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Founder of Stop Killing Cyclists steps down to focus on more climate change issues

Donnachadh McCarthy leaves immense legacy of action for cycling safety

One of the founders and co-organisers of Stop Killing Cyclists, an active pressure group working mainly in London to highlight poor cycling infrastructure, has reluctantly stepped down from the organisation to focus on more general climate change issues.

Donnachadh McCarthy has decided to spend his time tackling the media moguls he says are behind the inaction in the UK on the pressing climate issues.

He says that the ‘five far-right UK media billioniares who own so much of our press and media’ are ‘opposed to effective climate action and are using their media corporations to promote climate sceptic propaganda’.

He adds that once these issues have been addressed, it will be ‘easier’ to focus on cycling and other national campaigns.

In April we reported how the group organised a ‘die-in’ protest outside the Department for Transport, over a lack of action over the “national health emergency” caused by air pollution.

Mr McCarthy, said at the time: “In London when European Union [air pollution] safety levels are broken this government says to people who are elderly or ill or children: stay indoors; they say to the disabled: stay indoors. What we say is that we want drivers to stay indoors when the pollution levels are high. We want a ban [on cars] when safety levels are broken.”

Posting on Facebook this week, Mr McCarthy said:

Dear everybody,

Just to let you know that I informed the Stop Killing Cyclists organising group at its latest meeeting that I am pulling back from being a co-organiser for Stop Killing Cyclists.

As some of you may know, my core passion is tackling the climate and environmental emergencies that we and our planet are facing.

And whilst the urgent creation of a national protected safe cycling infrastructure is core to tackling this in the UK, I have realised with my other campaigning over the last few years, that the single biggest block to the urgent climate action we need in the UK, is the five far-right UK media billioniares who own so much of our press and media.

This is because all five of them and their papers are opposed to effective climate action and are using their media corporations to promote climate sceptic propaganda.

I have therefore decided to concentrate all of my efforts on tackling this one cause. As I feel that once this is dealt with, all other national climate action campaigns including cycling will be immensely easier, once their opposition is out of the way.

I have therefore set up the group Advertising Action on Climate Project. Its aim is to persuade climate responsible corporations to stop funding climate sceptic propaganda by pulling their advertising from the Mail, Sun, Star, Times, Telegraph and Express, unless they agree to responsible science-based reporting on the climate emergency.

We launched our first Climate De-Advertisement Campaign last week to persuade M&S to stop funding climate sceptic propaganda.

I have realised I personally cannot help drive two important campaigns and hence my decision to pull back from being a co-organiser at SKC, which I hope you will understand.

It has been a truly wonderful privilege to be part of this amazing group, since Stephen Routley and myself set it up two and a half years ago, out of frustration at the lack of radical campaigning by LCC, in the face of 6 deaths in just one month.

My thanks goes to everybody who has been helping us ever since in so many many ways, I will not mention anybody by name, as there are so many but especial thanks to the core organising group members over the last two and a half years.

We are 100% volunteer based without any professional staff or even a bank account and yet you have helped achieve so much in that short time!

I have included below some of the powerful moving images that we have created together over this time.

Their power I believe has been a crucial element in creating the fantastic public support that protected cycle lanes now have in London, due to the widespread coverage they generated in the London media, which we were lucky is not dominated by the 5 far-right media billionaires.

London now has a GLA and Mayor committed to the creation of a comprehensive protected cycle network.

I accept that there is however a huge job waiting to be done.

Nationally, cycle campaigning needs the same radical shake up as London needed from the creation of Stop Killing Cyclists three years ago.

Government policies on cycling, under all parties, have been criminally disastrous but the campaigning against them have been weak, with protests almost non-existent, other than those organised by SKC.

Many London boroughs also are stuck in the car-centric 1950s and need radical campaigning to change them.

And of course the new London Mayor will need active monitoring to ensure that he delivers the ambitious promises he made to our 10 by 2020 Stop Killing Cyclists London Mayoral Safer Cycling Challenge.

I shall remain a member naturally and hope you will all give the organising group your positve support as they take Stop Killing Cyclists forward in its next steps.

This is a sad and difficult decision for me to take but hope you will wish me the best with it, as I wish the best to you.

with love and deep thanks
Donnachadh x

A year ago, Stop Killing Cyclists made national headlines when it held a vigil and ‘die-in’ to remember Ying Tao, a 26-year-old woman killed while riding her bike in London. Hundreds of cyclists, including Tao’s husband, brought rush hour traffic to a standstill at the spot outside the Bank of England where she was crushed by a lorry.

Ying Tao was the eighth person riding a bike to have been killed on London’s roads last year, the sixth woman and the seventh killed by a lorry. The vigil was also in memory of 60-year-old Clifton James, who was killed while cycling in Harrow.

The junction at which the vigil was held features seven major and two minor roads merging. Stop Killing Cyclists say there is ‘absolutely no sensible provision for cyclists’ and that even pedestrians are poorly catered for.

A bike officer from City of London Police has described the junction as “probably the most dangerous in London” for cyclists and Donnachadh McCarthy of Stop Killing Cyclists went further, telling the London Evening Standard that it was ‘murderous’.

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bikebot | 7 years ago
1 like

SKC achieved a lot in a short time, but my instincts are that it has probably run its course now. Or at least, that form of protest has.

It successfully funneled an awful lot of anger and support following the deaths at the end of 2013, when the LCC was still being terribly polite and a bit useless.  I don't think that translates so well to the everyday campaigning about infrastructure, and related issues such as air quality. I expect the group will have a bit of a rethink now regarding tactics, something that involves standing up would be nice!

And on a related note...



emishi55 | 7 years ago

Climate change is one of the reasons I campaign for mass/inclusive cycling myself.

When I visit relatives outside of London however I feel as if things are getting worse each time.

Sheer idiocy - or smart moves by those industry shills on the inside, keeping speeds up, volumes high and ensuring the roads are clear for the vehicular vermin that infest every available through road and side street.

The town I grew up in not 40 miles out is a hell hole of pollution equal to London levels, with a worsening of the blase acceptance of the car as normal means of making non-essential journeys.  

Too many newspapers (evn beyond the five you mention Donnachadh) receive too much revenue from the motor industry. I wish you every success with tackling these criminals .

Many thanks for the inspiration and heartfelt reminders along the way of  the need to draw attention to, and pay respects to those who have succumbed to the colossal and barbaric insanity that is the foulled-up state of roads in London and the rest of the UK.



brooksby replied to emishi55 | 7 years ago

emishi55 wrote:

Too many newspapers (evn beyond the five you mention Donnachadh) receive too much revenue from the motor industry. I wish you every success with tackling these criminals .

Don't forget local papers, which are in many cases even worse. Practically all of the local newspapers in England are owned by about two companies, which direct content and editorial from on high.

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