An estimated 600 cyclists gathered on the streets of London last Friday to commemorate the three deaths of cyclists during the London Critical Mass. The event was initiated after bloggers and forum posters sent out messages to pay respects to the three cyclists who died in recent road accidents.
Prof. David Vilaseca met a fatal accident on the corner of Tower Bridge Road and Druid Street last February 9. On March 9, Muhammad Ahmad suffered a deadly collision with a truck on the corner of Weston Street and Snowsfields, almost in the same vicinity as that of Prof. Vilaseca’s accident. Then on the day after, another cyclist named Shivon Watson was killed in East London, on Victoria Park Road.
The three deaths occurred at a time when the mayor of London had just launched his Cycling Safety Action Plan. This plan, however, was criticized as “inadequate”, and a Green member of the London Assembly was also reported as saying that the mayor was “encouraging” cyclists to ride on the city streets, even as the presence of traffic police and safety cameras were lessened. These made the streets hazardous for cycling, and calls for banning HGVs during peak hours are also being made.
The riders in the London Critical Mass usually meet on the South Bank of Waterloo Bridge every last Friday of each month. Last Friday, however, they spent their time visiting each of the three locations where the victims met their deaths. Flowers were laid and prayers were offered for all victims of the road accidents caused by large-goods vehicles.
The London Critical Mass ride was also joined by members of the London Fixed Gear and Single Speed cycling forum. The group had already been planning to celebrate its 5th anniversary during the event, even before announcements were made for the memorial ride.