Press Releases issued by Bikes Alive

The following press releases have been issued by Bikes Alive (on 30 December 2011, 7 January 2012, 17 January 2012, 5 February 2012, 19 February 2012, 29 February 2012, 7 March 2012, 11 March 2012, 25 March 2012, 18 April 2012, and 22 April 2012).

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PRESS RELEASE – Friday 30 December 2011

Issued by Bikes Alive

NEW CYCLISTS’ CAMPAIGN CALLS FOR “NON-VIOLENT SELF DEFENCE” AGAINST MOTOR TRAFFIC IN LONDON

–   9 JANUARY ACTION ANNOUNCED

Cyclists and other non-motorised road users suffer death and injury (not to mention being delayed, poisoned and terrorised) by the selfish, anti-social (and frequently illegal) behaviour of motorists – despite the fact that much of the traffic in urban areas like London is completely unnecessary. In the case of private cars, much of the traffic is there for no other reason than the selfishness of the drivers concerned.

The situation on major roads and at major junctions in London is exacerbated by the policy of Transport for London (TfL), which prioritises the speed and volume of motor vehicles above the safety and sanity of everyone else.

Since polite meetings and symbolic action are having, on their own, too little effect, some cyclists now plan to take non-violent direct action to defend themselves and other vulnerable road users.

The first such (publicly announced) event will be at the lethal junction outside Kings Cross station (where York Way meets Pentonville Road and Euston Road) at 6pm on Monday 9 January 2012. Bikes Alive is calling for cyclists and pedestrians to take steps to forcibly calm the traffic there for one hour; if there are enough participants, the Kings Cross one-way system will be closed down from 6pm to 7pm that evening.

Unless TfL agrees to change its priorities as a result, Bikes Alive will endeavour to organise regular road closures, with the aim being to completely close down Kings Cross for at least one hour every week until TfL comes to its senses.

For more details of this plan, see bikesalive.wordpress.com; or e-mail bikesalive @ london.com

Albert Beale, on 020-7278 4474, has agreed to deal with media enquiries about this for Bikes Alive.

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PRESS RELEASE – Saturday 7 January 2012

Issued by Bikes Alive

LEADING LONDON GREEN BACKS DIRECT ACTION AGAINST TRAFFIC VIOLENCE

– JENNY JONES TO ATTEND 9 JANUARY “BIKES ALIVE” DEMONSTRATION

Jenny Jones, Green Party leader at the Greater London Authority, has announced that she is joining a cyclists’ direct action event at Kings Cross on Monday. The event, initiated by cycling campaign group Bikes Alive, is to demand a change in the balance of power on London’s roads and an end to the official policy of giving priority to the speed and volume of motor vehicles above the safety and sanity of everyone else.

Jenny Jones said, “London’s roads must be fixed urgently if we are to make them safe for cyclists and all other road users. This is the Mayor’s responsibility, and I hope that if we make a statement through peaceful, direct action he will start to listen.”

Bikes Alive has called for cyclists and pedestrians to take active steps to calm the traffic outside Kings Cross station from 6pm to 7pm on Monday, if possible by closing the road to motor vehicles completely.

DISABILITY CAMPAIGNERS’ SUPPORT  [¶¶   See update below]

The priority given to motor traffic affects pedestrians, as well as cyclists, and Bikes Alive demands changes which would improve the safety of all slow-moving and vulnerable road users, including the re-timing of traffic lights at junctions and crossings to allow much longer periods between successive green-for-traffic phases.

Lianna Etkind of Transport for All (which campaigns for safe and accessible means of travel for everyone, irrespective of their abilities or disabilities), has also spoken out in support of the demonstration, and will be present with other Transport for All activists. She said, “The Mayor’s insidious talk of ‘smoothing traffic flow’ covers an agenda of prioritising impatient motorists over the safety of pedestrians. Disabled and older people’s safety and independence is being put at risk by shortsighted streetscene policies, particularly the removal of crossings.”

“BRING YOUR DANCING SHOES…”

Bikes Alive was set up in reaction to the almost hysterical support, in many circles, for the divine right of motorists to delay, poison and terrorise cyclists and other non-motorised road users.

