News broke over the weekend that London Mayor (and big cycling advocate) Boris Johnson, was almost killed in a bizarre cycling incident while out 'recceing' cycle routes. Watch the video for what is quite simply a freakish chain of events. While what Boris endured could hardly be described as an every day occurrence, London cyclists will be familiar with the dangers the Mayor was in.
The video is proof, it it was needed, that London still has some way to go before it meets his desire to be a truly great 'cycling city'. You'll notice that, along with the parked cars narrowing the flow, the truck itself hits a speed cushion, which actually triggers its rear door to swing open. London has for some years been taking the obstacle-course approach to pathway design - speed cushions, width restrictors, bollards and more. It's debatable whether these make things safer for cyclists, when really the issue is combining bikes with much larger vehicles.
Perhaps the silver lining is that this incident will be permanently imprinted in Boris's head now. Despite his claims that "London's a great cycling city" it's not. Spend ten minutes in a Dutch city and the reality dawns. Cyclists here must share lanes with London's huge buses and the cycle route network is largely an apologetic, indirect, network of side roads and badly laid out pavement alterations. In the Netherlands, the cyclist rules above all others - pedestrians, cars and trucks all cede to the bicycle. In the UK we pretend that the pedestrian has priority, but the reality is, it's always the car - or truck. If there's a spark that will mean London gets real green pathways - clear streets that are only for use by bikes and perhaps the odd other vehicle, this might be the moment that triggered it...
This article first appeared on Brits on Green - the new green website from The Movement Design Bureau