Thursday, 2 October 2008

Where two cyclists died

This is where Wan-Chen McGuiness was crushed to death last week by a lorry turning left out of Vernon Place (ahead on the left) on to Southampton Row. She worked for the Natural History Museum and according to a colleague, Alex Ball (on the Moving Target site), “She was apparently wearing the usual hi-viz gear and her bike had lights fitted. I think we should assume that she had taken all the usual steps to make herself visible.”

In this photo you can see a white van which, without signalling, pulled over to make an illegal right turn, indifferent to the safety of the cyclist immediately behind.

(Below) This is the place on Forest Road, Walthamstow, where father-of-four Michael McLean, 46, died after being knocked off his bicycle by a speeding hit and run car driver on August 28 last year. The driver has not been identified.

Traffic still belts past at speeds clearly in excess of 30 mph. Look carefully and you'll see that the cycle markings in the foreground are just as incoherent and sloppy as they were a year ago. (Not that they are likely to have been a factor in the fatal crash, which appears to have been the result of a driver travelling at a lunatic speed.) And the tree hasn't been pruned, which means the Belisha beacon on this side of the pedestrian crossing can't be seen by drivers.

What is to be done? In the case of Forest Road speed cameras are needed along its entire length, with more cameras at The Bell junction to catch and deter all the red light jumpers.

In the case of Vernon Place/Southampton Row there should be massive Advanced Stop Lines for cyclists, and cyclist-only green phases giving cyclists ten seconds to get across the junction before other traffic such as HGVs. The dramatic rise in cycling in central London has not been accompanied by the introduction of facilities to protect cyclists or make cycling more convenient.