Thursday, 25 November 2010

Yesterday’s shocking violence and lawlessness in London

By 10.20 am things were already looking ugly, with these sites flagged as ‘red light’ collisions involving road closures or major delays

A102 Blackwall Tunnel Greenwich » Severe delays and queueing traffic due to earlier accident, two lorries involved

A302 Victoria Street Victoria » Queueing traffic and partially blocked due to accident

A213 Penge Road South Norwood » Road closed due to accident

And so on, throughout the day. To the complete indifference of national news organisations. But then even BBC London News has always been indifferent to the regular killing of cyclists by lorry drivers. BBC London News never bothered to report the killing of Catriona Patel, it never bothered to report the trial, and it never bothered to report the verdict or the sentence. BBC London News is a petrolhead outfit run by journalists who obviously never cycle anywhere and who presumably have clocked up numerous parking tickets and speeding convictions, since they repeatedly give publicity to the most trivial stories involving ‘unfair’ parking tickets or ‘unfair’ speed cameras.

Chief Inspector Jane Connors said kettling had been put in place "as a last resort". She told the news agency:

we want to make sure that Londoners can go about their business

Which is a surreal remark in a city where yesterday, as on every other day, hundreds of thousands of drivers took to the streets to speed, jump red lights, talk on mobile phones and drive into Advanced Stop Lines. The rights of pedestrians and cyclists to go about their business peacefully, unobstructed and free from threats of violence has never been of much interest to the Metropolitan Police, which has a long tradition of colluding with the most violent and lawless section of London society, i.e. motorists.

The driver of the Toyota shown above, reg. J80 SLY, cruised past me as I approached the empty ASL at red and went straight into it, even though the ASL is very clearly marked and has a giant logo of a bicycle in the box. The junction of the A503 and the A104. But the driver, a middle aged white male, knows perfectly well that road traffic law is rarely enforced in London. If they wanted to, the Met could catch thousands of drivers every day breaking the law by driving into ASLs at major junctions in Waltham Forest. But they don’t enforce the law. They are institutionally anti-cyclist.

Not long afterwards I saw the driver of a massive HGV. He was driving with a large road map or something similar spread out across his steering wheel. He was belting along staring down at the map, not looking ahead. By the time it was safe for me to stop I had missed the chance of getting his number. Just another highly dangerous lorry driver working for a road haulage industry which is totally out of control.

Not that it’s different in other cities.


The police then blocked off the road near Rusholme, charged the protesters and threatened to arrest anyone who went on the roads.

“Manchester police said criminal or anti-social behaviour would not be tolerated.”

Except, of course, when the culprit is a motorist, in which case the cops couldn’t give a toss. No surprise really, in view of Manchester’s policing tradition.

And now for something completely different.