Cyclists brought the streets of South London to a stand still earlier this week after staging a chilling ‘die-in’ protest in honour of late city-cyclist Esther Hartsilver.
The 32-year-old Esther was involved in a fatal collision with a lorry while cycling through a crossroad in Camberwell on May 29, and died just hours after the tragic incident.
The Kings College Hospital physiotherapist was the sixth cyclist to lose her life on the roads of London this year after being hit by an HGV, and the latest loss has resparked calls for change in the area.
Road safety campaign group ‘Stop Killing Cyclists’ organised the striking die-in to highlight the rising fatality rates in the community, “to remember [Esther] and reiterate the need for space and decent infrastructure" for cyclists.
Cyclists protest road safety on Camberwell Green pic.twitter.com/lBkIYtxOXf
— Laughing Armadillo (@ez_jokka) June 8, 2015
Speaking after the event on Monday night, co-organiser Nicolas Branch told the Evening Standard: “Tonight’s emotional die-in, which included the cyclist’s family and friends, sends a loud message to Southwark Council that it must urgently install protected cycle lanes and protected left hand turns at junctions across the borough."
Southwark Council leader Peter John meanwhile insists that multi-million pound plans are being made to improve cycling safety, and talks are already under way with Transport for London (TfL) to improve the situation.
“We want to make cycling safer for everyone in Southwark," he said. “Which is one of the reasons we plan to invest millions of pounds in cycling over the next five years.
— El Presidente #GT (@Wim_Geberbauer) June 8, 2015
“The council is speaking with TfL about a number of changes to the Camberwell network and we will be working with TfL, who we need to agree any decisions [with].
“In addition to this, last year I proposed a London wide-ban on HGVs during rush hour to protect cyclists, and following the tragic death of Esther Hartsilver the case for such a ban remains strong. I will be writing to the Mayor of London this week asking him to look at this with us urgently."
With the current-cyclist death rates totalling at over one a month in London right now, let’s hope the plans are put into action sooner rather than later.