Don't worry, this is not that old debate (the problem is bad drivers, two-wheeled or four). But let me tell you how I nearly died a couple of weeks ago, and what I learned from the incident.
One moment while I mount the pulpit.
One morning, a motorist in a hurry came within inches of pancaking me onto my pushbike. System 1
kicked in but thankfully I couldn't catch up with him to swear even louder.
After I reached the safety of the cycle towpath and the calming sight of waterfowl and bulrushes, I pedalled my way to a more sensible response:
I concluded that the fundamental problem here in London is that cyclists and motorists are constantly funnelled into the same tiny spaces. Blame medieval road planners. The solution is cycle lanes, real ones that physically keep bikes and cars apart. I don't know how to build or lobby for them. So when I got in that day I looked for people who do.
"Cycle lane" and "cycle path" produced duff results at Guidestar
's charity listings but Google came up with the goods: Sustrans
- the people responsible for the National Cycle Network - and the London Cycling Campaign
The LCC website offered their plans for the future, up to 2008, and I liked what I saw, while I couldn't easily find what Sustrans was planning* (a mystifyingly familiar scenario on charity sites
) - but I did see that they had clout and results. And neither seemed to be sitting on too much money or blowing too much on admin, fundraising or salaries (I'll write an entry eventually on how to spot this
The result: 60% of my cycling safety fund will be going to LCC, 40% to Sustrans. Satisfaction. Karma.*Their website is now bursting with plans about the Olympics so they are forgiven