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Cyclists killed on local roads

 Vigil for Dan Harris 10 Aug 2012. Lea Interchange. Photo David Arditti Vigil for Dan Harris 10 Aug 2012. Lea Interchange. Photo David Arditti

On Wednesday 8th August the London Cycling Campaign in Hackney published the following statement:

We were saddened but not surprised to hear, during our monthly meeting last Wednesday, that a young man had been killed at the hideous 'Lea Interchange', a sprawling junction next to what is now the Olympics site in the far north-east corner of our borough. The bus which ran over Dan Harris was being driven from the media centre on Eastway onto the slip road of a quasi-motorway called the 'A12 Hackney to M11 Link Road', whose construction in the 1990s was opposed by this group and many other individuals and organisations, including Hackney Council. The Department for Transport's decision to bulldoze the road through Wanstead, Leytonstone, Leyton and Hackney Wick, in the teeth of fierce resistance has had many unpleasant outcomes, including community severance and increased car dependance in Waltham Forest, and the spewing of thousands of extra motor vehicles into our borough every day. Conditions for walking and cycling at and around the Lea Interchange were further worsened in recent years by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), which became the de facto highway authority for this location. Adding insult to injury, the ODA then announced that it planned to ban cycle traffic from most of the carriageway during the games. We sent a formal objection, which was eventually acknowledged (and of course dismissed) six months after we sent it. In the ODA's opinion, cycle traffic should be restricted to sub-standard, inconvenient shared-use footway 'facilities', which turned out to be poorly signposted and hard to follow. Whether and to what extent the temporary Olympics arrangements might have been a factor in the collision we will not know until the investigators have done their work. Perhaps not even then. What we can say for certain is that the death of Dan Harris is the latest bitter legacy of the M11 Link Road.

 Another Games bus turning at the corner where Dan Harris was run over. Another Games bus turning at the corner where Dan Harris was run over.

This latest death of a cyclist within the Olympic periphery recalls two earlier deaths at the roundabout under Bow Flyover late last year. Some minor signage improvements have been made to the site but they fall short of those called for by the London Cycling Campaign and others

The hazards for cyclists have been further compounded by the recent blocking of the canal towpath route from the A12 flyover by the Homerton Road bridge. The indicated detours are a nightmare.

The Guardian recently interviewed cyclists who have come here for the Games about their responses to our traffic arrangements for cyclists:

Rob Marks moved to London from South Africa earlier this year. A Games volunteer, he loves cycling in London, but is aware of the dangers. "I saw a guy get knocked off his bike in Bow last night because a driver decided to turn straight across a cycle superhighway without signalling. But that said, the cycle superhighways are awesome, we need more of them, although the roundabout where CS2 on Stratford high street meets the dual carriageway is flipping dangerous - it was designed for cars and then had a bike lane added afterwards."

Tom Richards, Bike Blog

As a cyclist myself I am aware of how piecemeal road improvements are being belatedly inserted into existing road layouts to begrudgingly accommodate increasing bike traffic. These upgrades frequently abandon cyclists to their hazardous fate at junctions. Cyclists are also frequently unaware of the importance of being taught, by more experienced urban riders, appropriate techniques of bike handling in motor traffic and of making themselves highly visible to vehicle drivers especially at night. Vehicle drivers often need to be taught awareness of cyclists in traffic.

The mapping of the location of accidents and their outcomes are being logged.

David Arditti's photos of Dan Harris' vigil

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