Albert Beale, speaking on behalf of Bikes Alive, said today, “Monday’s event is the first step in a campaign to stop – by whatever nonviolent means needed – the completely unnecessary level of deaths, injuries and fear inflicted by motorists on the more vulnerable. I urge cyclists to join us on Monday. And if you don’t have a bike, bring your dancing shoes…”

ENDS

Notes:
1)  Media enquiries about this will be dealt with by Albert Beale, on 020-7278 4474.
2)  For more details of this initiative, see bikesalive.wordpress.com or e-mail bikesalive@london.com
3)  For the previous Bikes Alive press release on this topic, see bikesalive.wordpress.com/press-releases

=========================

¶¶  10 January update

Although this press release was accurate when issued, please note that on the day of the 9 January demonstration Transport for All announced the withdrawal of its official support for the event. For the background to this, please see the “London Cycling Campaign” item on the main page of this website.

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PRESS RELEASE  —  17 January 2012

BIKES ALIVE ANNOUNCES MORE DIRECT ACTION – RETURNS TO KINGS CROSS ON MONDAY 23 JANUARY

Bikes Alive – the direct action campaign to resist the violence inflicted on cyclists (and on other people) by motor vehicles – is following up its blockade of the Kings Cross one-way system on Monday 9 January with a similar (though larger) hour-long event on Monday 23 January.

This campaign of cyclists’ self-defence against the threat to our safety caused by motor vehicles – a threat made worse by the policies of Transport for London (TfL) – was launched earlier this month: some people decided that when it comes to the killing and maiming of cyclists, “Enough is enough”.

Bikes Alive – which is enthusiastic about working with pedestrians, disability activists and community campaigners who also demand a reversal of the balance of power on London’s roads – mobilised around 200 people at its first action; even more are expected to join in non-violently enforcing a go-slow in the Kings Cross one-way system from 6pm to 7pm next Monday.

On the evening of the first action, TfL boss Peter Hendy, speaking live on BBC Radio London, denounced the demonstration as “stupid”.

Bikes Alive spokesperson Albert Beale said today, “Luckily, there are plenty of people in London stupid enough to think that the streets of our city should be open for use by everyone, without risking our health, our safety, or our sanity. Until TfL’s policies change, so as to stop prioritising unnecessarily high levels of motor traffic above all else, we will continue to take action to defend ourselves.”

For more background to Bikes Alive, see bikesalive.wordpress.com or e-mail bikesalive@london.com.

Media enquiries will be dealt with by Albert Beale on 020-7278 4474.

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PRESS RELEASE  —  from Bikes Alive
Sunday 5 February 2012

CYCLISTS TO UNDERTAKE ANOTHER ENFORCED, NON-VIOLENT GO-SLOW AT LETHAL JUNCTION  –  LONDON MAYOR’S RESPONSE TO NATIONAL NEWSPAPER CAMPAIGN BRANDED HYPOCRITICAL

Bikes Alive, the recently-formed network of cyclists who are taking non-violent direct action to defend themselves against traffic violence, will be enforcing another “go-slow” of traffic at the lethal road junction outside Kings Cross station, from 6pm to 7pm on Monday 6 February.

Bikes Alive – which works with other vulnerable, non-motorised road users – is pledged to continue to take action until the balance of power on London’s roads is changed. Current policies of Transport for London (TfL) prioritise the speed and volume of motor traffic over all else, even though many of the cars on London’s roads are there for no reason other than the selfishness of the driver.

Worse still, TfL refuses – for years on end – to make changes at junctions which don’t even match its own (inadequate) safety standards; and when it does plan changes, they frequently make the situation even more dangerous for cyclists. The Kings Cross junction is a notorious example where both of these points apply.

Councillors from both boroughs which cover Kings Cross (Camden and Islington), and well as local cycling campaigns and community groups, have been calling for safety improvements at Kings Cross for years. The London Assembly has repeatedly called on mayor Boris Johnson – who is in charge of TfL – to act. But all to no avail.

And now, responding to a cycling safety campaign launched by The Times last week, the mayor has said he “applaud[s] the objectives of the campaign”.

