Today was Monkey’s first real cycling activism event. @stopkillingcycl’s yearly die-in, called #nomorecoffins. An assembly of London cyclists, in honour of those of us, who have died on London streets in the past few years. 21 people passed away by a road traffic accident in two years. 8 of them this year. And the year still has a month left.
I was asked by the organisers to provide a female “mummy” voice! So, I prepared a little speech:
“Three months ago, I arrived in London with my children from Belgium. Three weeks later, I was hit, while cycling on a painted cycle path on a busy road, by an inattentive car driver. I was cycling a 100 kg cargo bike at the time. My bike got slammed on its side and I was thrown off. Luckily I didn’t have my children with me and I came out of this accident with a bruised backside. Today I stand before you, feeling lucky to be alive and well.
In the three months I have been cycling here, I cannot count the near misses, the punish passes, the “sorry’s, I didn’t see you” and the verbal diarrhoea from some drivers. Though, all I want to do, is cycle safely from point A to point B, with my kids! School run, grocery shop and once in awhile a cycling adventure.
Being a woman cyclist in London is dangerous. We are outnumbered by men 3/1 and men cycle 4x more miles than women. However, of the 8 cycling deaths this year, 6 of them were female. Cycling in London is a proper deathtrap and I am standing here today to tell decision makers enough is enough.
I do not want to come here, to a die-in, to mourn and cry out for the lives we have lost on these streets. But as long as people lose their lives here, I have no choice.
That is why I, alongside many women and many mums, demand proper, segregated cycling infrastructure. So we can get on with our lives without the daily fear of being run over.
We do not want to become another statistic and name on a new die-in list. Our lives are precious. It is about time TFL and policy makers start realising the same!”
After all the speeches, we did what the @stopkillingcycl’s have been doing for a few years now. We occupied the crossing, lay ourselves down in protest and stayed there for 15 min, so traffic was going nowhere.
It was an overwhelming feeling. Tears welling up, I thought about all the brilliant humans who have lost their lives while doing what they loved. But, it also gave me the energy and a new found resilience to keep fighting the good fight. I think we are going into stormy seas next year with the mayoral elections.
I will leave you with a few pictures taken this evening. #nomorecoffins people!! Lets make sure we have no more cycling deaths on these roads ever again!