Big debate: How safe is it to cycle on London’s roads? Redbridge cyclist and taxi driver have their say

Cyclists use the new Cycle Superhighway 7 in Clapham, south west London. Picture: Press Association

Cyclists use the new Cycle Superhighway 7 in Clapham, south west London. Picture: Press Association - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

London’s highways have taken the lives of 14 cyclists already this year – six of those have come just this month. Most of the deaths have involved lorries and buses. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has shrugged off calls for an urgent review of the city’s cycling safety. The Recorder asks a local taxi driver and cyclist about the issues they face on London’s roads.

Cyclist Gill James

Cyclist Gill James - Credit: Archant

Gill James, Wanstead – member of Redbridge London Cycling Campaign

Humad Mahmood, manager of Radio Cars

Humad Mahmood, manager of Radio Cars - Credit: Archant

Cyclists use the new Cycle Superhighway 7 in Clapham, south west London. Picture: Press Association

Cyclists use the new Cycle Superhighway 7 in Clapham, south west London. Picture: Press Association - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

When they put cycle roads in Redbridge, they’re all advisory, which means anyone can park in them. That means we can’t always see a vehicle pulling out.

The problem is, there isn’t enough space on our streets. Compare what our government invests compared to The Netherlands.

I’m retired so I don’t commute anymore, but I do cycle to my local Tube station and to Stratford. Some of the roads are OK, but I stick to the side roads. If you’re careful about the roads you pick, they’re quite safe.


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My experience is probably different from that of a commuter – but women like me are treated quite well.

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I find 90 per cent are respectful, then you get the odd 10 per cent who haven’t got a clue and do things like come too close. It’s really dangerous – you’re turning left and they come across you which could end up killing you.

With HGVs, you should stay well away. Don’t ever go down their inside especially at [traffic] lights.

Despite the spate of accidents, the stats show cycling is still a safe thing to do.

We need to put more money into cycling and more awareness. The more people who cycle, the safer it will be.

Humad Mahmood, 35, Manager of Radio Cars

Hitting a cyclist is my biggest fear. They are reckless, they are not safe and they can come out of anywhere.

One of my drivers at a give way line hit a cyclist. The cyclist claimed that it was my driver’s fault. Luckily we were outside a police station and it turned out the cyclist was drunk.

It is the two-way thing. Obviously, cyclists need to be more aware, they need to have a visible jacket, but motorists need to be wary too.

With both cyclists and motorists on the road it is more chaotic. I would separate them and I would make more space on the pavement for cyclists. I would not ride a bike in Redbridge.

In other cities across Europe, the roads are safer because they are wider but you cannot do that here.

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