Commenting on the mayor’s stance, Bikes Alive spokesperson Albert Beale said today: “It is complete hypocrisy for the mayor to pretend he supports the campaign to make cycling safer: he has spent more than three years setting the policy of the organisation (TfL) which consistently relegates the safety and health of cyclists, and of other non-motorised road users, below the inhuman demands for ever-increasing traffic volumes.”

ENDS

NOTES:

For further information, see the Bikes Alive website at bikesalive.wordpress.com

Press queries can be made to Albert Beale on 020-7278 4474.

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PRESS RELEASE  —  from Bikes Alive
Sunday 19 February 2012

TRANSPORT FOR LONDON RESPONDS TO KINGS CROSS JUNCTION BIKE SAFETY CONCERNS – BY MAKING IT WORSE

Bikes Alive, the recently-formed network of cyclists who are taking non-violent direct action to defend themselves against traffic violence, returns to the lethal road junction outside Kings Cross station at 6.30pm on Monday evening, 20 February … as Transport for London (TfL) starts work to change the junction for the worse. Cyclists and pedestrians will enforce another one-hour go-slow at the junction outside Kings Cross station.

Work to re-align some kerb lines and remove a traffic island will increase the flow of motor vehicles through a key part of the junction, introducing new dangers for cyclists. (For more detailed information on this, see the discussions on these two web pages:
kingscrossenvironment.com/2012/01/07/why-did-tfls-killer-junction-not-measure-up-to-tfls-own-london-cycle-design-standards
kingscrossenvironment.com/2012/01/09/tfl-improvements-may-make-things-worse)

Bikes Alive – which works with other vulnerable, non-motorised road users – is pledged to continue to take action until the balance of power on London’s roads is changed. Current policies of TfL prioritise the speed and volume of motor traffic over all else, even though many of the cars on London’s roads are there for no reason other than the selfishness of the driver.

Councillors from both boroughs which cover Kings Cross (Camden and Islington), and well as local cycling campaigns and community groups, have been calling for safety improvements at Kings Cross for years. The London Assembly has repeatedly called on mayor Boris Johnson – who is in charge of TfL – to act. But all to no avail. Hence the need for cyclists to take direct action to defend ourselves.

ENDS

NOTES:

For further information, see the Bikes Alive website at bikesalive.wordpress.com

Press enquiries can be made to Albert Beale on 020-7278 4474.

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PRESS RELEASE  —  from Bikes Alive
Wednesday 29 February 2012

A CHANGE OF SCENE FOR BIKES ALIVE

Bikes Alive, the network of cyclists who are taking non-violent direct action to defend themselves against traffic violence, moves this week from Kings Cross – site of its four enforced traffic go-slows since the New Year – to Archway, London N19.

Bikes Alive activists will be meeting in Archway Close (in the middle of the gyratory system by Archway Underground station) at 6.15pm on Thursday 1 March, in support of the long-running local campaign to calm and humanise the roads at Archway. Pedestrians and cyclists will be circling the system to reclaim – for a short while – some road space for human beings. Given the famous (Archway-related) historical tale of a mayor of London and his cat, and given that the current mayor has control of London’s transport, some participants will be donning cat costumes.

For more details, see http://bikesalive.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/communication-problems-change-of-scene and http://www.2wayarchway.org.uk.

The current policies of Transport for London (TfL) prioritise the speed and volume of motor traffic over all else; Bikes Alive – which works with other vulnerable, non-motorised road users – is pledged to continue to take action until the balance of power on London’s roads is changed.

And Bikes Alive will be back at Kings Cross before long.

ENDS

NOTES:

For further background on bikes Alive, see the Bikes alive website at http://bikesalive.wordpress.com.

For any press enquiries, contact Albert Beale on 020-7278 4474.

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PRESS RELEASE FROM BIKES ALIVE – Wednesday 7 March 2012

CYCLISTS’ DIRECT ACTION CAMPAIGN RETURNS TO KINGS CROSS FOLLOWING NEWS THAT TfL TOLD TRAFFIC PLANNERS TO IGNORE BIKES AT LETHAL JUNCTION

Following the revelation that, for years, Transport for London (TfL) told traffic engineers modelling Kings Cross traffic flow (in order to analyse changes to the junction) to ignore bikes – despite cyclists making up 20% of casualties – Bikes Alive, the cyclists’ non-violent direct action campaign, will be enforcing a one-hour go-slow at the death junction next Monday.

