We Ride Again! On Monday 23 January

by bikesalive

IN BRIEF: [but see below for much more information]

The second pre-announced Bikes Alive action is another “forcible (but non-violent) traffic calming” at Kings Cross, from 6pm to 7pm on Monday 23 January.

There will also be a planning meeting – almost certainly near Kings Cross at 7pm on Thursday 19 January. Details to follow but book the date!

Below is more background and news about this plan, and details of how you can help.


1) What’s Bikes Alive?

Please read earlier postings!

2) What next, when next, why next?

The first Bikes Alive event at Kings Cross on 9 January was by way of an experiment, being organised by the tiniest number of people, with negligible resources, from scratch, over the holiday period. We were overjoyed that 200 people (cyclists and others) got involved, that many people thought it a great idea, and that it got quite a lot of media interest.

Although some Bikes Alive publicity talked of the possibility of weekly actions, this seems a bit overambitious initially. We needed time to consult and to catch our breath. We thought that, at the moment, a fortnight’s gap would give us enough time to build mobilisation, but wasn’t so long as to lose momentum.

And also, we wanted to see whether Transport for London would come out with their hands up.

So what was TfL’s response? Well, TfL boss Peter Hendy (who’s paid in a week as much as some Londoners have to live on for a year) happened to be interviewed on BBC Radio London on the evening of the first Bikes Alive action. And what did he have to say? How did he give address the issues? He was straight to the point – he said the demonstration was “stupid”. (He did also talk in passing about the need for training – though not, it seems, of the people in charge of road layouts.)

Well, Bikes Alive is convinced that there are plenty of Londoners “stupid” enough to head back to Kings Cross again, this time in even bigger numbers: Monday 23 January it is!

3) Our demands

As explained before, the aims of Bikes Alive – which we share with many other campaigners – are to rebalance priorities on London’s roads in favour of people: in favour of their health, safety and sanity. And we believe in taking action to achieve this. We accept that TfL, even with the best will in the world (ahem), couldn’t change London overnight. But they could start making things better rather than making them worse. That just takes political commitment and some steps in the right direction.

(The first step – though only a first step – at Kings Cross could be to institute a major lane-wide cycle-only route straight across the junction from Grays Inn Road to York Way, site of the last killing of a cyclist at Kings Cross, with the lane starting well before the junction and continuing into York Way. This initial demand seems to be gaining a consensus amongst locals, including both elected councillors and cycle campaigners in the area. It could be instituted now, while TfL is re-aligning the pavements and making minor changes at that point. Such a first step would be the minimum necessary evidence that TfL can move in the right direction. For more detailed background on this, see for example 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, and aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/how-smoothing-traffic-flow-is-needlessly-causing-death-and-serious-injury.)

4) Mobilising – what you can do

An e-mail to groups and individuals in touch with Bikes Alive will be sent shortly, announcing the 23 January date and pointing people to this website. But increasing the numbers requires everyone enthused by this to join in the mobilisation.

Can you make sure that you send a note to every cycling website and blog you know? Can you contact local cycling, environmental, pedestrian, etc, groups in your part of town? Why not put up a poster in local cycle shops? It’s not a problem if people receive the information more than once from different directions!

Ask people to
(a) Keep a regular eye on this website for updates.
(b) Send their e-mail address to bikesalive@london.com, so as to receive news directly.
(c) If they’re on Twitter, to follow @BikesAlive to be reminded when there’s fresh news.

We’re planning a meeting of active supporters of Bikes Alive, it’s expected to be in the Kings Cross area at 7pm on Thursday 19 January. Again – watch this website for confirmation of the details: there’ll be news here as soon as we have it; sending out messages takes longer! The meeting will deal with plans for the next action, and also look at longer-term strategies to build Bikes Alive.

Lastly, if there’s time at this end, those of you getting an e-mail shortly might find some artwork attached that you can use for posters promoting the next action.

5) More reports of the first action

We’re grateful to people who’ve pointed out further coverage of the first Bikes Alive event, in addition to the ones referenced in earlier posts:

london.indymedia.org/articles/11427 [note the video link on this]
www.cyclechat.net/threads/bikes-alive-kings-cross-protest.93263 [this includes another new video]