Sunday, 6 May 2012

My Cycling Moment of the Week - 3

It is great to see a national newspaper take up the cause for cyclists up and down the country.
For the good people at The Times this campaign had a very personal meaning since a number of their staff will have witnessed directly the consequences of roads unsafe for cyclists. Six months after being crushed by a lorry The Times journalist Mary Bowers remains in the trauma unit of a London hospital as a result of the very serious injuries she sustained.
The accident, which happened in November has been a catalyst in spurring the newspaper to take on the cause for cyclists.

Campaigns for cycle safety have been taking place for many years thanks to the likes of CTC, Roadpeace and local groups such as London Cycling Campaign, where I am from.

But when a newspaper of reference is taking on the cause, this makes people sit up and take even more notice.
Councils are beginning to adopt The Times cycle safety manifesto, which consists of an eight-point plan to improve conditions for cyclists around UK cities.
The Department for Transport has asked local councils, including Transport for London to review dangerous junctions and consider redesigning them with cyclists in mind. 
A cross-party debate on cycle safety took place in Parliament in April and at the recent London Mayoral election campaign a questions and answers session to all the candidates was organised by The Times.There haven't been any significant tangible changes made yet, but the campaign continues as baby steps are made at local and central government level.

Not only has this campaign been taken up by various bodies in the UK, but associations overseas have also been inspired to lobby on their respective cycling issues.
In Italy, a group of cycling bloggers have clubbed together to spearhead the "Salva i Ciclisti" campaign.  The campaign was initially publicised in the newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, which had lost one of it's members of staff in a road traffic accident. Pier Luigi Todisco, a journalist at the sports newspaper was knocked down and killed by a truck in Milan while cycling to work last October.
Like the The Times' "Cities fit for Cycling" campaign, "Salva i Ciclisti" also propose an eight-point plan for the government to adopt in order improve cycle safety around Italian cities.

Furthermore, when thousands of cyclists took part in the London Cycling Campaign's "Big Ride" last Saturday week, a similar rally took place in Rome, in which 50,000 cyclists gathered in the Imperial Forum. This demonstration served to raise the profile of the issues facing cyclists and also to remember the 2,500 cyclists who have been killed in Italy over the last 10 years.

It all sounds very positive. Hopefully improvements can be made for cyclists in both countries. 


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