The disclosure this week, on the Kings Cross Environment website (see http://kingscrossenvironment.com/2012/03/05/buchananreport) is just the latest evidence of TfL’s deliberate policy – at Kings Cross and elsewhere – of increasing the risk to cyclists by prioritising the speed and volume of motor vehicles.

Bikes Alive spokesperson Albert Beale described the latest revelations as “yet another scandal”. “There seems no limit,” he said, “to the extent to which Transport for London will callously, and furtively, put at risk the lives of the most vulnerable road users, in order to give in to the demands of the minority of road users in cars.”

Bikes Alive, which has undertaken several previous enforced traffic calmings at Kings Cross this year, recently moved to support a road calming campaign elsewhere; but on Monday it returns to Kings Cross to slow or stop the traffic for an hour as a form of non-violent self-defence against traffic dangers. Such actions will continue until TfL changes tack and puts the safety of cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users ahead of the convenience and selfishness of motorists.

The next Bikes Alive action takes place from 6.30pm to 7.30pm on Monday 12 March, at the junction of Euston Road, Pentonville Road, York Way and Grays Inn Road, outside Kings Cross station.

NOTES
For more background to Bikes Alive, see http://bikesalive.wordpress.com.
Press enquiries are being dealt with by Albert Beale on 020-7278 4474.

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PRESS RELEASE from Bikes Alive – Sunday 11 March 2012

NEW RESEARCH SHOWS CYCLISTS’ INJURIES WHICH TFL DECIDED TO IGNORE
– NEXT ENFORCED GO-SLOW PLANNED FOR MONDAY

Research by Levenes Solicitors, who specialise in cycling safety, shows that in the Kings Cross one-way system – where Bikes Alive have been holding regular demonstrations – there were numerous injuries to cyclists at the same time as Transport for London (TfL) was telling traffic engineers to ignore bikes when redesigning junctions there.

As disclosed earlier this week (see our press release from 7 March), transport consultants Buchanan were told by TfL – during the period 2005-2009 – to ignore cyclists when analysing plans for Kings Cross (see http://kingscrossenvironment.com/2012/03/05/buchananreport); yet we now know that on just the stretches of road at Kings Cross where campaigners have been enforcing traffic go-slows (amounting to no more than half a mile in all), there were 25 incidents between 2005 and 2010 where cyclists were injured seriously enough to end up in official statistics (see http://blog.cycleinjury.co.uk/2012/03/kings-cross-go-slow-25-cyclist-injuries.html).

And, of course, there would have been countless others which didn’t make it into any official figures; and there were more cyclists’ injuries, and a death, at the same site in 2011, for which official figures are not yet available.

Report toned down

Furthermore, local Kings Cross activists have this week discovered that when traffic consultants did try to include cycle-friendly suggestions, they were watered down between the draft report and the final report (see http://kingscrossenvironment.com/2012/03/07/did-tfl-weaken-pro-cycling-recommendations-for-killer-kings-cross-junction-as-long-ago-as-2007), because of TfL’s prioritising of motorised traffic.

Bikes Alive campaigner Albert Beale commented today, “Any one of these three revelations would be enough to justify cyclists taking direct action to defend ourselves from the traffic dangers at Kings Cross. The combination of them all makes us even more determined to continue with our enforced traffic calming – until TfL does an about-turn and makes the roads at Kings Cross safe for cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users. This must inevitably mean restricting the speed and volume of motor vehicles through Kings Cross – which is the exact opposite of current TfL policy.”

Cyclists and pedestrians will be non-violently enforcing a traffic go-slow outside Kings Cross station from 6.30pm to 7.30pm on Monday 12 March.

NOTES
For further analysis of these revelations, and other Bikes Alive news, see http://bikesalive.wordpress.com.
For press enquiries, phone Albert Beale on 020-7278 4474.

