5 September 2013

Death of a Cyclist in Southwark

Today (04.09.2013) is a most, most despairing day. The death of a cyclist in Southwark must make other Southwark Council Members weep as responsible for this continued deadly conflict & until we all fix it, now not tomorrow, more will die.

I spent from 07.10 am till 09.50 am preparing for a meeting, worried about a possible reduction in key space for cycling and safety of cyclists in my Southwark Ward.

Next, I spent time getting persuaded by Southwark Council Officers into acceptance of much of their draft, and thereafter emailed, if only one key issue of safety and space for cycling was addressed.

Soon afterwards emails arrived with much more detailed technical support highlighting my instinctive concerns to condemn the draft.

This a pre-consultation with elected Councillors so timelines narrow.

It was then knew a weakness, I gave in far too readily.

Such have been the attacks by my fellows, using the power of party group to control the Council machine, I had been made meek and less than I should aspire and humanly hope to be

Next, I learnt of the death of a cyclist in Southwark.

I cried.

I hope my fellows are just as ashamed of the lack of actions to protect cyclists in Southwark.

I gave in so easily and, in place of the robust strength of instinct, failed to stand up for all and a totally robust cycling modal solution.

Later, when I met with a few activists complaining about Southwark Cyclists and the London Cycling Campaign being pro-Labour, I have to say the suggestion that it was now impossible to get a rational and “Dutch” infrastructure adopted in Southwark did seem just vaguely plausible.

We are in dire need of a dedicated infrastructure to remove conflict between cyclists and motorists. This cannot be a piecemeal solution and anything short of a unified solution is to kill cyclists.

My emails with Fiona Colley in 2010-11 at least suggest she wanted such conflict as segregation must not be in the Local Plan.

Peter John proclaims Southwark will one day be the most cycle friendly borough and this is an aspiration I will work for.

Dearest Peter, these are great words but when the need actions?

I will now ask in Council Assembly just what the actions to make Southwark go Dutch are.

It is after all about making sure journeys are not made longer and less convenient as who wants to spend more of their time cycling around junctions with motor vehicles speeding ahead?  

No-one should have to choose between "safe" and "convenient.  

No-one should ever be encouraged to choose a less safe route across any junction that will kill if they're in a hurry.

I cannot comprehend why we still make the mistake of separating "less confident" cyclists and thereby promoting inferior cycling solutions that force people into such devil's bargains.

Build the infrastructure and cycle they will. But we must avoid the costly mistake of building infrastructure which facilitates conflict, danger and inconvenience.

How will all Southwark's Councillors be reassured about Southwark’s future for cycling?