In Other News, Times of London Pilots Unprecedented Cyclist Safety Program

The Times of London has launched what Dani Simons aptly calls a “nearly mind-blowing” pro-cycling campaign. Inspired by a crash that seriously injured a Times reporter, “Cities Fit for Cycling” is the kind of multifaceted public safety program that is normally the province of non-profit advocacy, right down to the eight-point manifesto that covers everything from education and street improvements to truck design.

Here’s a sample:

  • “Trucks entering a city centre should be required by law to fit sensors, audible truck-turning alarms, extra mirrors and safety bars to stop cyclists being thrown under the wheels.”
  • “Two per cent of the Highways Agency budget should be earmarked for next generation cycle routes, providing £100 million a year towards world-class cycling infrastructure. Each year cities should be graded on the quality of cycling provision.”
  • “20mph should become the default speed limit in residential areas where there are no cycle lanes.”

The Times is taking suggestions from the public on how to make streets safer. There’s even an online form that puts readers in touch with their local officials.

“Imagine if the NY Times or the Washington Post or the Wall Street Journal put their considerable clout and resources behind an effective strategy to promote cycling safety,” writes Simons. Instead, sensationalist fear-mongering, fabricated controversies and shameless victim-blaming continue to be the hallmarks of cycling coverage in New York, where the press corps tends to be embarrassingly regressive even in comparison to other stateside media markets.

Maybe that will change once city bike-share adds thousands of everyday cyclists to the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Or maybe, if The Times campaign generates enough buzz (and the paper itself isn’t felled by scandal), News Corp. will export “Cities Fit for Cycling” to one of its properties across the Atlantic.

Heads up, Cuozzo.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

From London to D.C., Bike-Sharing Is Safer Than Riding Your Own Bike

|
People riding shared public bicycles appear to be involved in fewer traffic crashes and receive fewer injuries than people riding their personal bicycles. In cities from Paris and London to Washington, D.C. and Mexico City, something about riding a shared bicycle appears to make cycling safer. Paris’s Vélib’ is perhaps the most iconic bike-sharing system […]

The Soft Innovations of London’s “Cycle Superhighways”

|
"Trixi" mirrors help drivers of large vehicles see cyclists at intersections. Physical infrastructure is only one component in London’s "cycle superhighways" initiative. Photo: I Bike London Earlier this week, London launched its first two "cycle superhighways" to decidedly mixed reviews. First announced by then-mayor Ken Livingstone in 2008, the cycle superhighways haven’t quite lived up […]

A Compulsory Helmet Law Won’t Make NYC Cyclists Safer

|
The great thing about arguments favoring compulsory bike helmet laws is that they tend to stay on topic instead of degenerating into fruitless bickering over cyclists’ interactions with pedestrians, bike riders’ claim to the streets, and other tired subjects. The bad things about such arguments are many. Here are three: They ignore the possibility that […]