Rider Down

There’s a forum called LFGSS. It originally started as ‘London Fixed Gear and Single Speed’, but has now grown into a truly huge online community with members on all types of bikes across the world. The London focus remains, however.

With so many eyes on the ground, LFGSS are able to run a pretty comprehensive ‘Rider Down’ board, listing all major incidents involving cyclists that happen in the capital. As a measure of respect and solidarity, the board logo is switched from blue to black for a few days every time a Londoner loses their life whilst on a bike.

That’s happened three times in the past seven days. [A few days later, it’s now five in nine days]

Francis Golding, crushed to death by a left-turning coach on the 5th. Brian Holt, killed by yet another tipper truck that ran straight over him, also on the 5th. And today, an unnamed chap, run down by a bus in Croydon.

Three dead in a week is bad even for the cyclist-blender that is London, and it’ll probably nudge onto the local news in some way or other. Various politicans will wheel out and give soundbites, and everyone will looked rather glum. Boris will say a few words, although he’ll probably try and avoid bringing up the recent coroner’s report that concluded that one of his cycle superhighways probably caused the traffic conflict that killed yet another person at Bow Roundabout.

I imagine that most people ignorant of the reality of urban cycling will say this was an unlucky week. They’d be right, and yet also completely wrong.

Our failure as a nation to devise a sensible system of urban transport directly results every day in numerous people failing to make it safely home to their loved ones. Look down the casualty list for London alone, and be absolutely confident that every single person involved had a truly shit day. When tonnes of metal hit a body, bones break. When a driver unintentionally mows down a fellow human being, that moment will stay with them forever. When ambulance, police and fire services peel yet another person off the road, the attrition of the mind continues.

It’s unlucky when one of those injured dies. It’s direct cause and effect that these incidents happen. Day after day after day.

Take care out there. 

PS: Another London cyclist is reported as being in a critical condition after being involved in a collision today with a bus in Kesington.

PPS (2013-11-13): A futher cyclist died in Cheshire yesterday (when post was written); the offending lorry failed to stop and is now being traced by police. This morning, someone was killed by a tipper truck at Bow roundabout and a second was taken by air ambulance from an incident in Millbank.

2013-11-14: Now five people in nine days in London, with someone else in a critical condition.

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