Old Street cycle safety protest: 'We've seen three women lose their legs – we don't want any more delays'
PUBLISHED: 09:27 20 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:21 20 March 2019
A group of campaigners risked their lives and formed a human bike lane at the junction of Old Street and Central Street yesterday to protest the “hostile” conditions for cyclists in Islington.
The protest follows plans announced by Islington Council on Monday that the corridor could be shut to through traffic.
There were 193 collisions along this infamous passage in the five years to February 2018 – and three cyclists have lost legs in crashes there since 2015.
Sean Howell, the lead coordinator of Active Travel Now, the campaign group behind the protest, told the Gazette: “The changes we’ve seen haven’t matched the council’s rhetoric.
“[Islington’s transport and environment chief] Claudia Webbe has talked about removing all through traffic and that would be brilliant but we need quicker action now to implement a partitioned cycle lane and remove the risks of these hostile roads to riders.”
Victoria Lebrec, who lost her leg in a road traffic accident by Old Street roundabout in 2014, said: “We’re here to make sure the council delivers on their promises because the more time they take, the more lives lost.”
This is the second protest of its kind in Islington. In 2017, some 15 riders gathered in Penton St to voice concerns over the heavy traffic and the danger it poses to cyclists.
“After the last human cycle lane, we saw some positive movement from the council,” said Mr Howell. “But it feels like they’ve fallen back on their normal behaviour of stalling, delaying and not delivering.”
Dr Tabitha Tanqueray, who formed part of the human shield, added: “We’ve seen deaths on these roads, we’ve seen three women lose their legs, there’s a clear pattern - we don’t want any more delays.”
Last year photographer Sarah Doone was cycling down Old Street when she was hit by a cement truck and dragged eight meters. She suffered serious injuries to both legs, resulting in her left leg being amputated.
Cyclist Julie Dinsdale lost a leg after she was hit by a Tesco truck at the junction of Old Street and Central Street in 2016.
Earlier this week Cllr Webbe said: “It is necessary to significantly reduce the number of vehicles driving along the corridor so that journeys along the Old Street and Clerkenwell corridor prioritise pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users.”