Has a new wave of cycling bloggers changed the debate?

 
London mayor Boris Johnson on a bike It is difficult for the mayor to ignore cyclists

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Cycling safety seems to be moving up the political agenda with The Times newspaper launching its campaign on Thursday.

When the Thunderer gets behind an issue then politicians usually take note.

What the paper's also done very well is to capture the zeitgeist amongst cyclists especially in London.

I've tried to cover cycling issues in the capital for a number of years.

Universal voice

What I've noticed is anger amongst cyclists has increased as the popularity of cycling has increased, but the message has in the last year or so become politicised and targeted.

That's perhaps in part due to the campaigning cyclist bloggers who have given a focal point to the anger.

A notoriously broad, individualistic and diverse church, does the web finally give cyclists a universal voice?

Most cyclists are very web savvy and these bloggers use social media like Twitter and their blogs to unite the message.

At the last Mayoral election that wasn't the case.

Bloggers like I Bike London , Cyclists In The City and the local site King's Cross Environment have led the charge.

More recently, Bikes Alive has organised controversial cycling go-slows around Kings Cross.

Real change

What it means is the stories often get into the mainstream media, for example here at BBC London, the Evening Standard and at The Guardian

Danger on the roads

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What it also shows is that the voice of cyclists is now very difficult for the London's mayor to ignore.

In terms of Transport for London policy, it's led to 500 junctions being reviewed. Changes have also been proposed at Bow roundabout where two cyclists were killed by HGVs.

It's arguable, but the more mainstream campaigning groups like the London Cycling Campaign have also become more vocal and more demanding on the politicians.

Now there's also a new website Londoners On Bikes. It's mission is to mobilise the cycling vote to make it safer to cycle in London.

Cycling isn't just about getting from A to B.

All cyclists will be hoping the Times campaign acts as a catalyst for real change on the roads.

Now it's also political and mayoral candidates will be taking note.

Let me know your thoughts.

 
Tom Edwards, Transport correspondent, London Article written by Tom Edwards Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

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Comments

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1.

    Well, let's hope this gathers pace and quickly. A tragic coincidence, but a cyclist's just been fatally injured on Bishopsgate in Central London.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 2.

    Thanks Tom, good of you to acknowledge our work at Kings Cross Environment. The only way to get true accountability now is to use the courts to protect London cyclists and examine TfL for corporate manslaughter or under health and safety legislation where they have presided over deadly junctions for years and taken inadequate action.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 3.

    At least part of the reason cyclists have become so demanding is that as soon as any journo starts writing a story about cyclists they descend into stereotyping them negatively. BBC journos are at least as bad as anyone else at this.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 4.

    It's always been said that when enough cyclists get on the road then a critical mass will be achieved where the group can no longer be ignored. London cyclists have reached that point. Great! Happy days. I've been a cycling commuter since 2006 (9200m in a year). After 2008 I witnessed the roads in Glasgow swelling with cyclists. So let's make this a national issue not just a London-centric one.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 5.

    I'm all for cyclists to be given due recognition and safety on the roads, but to use the "charity begins at home" analogy, it's vital that all cyclists obey the highway code and ensure they were reasonable safety gear, helmets are frequently not worn. As a friend of mine once said, doesn't matter what you wear, the road is just as hard!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 6.

    Some facts for the blissfully ignorant:
    More cyclists are killed by motorists jumping red lights than by cyclists jumping red lights.
    Motorists regularly fail to obey the Highway Code.
    EN1078 "cycle" helmets can save far more motorists' lives than cyclists'.
    Research for DfT regularly that it is the motorist at fault in the vast majority of cyclist/car collisions.
    How is your house, Jackcabnory?

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 7.

    As an ex-cyclist, motorcyclist & current driver (of 35 years understanding & passing tests at every level at the first time of asking), I have to say that too many "pedal warriors" are their own worst enemies. Too many of these idiots think that the road belongs to them exclusively without them any of the Highway Code. It's time that cyclists carry insurance to protect their victims from them.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 8.

    Thanks for mentioning Londoners on Bikes www.londonersonbikes.org Tom - really feels like we've caught a wave of new energy amongst people who just want to feel safe on their way about town!

    We're looking forward to seeing what Ken, Boris, Brian and Jenny can come up with in the next three months to get our cycling vote.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 9.

    Jackcabnory
    '...ensure they were reasonable safety gear, helmets are frequently not worn'
    Except as people who are aware of the research already know, helmets are not a panacea. They do not deflect motor cars and can cause neck and rotational injuries. They are also incapable of protecting against many injuries resulting from motor-vehicle impact. Drivers have to take more care or be banned.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 10.

    QPR4Me
    'It's time that cyclists carry insurance to protect their victims from them'

    Your comment makes no sense and is dishonest.
    Mass ratio, kinetic energy and unlimited vs limited speed show that the danger to pedestrians from a motor vehicle vastly exceeds the danger from a cyclist.
    Apart from mere physics the science shows your argument is hogwash, try and be honest for a change.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 11.

    I love cycling in London and do it regularly, but I'm afraid that there are is a large minority of cyclists who do ride seriously dangerously, and blaming driver's for all the accidents, is just plain wrong.
    I work in Bloombury, and the number of cyclist who RLJ, ride the wrong way up one way streets (when there is no contraflow) and ride on pavements and ride without lights just mad and unlawful

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 12.

    "doesn't matter what you wear, the road is just as hard" writes Jackabnory, advising us all to wear helmets. Well, I notice that in other European countries very few people on bikes wear helmets. Is it because the roads are softer over there or could there be some other reason, do you think? Think really hard and ask yourself why that might be. Then ask yourself what we're doing wrong in the UK.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 13.

    Yes there are cyclists that break the rules just like there are motorists and so on. So whats the difference? well about a ton of steel. How many people have been killed by cyclists in the last ten years and then compare that to how many have been killed by motorists in accidents where they are to blame. Yes some cyclists cause accidents and get killed but its tiny compared to the other figure!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 14.

    As a pedestrian who walks from Waterloo every day, I am amazed at the number of cyclists who ignore the highway code when it comes to red lights, one way streets, riding on the pavements etc. I accept that they are a minority of the cycling community, but if cyclists wish to gain the support of the public, they need to be more balanced in also criticising those who flout the rules of the road.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 15.

    I used to drive a mobile Library, now while it wasn't as big as an artic, it was 7.5 tons. And i'm afraid to say there where several occusions when I almost took a cyclist out a junction or in slow moving traffic, because you really can't see someone coming up your inside until it's almost to late and they take twice as long to stop. Cyclist actually need to think when undertaking is it safe! No.

 

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