Pedaller

A milestone is reached in the UK, sadly

Clifton James was the 50th person to be killed whilst riding a bicycle in the UK during 2015 (photo: Evening Standard).

Clifton James was the 50th person to be killed whilst riding a bicycle in the UK during 2015 (photo: Evening Standard).

A milestone no one wanted to see reached: Clifton James was the 50th person to be killed whilst cycling on Britain’s roads this year. He died on Sunday, 21 June 2015. The collision involved a car.

Ying Tao, who was killed less than 36 hours later at Bank in The City, was the 51st. The collision involved an HGV construction tipper truck.

These two tragedies in London are also tragedies in the UK.

This wider context is needed because many towns throughout Britain will soon – if not already – start to build more housing: More HGVs and tipper trucks will be on our roads during their construction and more cars after they are built.

We travel on our roads differently than just a few years ago: more and more of us are choosing to cycle or walk, rather than drive, those short journeys from home to the shops, schools and over to a friend’s place. If we choose to drive, then we see this too.

The opportunity to reduce road danger must be taken up now, as part of house building plans.

Ying Tao was killed on Monday, 22 June 2015 in the City of London (photo: Evening Standard)

Ying Tao was killed on Monday, 22 June 2015 in the City of London. She was the 51st person in the UK killed whilst riding her bicycle (photo: Evening Standard)

It is no longer acceptable that we do little to make our roads less dangerous; both in London and in the UK as a whole.

We don’t accept deaths when there are train or aeroplane crashes; and nor should we for crashes on our roads. We actively work to find ways to prevent crashes on the rails or in the skies; but hardly at all when they’re on the roads.

Education programmes are not enough. Click-bait media that often blame victims is not moving us forward either.

Instead, both appear to be an attempt, for whatever reason, to distract us from putting the blame, and the pressure for change, onto its rightful place: governments who control the design and use of our roads. A target of zero road deaths is required now. The work to achieve that target must begin today, and never let up. Ever.

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