Six cyclists were killed within two weeks in London, between November 5 and 18. Most were crushed by trucks and buses. Stop Killing Cyclists organized a protest on Friday night; over a thousand cyclists (and a whole lot of police) showed up and lay down. An organizer, Donnachadh McCarthy, spoke out:
After Mayor Boris Johnson blamed the victims for not obeying the laws of the road, and police started pulling cyclists over for not wearing helmets or high visibility clothing, Guardian Bike Blogger John Stuttle attended the event and writes:
We are here because Londoners are fed up of being killed. We need to have modern, European, safe cycling network. We believe it's a human right for children and pensioners to cycle around our city safely, and at the moment they can't. We have brought the battle to TfL's [Transport for London] headquarters because these are the people making the decisions....We believe that we need a separate, segregated modern cycle network that is at least two metres wide. We can do that in London, there is plenty of space to do it.
We were frustrated at the response from Boris Johnson, who made a series of comments that implied cyclists were to blame for this spate of accidents. Sections of the press inevitably echoed this sentiment. We felt that the real problem was the lack of cycling infrastructure that puts cyclists alongside HGVs [Heavy Goods Vehicles] and buses in an inherently dangerous way, especially given the huge blind spots that most HVG drivers have to contend with.
He notes the never-ending debate about the wearing of high-visibility clothing and helmets:
Hi viz will not save you if the lorry driver can't see you because of poorly designed cabs. A helmet won't protect you from a 20 ton lorry or bus's wheels. Abiding by the rules won't help you if there is inadequate provision to segregate cyclists from the heavy vehicles we currently have to commute alongside every day.
More at Stop the Killing