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PRESS RELEASE from Bikes Alive – Sunday 25 March 2012

BIKES ALIVE, THE CYCLISTS’ DIRECT ACTION CAMPAIGN, ANNOUNCES ITS “SPRING DEFENSIVE” TO PROTECT CYCLISTS (AND PEDESTRIANS) ON LONDON’S ROADS

Cyclists who recognise the need for peaceful direct action to defend themselves and other vulnerable road users from the violence of motor vehicles – in the face of Transport for London (TfL) policies which prioritise vehicle throughput over the health, safety and sanity of Londoners as a whole – plan a “Spring Defensive” over the coming month.

On Monday 26 March, supporters of Bikes Alive[1] will again peacefully enforce a one-hour traffic go-slow outside Kings Cross station, where (as recently disclosed[2]) TfL traffic planners were, for years, told to ignore cyclists. The action, by cyclists and pedestrians, will take place from 6pm to 7pm at a lethal junction which has been the site of a years-long struggle by local campaigners to make it less dangerous[3]. This is the sixth time this year that Bikes Alive has taken action at Kings Cross.

Over the following weeks, groups of Bikes Alive supporters will be undertaking small-scale “guerrilla” actions at various locations, testing out a variety of strategies for highlighting – and resisting – dangerous and illegal behaviour by motorists. The times and places of these actions will generally not be publicised in advance, though information might be issued to the media subsequently.

On Thursday 19 April, Bikes Alive will be joining colleagues from Climate Rush – the suffragette-inspired direct action campaign over the climate emergency – to spring-clean London’s filthy air. Meeting at 6pm at DEFRA (the ministry which claims to be “for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs”), in Smith Square, London SW1, cyclists and pedestrians will then move to a venue where they will (by the magic of peaceful direct action) transform part of central London into the capital’s cleanest road, free of traffic fumes[4]. Imagine a road with no cars, no toxic fumes – a safe space for children to play, for cyclists to ride, and for pedestrians to walk… Participants should take their own feather duster.

NOTES

[1] For more details of Bikes Alive’s plans, and for background to the campaign, see http://bikesalive.wordpress.com; or phone its press spokesperson Albert Beale on 020-7278 4474.

[2] See the previous Bikes Alive press release, dated 11 March 2012. All Bikes Alive press releases can be found at http://bikesalive.wordpress.com/press-releases.

[3] Local cycling campaigns from the two boroughs covering Kings Cross – the Camden Cycling Campaign (CCC) and the Islington Cyclists’ Action Group (ICAG) – have been researching, and campaigning over, the unnecessary danger of the roads at Kings Cross for many years; for more background, contact Jean Dollimore of CCC (see http://www.camdencyclists.org.uk/contacts).
In response to media reports that the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) has refused to support Bikes Alive, it should be emphasised that though this is correct, it relates to the LCC at head office level; many individual LCC members and local groups (including those covering Kings Cross, mentioned here) have been involved in Bikes Alive actions.

[4] For more details of the planned Clean Air Zone, see http://www.climaterush.co.uk/our-campaigns/cleanair/springclean.

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PRESS RELEASE from Bikes Alive – Wednesday 18 April 2012

“SPRING CLEAN” ACTION IN RESPONSE TO LONDON’S (ILLEGALLY) FILTHY AIR (Thursday 19 April); AND BIKES ALIVE’S NEXT KINGS CROSS GO-SLOW (Monday 30 April)

On Thursday 19 April, Bikes Alive (the cyclists’ campaign which promotes peaceful self-defence against traffic violence) will be joining colleagues from Climate Rush (the suffragette-inspired direct action campaign over the climate emergency) to “Spring Clean” London’s filthy air. Pedestrians and cyclists will gather at 6pm at DEFRA’s offices in Smith Square, London SW1, where speakers will include London Green Party leader Jenny Jones. Setting off at 6.30pm – feather dusters to the fore – the colourful group of activists will, at around 7pm, reclaim a central London road as a Clean Air Zone, where there will be a picnic and a street party.

This action comes just days after the latest report confirming that traffic pollution in Britain is more than twice as deadly as traffic “accidents” (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17704116).

