On the evening of a Commons debate on cycling, roads around Westminster were brought to standstill during the rush hour as 1000s of cyclists took part in a London Cycling Campaign protest ride.
Tonight’s ride was the third in a series of ‘Space for Cycling’ protest rides over the Summer, that are designed to persuade Government and the London Mayor to take road segregation and design for cyclists more seriously.
It was aimed to coincide with a debate in the Commons about recommendations made in the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group report “Get Britain Cycling”.
As thousands of cyclists gathered on the South Bank near Jubilee Gardens and Royal Festival Hall, the first thing that struck me was that police had forced the cyclists onto the pavement at the expense of pedestrians in order to keep the road clear. Although Belvedere Road is a bus route, it runs parallel to York Road, and I could see no good reason why a diversion couldn’t have been in place – it was to my mind a clear example of the type of perception problem that LCC are trying to address.
After a photo-call for the main banner, the ride set off slowly at around 6.30, and police closed off roads as it snaked round onto Westminster Bridge with Jenny Jones (Green Party) among the front runners.
Passing Parliament Square and heading along Millbank, the ride then headed back south across Lambeth Bridge. From there, the enormity of the protest was clear, as riders could be seen still flooding across Westminster Bridge in the distance, while the first riders were already on Lambeth Palace Road heading back towards the start.
LCC plan further actions to lobby for a serious appraisal of road design and real improvements to cycle safety.