Wednesday 12 February 2014

A Small But Determined Vigil

Last night, I attended a vigil to remember the first cyclist to die on London's Roads this year. I have thought about whether I should post about it on and off today, but on balance thought I should.

Protesting and campaigning is not something I have really been involved in. I did attend the huge London Cycle Campaign protest at the end of last summer, but that had a happy, carnival atmosphere and not the solemnity of a vigil.

I am a recent user of Twitter and for its faults, it enables news to travel quickly and so I learnt on Monday of a vigil planned outside Redbridge Town Hall for last night (11/2/14) in memory of the first cyclist to lose their life on the Capital's roads this year. Kevin Lane, died on Sunday afternoon.

A small, but determined vigil for Kevin Lane.
As it turned out, my own plans meant that I was going to be fairly close to Ilford and so I decided to go to the vigil which was organised by Stop Killing Cyclists

There were only a handful of us and after brief chat, the press arrived to take photos of our bikes laid in front of the town hall steps and to talk to Donnachadh and the others from the group.

As an engineer, I get involved in the numbers and money game of casualty statistics. I am often having to write back to people who are requesting perfectly reasonable safety improvements to tell them that we have no funding - the cuts have hit many highway authorities hard and I cannot see it getting better any time soon.

Attending the vigil has made me pause for thought. Behind the numbers, the posturing and the standardised replies, there are people involved here and that is something that practitioners sometimes need to be reminded of and they in turn sometimes need to remind those making decisions. It is for those reasons that I have posted. We do learn about the deaths on our own parts on London's street network and it does affect the engineering teams each time. My peers at Redbridge will certainly know what is happening on their patch and they will be reflecting. I just hope that the message gets to the decision makers.

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