in London. What smooths the traffic flow when a mindless accident like this in a major junction blocks off two lanes and doubtless caused tailbacks for quite some distance? We can’t get away from sharing the roads with each other, if you really worry about congestion, lobby for safer streets for everyone, a few more people on a few more bikes having a lot fewer accidents and I think we all get to win.
I can’t wait to head out for a ride again myself.