BACK TO KINGS CROSS

For the seventh time this year, Bikes Alive will be enforcing a one-hour traffic go-slow during the evening rush-hour at the lethal junction outside Kings Cross station. In response to current changes to the roads at Kings Cross, which not only fail to address the dangers faced by cyclists but actually introduce new ones, cyclists will be actively confronting the results of official transport policies from 6pm to 7pm on Monday 30 April – just 3 days before the London elections. The mayor elected that week will be responsible for Transport for London (TfL): Bikes Alive will continue to take peaceful direct action until the mayor – whoever it is – reverses the TfL policies which prioritise vehicle throughput over the health, safety and sanity of Londoners as a whole.

The Kings Cross junction is one where (as recently disclosed) TfL traffic planners were told, for years, to ignore cyclists.

NOTES

[1] For more details of the Clean Air Zone action on 19 February, contact the spokespeople for Climate Rush: Alice (tel 07854 928926) or Siobhan (tel 07411 412206).

[2] For more details of Bikes Alive’s plans, including the next rush-hour action at Kings Cross, contact Bikes Alive spokesperson Albert Beale (tel 020-7278 4474); background to the campaign is also available at http://bikesalive.wordpress.com.

[3] For details of the particular scandal over the dangers at King Cross, see http://kingscrossenvironment.com/2012/03/05/buchananreport, and the Bikes Alive press release dated 11 March 2012 (all Bikes Alive press releases can be found at http://bikesalive.wordpress.com/press-releases).

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PRESS RELEASE from Bikes Alive – Sunday 22 April 2012

CYCLISTS AND CABBIES TO BESIEGE HQ OF ROGUE MINICAB BOSS

At 6pm on Monday 23 April, hundreds of cyclists are due to besiege the headquarters of London’s biggest mini-cab company, Addison Lee, to take part in a “die-in”; many cabbies are expected to show their support.

John Griffin, boss of major mini-cab firm Addison Lee, has told his drivers to illegally use bus lanes, since – despite his tete-a-tetes with ministers (and his £250,000 in donations to the Tory Party) – he has failed to get the law changed. Any such change would slow down journeys for millions of bus passengers and for users of real taxis, and greatly increase the dangers for cyclists. The mini-cab boss went on to put the blame for the maiming of cyclists on cyclists themselves, rather than on the motorists who maim them.

The initial response from Transport for London (TfL), regulator of London’s mini-cabs, has been less than robust. (By coincidence, mayor Boris Johnson, who’s in charge of TfL, has received £25,000 in donations from John Griffin.)

So large numbers of cyclists, in a gesture of resistance to Addison Lee’s selfishness, plan to hold a “die-in” at 6pm on Monday evening at the company’s head office in William Road, London NW1 (two blocks north of the Euston underpass).

Bikes Alive spokesperson Albert Beale said today, “This is yet another example of the increase in threats to cyclists, and of the unwillingness of Transport for London to prioritise the health, safety and sanity of Londoners as a whole over the selfishness of motorists and – in this case – of rich company bosses. Any Addison Lee drivers who illegally follow their boss’s instruction to use bus lanes may find themselves blockaded by cyclists: many of us are convinced of the need to actively – albeit peacefully – defend ourselves, in the face of the anti-cyclist policies of TfL and of people like John Griffin.”

NOTES

[1] Bikes Alive is a network of cyclists promoting peaceful self-defence against traffic violence (see http://bikesalive.wordpress.com).

[2] For more on the die-in at the Addison Lee head office, contact the event’s initiator, Beth Anderson on 07769 555111.

[3] For other queries about Bikes Alive, contact Albert Beale on 020-7278 4474.

[4] Bikes Alive will be enforcing a one-hour traffic go-slow during the evening rush-hour at the lethal junction outside Kings Cross station on Monday 30 April, in response to current changes to the roads at Kings Cross which not only fail to address the dangers faced by cyclists, but actually introduce new ones. Such actions will continue until the mayor elected that week – whoever it is – reverses TfL policies which prioritise vehicle throughput over the safety of non-motorised road users. The Kings Cross junction is one where (as recently disclosed) TfL traffic planners were told to ignore cyclists. For background to the situation at Kings Cross, see the Bikes Alive press releases dated 11 March, 25 March, and 18 April 2012 (all Bikes Alive press releases can be found at http://bikesalive.wordpress.com/press-releases).

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