It has been awhile since I was able to write a blog post about cycling in London. This, mainly, because I didn’t have a bike, as mine got stolen (I am still trying to crowd fund for a new cargobike by the way here).
This week my friend Ruth-Anna (@bikesandbabies) offered us her mamachari bike (see picture) for us to use until we have bought our new cargobike. So, I was actually able to commute to work today. I rather wished I hadn’t.
Cycling a two wheeler in London is quite the different experience than cycling an actual trike cargobike. My cargobike (a babboe big E) is 88 cm wide, making it a bicycle giant on the road. It gives me more body and say in traffic and drivers are more aware of my actual presence. It also helps when they see children in the bike, giving me more space when they overtake. Tailgating is also a lot less of an issue when cycling a cargobike.
Needless to say, my commute today was a disaster. I spent more time on the pavement/pedestrian lights, than on the actual road. Four near misses and one punish pass later, I came into work exhausted. Not from the actual cycling, but from the sheer fear. This morning it rained a lot as well, which made the car driving even worse. It just felt like the weather brought the worse out in dickheadery (if that is even a word). I only saw a handful of women cycling and the ones who were cycling, joined me on the pavement. Understanding glances and nods were exchanged. “We want to cycle but we are just mums” kind of nods! WE ARE JUST MUMS. We want to go from point A to B in a safe environment, without being close passed by car or busdrivers. “I AM JUST A MUM”, I shouted this morning at a black cabbie, when he drove next to me so close I could touch his roof. “I didn’t do anything wrong”, was his answer. And there you have it: if you, as a car driver, don’t even know what you are doing wrong, how on earth will a cyclist ever be safe?
London, not only do we need safe cycling infra, we need much more. We need EDUCATION. Educate the new drivers, but re-educate the ones who have a license. Either with courses or awareness campaigns, or even both. Because, unless you do, lots more people will be killed. And there have been enough deaths already.