Cyclists and other people in London actively resisting oppression by motor vehicles

Month: April, 2012

Oil that chain!

In the run-up to the next Bikes Alive Kings Cross go-slow on Monday 30 April, there are a couple of other London cycling events which you probably don’t need reminding of … but, below, we’ll remind you anyway. Meanwhile, how about printing off copies of this flier promoting next Monday’s action, and maybe distributing some at those events – and elsewhere – between now and then?

Just a brief recap of why we’ll be back at Kings Cross on Monday:
Many cyclists have been unnecessarily killed and injured at Kings Cross in recent years;
Transport for London (TfL) was repeatedly warned, over a long period, that the road design didn’t match its own safety guidelines – but it refused to act;
TfL told its traffic engineers to ignore cyclists when planning changes to the road layout;
Changes being made now at Kings Cross are introducing new dangers for cyclists.

If you agree that peaceful direct action is a necessary part of our repertoire if we’re to succeed in changing TfL’s policies (which put the throughput of motor vehicles ahead of the safety of Londoners as a whole), then please join us on Monday. With the elections for the London Mayor and the London Assembly just days away, we need to show that the current situation will not be tolerated. Enough is enough!

Please spread the word. (Those of you who’re members of Facebook can do so via this page.)


Friday 27 April, being the last Friday in the month, will see the London Critical Mass bike ride. Hundreds of cyclists will gather by the riverside, under the south end of Waterloo Bridge, from 6pm onwards. By 7pm the mass will be swooping through central London redressing the normal balance on the roads, putting non-motorised road users in charge.

On Saturday 28 April, the London Cycling Campaign has organised its Big Ride: a merry event – with a serious message, about the demand for a better deal for cyclists on the capital’s roads – before the London elections the following Thursday. Assemble at the Marble Arch end of Park Lane at 11am, to set off at 12noon via Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalagar Square, and Parliament Square, to end with a rally on Victoria Embankment at 2pm. For more details, including of feeder rides, see


Some reports (from many such) of the Addison Lee die-in on Monday:

Two useful rants/commentaries about Addison Lee (again, from many):

And an assortment of other items…
… more wisdom from Christian Wolmar, this time in the Evening Standard
… a cycling campaign round-up from The Times (though with no mention of Bikes Alive on this occasion)…
… another tragic addition to the statistics…
… and for those who can read Swedish…


If you want to be on the list to get e-mails with news from Bikes Alive, or if you have any other questions, e-mail And, of course, keep an eye on this website.

If you use Twitter, you can follow @BikesAlive.

See you all on Monday evening!


Busy Mondays

Up until a few days ago, the main information in this posting was intended to be the next Bikes Alive one-hour go-slow at Kings Cross, 6pm-7pm on Monday 30 April. (Those of you on the Bikes Alive e-mail list will have heard about this already; if you aren’t on the list, and want to stay in touch, e-mail and ask to be added.)

Further information about the 30 April event is below. But first, news of an urgent short-notice event this coming Monday, 23 April…

DIE-IN AT ADDISON LEE HEAD OFFICE – Monday 23 April, around 6pm

Probably most London cyclists will have heard about John Griffin, boss of minicab firm Addison Lee, who this week instructed his drivers to use bus lanes in London, promising that he will indemnify them against prosecution. Minicabs and other private hire vehicles can’t legally use bus lanes (most of which are open to proper taxis). It seems that giving large sums of money to the Tory Party, and having tête-à-têtes with ministers, hasn’t had a quick enough effect in his campaign to make himself even richer by getting the law changed in his favour. So he’s decided to just break the law anyway.

The result of such a change in the law would be to multiply the number of vehicles in bus lanes – hence, of course, slowing down journeys for millions of bus passengers, and greatly increasing the dangers for cyclists. It’s a testament to the poor standard of provision for cyclists in London that bus lanes are often the least worst place for us – where we can, for example, get some respite from the often mind-bogglingly awful driving seen from many Addison Lee drivers.

Even worse, John Griffin went on to publish a factually inaccurate and victim-blaming rant about the killing and injuring of cyclists on the roads – a rant described by Dr Robert Davis, Chair of the Road Danger Reduction Forum, as “a display of self-pitying bigotry and victim-blaming … the kind of incendiary message that exacerbates law-breaking behaviour by motorists”.

Some Bikes Alivers have responded to the Addison Lee boss by calling for a mass die-in at – which could effectively turn into a mass blockade of – the company’s headquarters. Within hours of the call going out, the initiative was getting support even from quarters which normally don’t look favourably on Bikes Alive-type activities… This might be because the action as billed is basically symbolic action; but with large numbers, it could turn into some peaceful direct action on the night. (The event has come about because of the outrage of many individuals, groups and campaigns; neither Bikes Alive nor anyone else prepared a detailed blueprint before calling for the action … so come along with your own ideas to add to the occasion.)

The Addison Lee head office is at 35-37 William Road, London NW1 (a couple of blocks north of the Euston underpass, up Hampstead Rd). The plan is to meet at 6pm on Monday 23 April at the junction of Stanhope Street and William Road (and, if there are lots of us, at the junction of Hampstead Road and William Road as well). We’ll then proceed to the Addison Lee offices for a die-in. (Make-up, bandages and fake blood welcome!)

Spread the word! (Those of you who are members of Facebook can do so via this page:


Bikes Alive will be back at the lethal junction at Kings Cross on Monday 30 April, where we’ll peacefully enforce a go-slow for an hour from 6pm. Since we were last there a few weeks ago, Transport for London have been undertaking work on the junction. However, not only do these changes fail to address the dangers faced by cyclists – they actually introduce new ones. So we’ll 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.

For more background to the situation at Kings Cross, and news of Bikes Alive’s campaign of non-violent self-defence by cyclists, see earlier postings below.