A ‘flash ride’ ride to Parliament has been organised by London bike bloggers Danny Williams (Cyclists in the City blog) and Mark Ames (ibikelondon blog) who have been inspired by the "Cities fit for Cycling" campaign launched by The Times newspaper.
A Times correspondent, Mary Bowers, was struck by a lorry whilst cycling to work in November, which compelled her colleagues to organise the campaign which has received wide-spread support with over 25,000 people signing The Times’ petition.
The ride, which will pass through Parliament Square and circle the Houses of Parliament, aims to focus the minds of MPs on the eve of a three-hour parliamentary debate on cyclists’ safety secured by MP for Cambridge Julian Huppert.
Mark Ames said: "This is a chance for Britain to really start taking safe cycling seriously. Not since 1996 and the launch of the National Cycling Strategy has the Government focussed on encouraging more people to cycle and keeping them safe. That strategy aimed to quadruple cycling rates to 10% of all journeys by 2012 – this year – and failed miserably.
"It is time for our politicians to stop hoping that helmets, high vis and patchy provision of cycle training will do enough, and to look instead across the North Sea to Holland and Denmark to see how to really encourage more cycling."
Danny Williams said: "We’re expecting all kinds of people on bikes to join us on Wednesday. With ever increasing fuel and public transport costs people are desperate for a fit, fun and environmentally friendly form of transport. But they need the Government to lead in making our roads safer; with lower speed limits on residential roads and high quality cycling infrastructure on our big roads to keep us safe and to make cycling inviting for everyone.
"Our MPs must really seize the zeitgeist and act, else more people will be hurt."
16 cyclists were killed cycling in London in 2011, and at a national level the number of cyclists seriously hurt increased.
Wednesday evening’s ride around the Palaces of Westminster is supported by the London Cycling Campaign who have recently launched their "Love London, Go Dutch" mayoral election campaign. The LCC have put forward a number of proposals for reclaiming public space for people, including Parliament Square, to make it a safe and inviting space in which people of all ages can feel comfortable walking and cycling.
Ames said: "The way in which poorly painted narrow cycle paths disapear beneath parked cars and evaporate at dangerous junctions demonstrates the paucity of imagination in the UK’s approach to creating safe conditions for cycling.
"The London Cycling Campaign’s proposals show just how much more pleasant our urban environment could be for all, and so much more safe for people on bikes. I hope our members of parliament can be bold and ‘Go Dutch’."
The protest ride will gather on Wednesday 22nd February on the Duke of York steps on The Mall, departing at 6.30PM. It will travel through Parliament Square, over Lambeth Bridge, opposite Westminster along the south bank, across Westminster Bridge back to Parliament Square before returning to The Mall via Whitehall and Trafalgar Square. Several hundred cyclists are expected to participate.