'Holborn isn't the only dangerous junction for cyclists and pedestrians'

Cyclists protested for safer junctions on September 8, here riding towards Holborn from Silk Street

Cyclists protested for safer junctions on September 8, here riding towards Holborn from Silk Street - Credit: London Cycling Campaign

On August 4, Dr Marta Krawiec, a 41 year old, popular paediatric allergy consultant was cycling south towards her work across the Theobald’s Road/Southampton Row junction when she was killed in a collision involving a lorry driver.

She is the fourth cyclist to be killed at this junction since 2008 and seventh in the tangle of junctions and one-way streets around Holborn.

A month later, hundreds of London Cycling Campaign supporters cycled last week from Old Street to the junction.

Old Street roundabout, of course, is currently being transformed to howls about congestion in some quarters. But this roundabout was known to be dangerous for years, decades, before it saw any changes.

London Cycling Campaign protested for safer junctions on September 8

London Cycling Campaign protested for safer junctions on September 8 - Credit: London Cycling Campaign

The route between Old Street and Holborn is also infamous among those cycling. There are multiple junctions with horrifying levels of serious and fatal collisions to those walking and cycling all along the Old Street, Clerkenwell Road and Theobald’s Road corridor.

The same route also sees some of the highest cycling flows each day outside of the protected cycle tracks on the Embankment. Yet here there is no protection.

This key east-west cycle route has no kerbed tracks or "wands" marking off space that’s separate. And, more importantly in this context, no signals that mean cyclists move at a different time through junctions to motor vehicles turning. Despite these having been promised for years.

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The result? Dead “cyclists” at Holborn include a contemporary dancer, architecture expert and music executive. Every dead cyclist, of course, being a lost colleague, friend, family member to many.

We protested because the vast majority of those killed while cycling or walking in London die at junctions, often junctions like the ones mentioned above – known for years to be dangerous, even lethal, but where nothing is done.

It feels like every London stakeholder gets a veto on safe cycling. There’s always an excuse why it’s more important to shove more traffic through a crossing than save lives – despite the evidence from around the world that more road capacity means more traffic, and only enabling alternatives to be safe gets folks out of cars.

TfL admirably funded Camden to fix Holborn’s gyratory in 2019. The mayor and council now promise urgent action. It’s too late for one children’s doctor. Please sign our petition to ensure it’s not too late for the next Londoner www.lcc.org.uk/campaigns/junctions-action/

Simon Munk is campaigns manager for London Cycling Campaign.

London Cycling Campaign's Simon Munk

London Cycling Campaign's Simon Munk - Credit: Simon Munk