Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Car-Free Day: London cyclists make people-protected bike lane on Old Street, part of key commuting route

Three years on from previous protest, campaigners are still waiting for safe infrastructure on busy Clerkenwell corridior

Cyclists in London have marked today’s World Car-Free Day by making a people-protected bike lane on a key commuting route across the city where safe infrastructure promised several years ago has still not materialised, despite several cyclists being killed and a number of others sustaining life-changing injuries there in recent years.

Members of Camden Cycling Campaign and Cycle Islington, the local borough branches of the London Cycling Campaign, undertook the protest on Old Street this morning.

They had previously undertaken a similar intervention at the same location in 2019 after three cyclists lost limbs after being crushed by lorries in the area.

Old Street lies on the axis running from Shoreditch via Clerkenwell towards Bloomsbury – the location of the notorious Holborn Gyratory – and on towards the West End and is a hugely popular cycle commuting route.

However, efforts to have safe infrastructure put in place have so far proved fruitless, with the campaign groups condemning what they see as “eight years of inaction” to improve the safety of cyclists along the so-called Clerkenwell corridor, reports the London Evening Standard.

Citing data from CycleStreets, the newspaper says that since 2016, some 201 cyclists have been injured in road traffic collisions on the route, including 30 who were seriously injured.

Within the past 12 months or so, two cyclists have been killed in crashes involving lorries on the Holborn Gyratory, with paediatrician Dr Marta Krawiec losing her life in August 2021, and lawyer Shatha Ali killed there in March this year.

Among those present at this morning’s protest were Victoria Lebrec, who had to have a leg amputated when she was run over by a lorry eight years ago, as well as Green Party London Assembly Members Sian Berry and Caroline Russell – plus celebrity cycling cat Sigrid and her owner, Travis.

Steve Prowse of Camden Cycling Campaign said: “We held a protest here in 2019 and we were promised action. Since then, more people have been hurt.

“We’re fed up with waiting for action on this corridor – one of the busiest for cycling in London despite the dangers here and despite the lack of any safe cycle infrastructure.

“We’ve been promised action by Camden and Islington councils. How many more people must be injured or killed before it arrives?”

On the eve of the previous protest in March 2019, Councillor Claudia Webbe – at the time, Islington Council’s executive member for environment & transport, Councillor Claudia Webbe, said that the local authority was committed to transforming Old Street and Clerkenwell Road into a ‘Healthy Street’, with priority given to cycling, walking and public transport.

Construction was due to start in January 2021 and to be completed by the end of that year, but most likely due to the coronavirus pandemic, the plans appear to have been put on hold.

A spokesperson for Islington council said today: “The council is currently working, alongside TfL and Camden council on proposals to introduce segregated cycle lanes on the corridor, to make cycling easier and safer while protecting bus journey times.

“Given the corridor’s status as one of London’s most heavily-used cycle and bus corridors, devising these ambitious proposals is likely to be challenging, complex, and time-consuming, involving the re-designing of several key junctions.”

A consultation into the proposals put forward by Camden and Islington councils is due to be held next year.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Add new comment


mitsky | 1 year ago
3 likes is usually good at reporting/writing about collisions involving drivers of motor vehicles.

But in this case there are 3 instances that imply they were self-driving/autonomous.

"...after three cyclists lost limbs after being crushed by lorries in the area."

"... two cyclists have been killed in crashes involving lorries on the Holborn Gyratory,"

"...who had to have a leg amputated when she was run over by a lorry..."

Please amend this article along the guidelines.

Unless the lorries were self-driving/autonomous.

Keep up the good work.

Shades | 1 year ago
1 like

Biked to work; normal routine anyway.  The irony was that on Car Free day there were 2 forum topics raised on the local ranting Nextdoor app screaming about the council (Bath) being 'anti-car' and a significant junction (tbh it's a rat-run) being closed as part of installation of an active travel scheme (cycle lanes and improved pedestrian routes).

eburtthebike | 1 year ago

Surely this is a case of local authorities failing in their duty to make the roads safe for everyone?  If one of the victims wanted to crowd fund a legal challenge to make the councils do their legal duty, count me in for a quid or two.

Steve K | 1 year ago
1 like

I still can't believe I missed this as it went right by my office!

Latest Comments