Campaigners who want motorcyclists banned from bus lanes are accused of exploiting an irrelevant road death in a “sad and desperate” push for their cause.
The London Cycling Campaign (LCC) has dragged a fatal road accident into the row – even through the crash in question didn’t happen in a bus lane.
Cyclist Tanya Vanderloo, 33, died following a collision with a motorcyclist on London’s Victoria Embankment on October 20.
Since the crash didn’t happen in a bus lane, it is not linked to a trial of motorcycles sharing the lanes.
But that hasn’t stopped LCC citing it as grounds to end the trial.
The move has been seen as desperation after 11 months of cyclists and motorcyclist successfully sharing the lanes.
Since January LCC has appealed for cyclists to report incidents within bus lanes. The group’s latest move has also been taken as a sign that search has proved fruitless.
In a fresh online appeal LCC says: ‘After the recent death of a cyclist in a collision with a motorbike, LCC is urging people to make their views known on the motorbikes in bus lanes trial before 5 January 2010.
‘A female cyclist died in hospital on 29 October 2009, nine days after the incident that took place while she was cycling eastbound along the Embankment.’
LCC communications officer Mike Cavenett adds in quotes: "Even though this fatality didn't take place in a bus lane, it shows how vulnerable cyclists can be.
"We're campaigning to reverse the mayor's trial, and give back bus lanes to cyclists as areas that provide them with greater safety.”
The group asks cyclists to fill in a Transport for London (TfL) survey on the 18-month trial.
Nich Brown, spokesman for the Motorcycle Action Group, said: “I think LCC are being a bit ghoulish if they’re looking at any crash between a cyclist and motorcyclist just to move their campaign along.
“Cyclists are also in collisions with cars, buses and lorries. They could just as easily have cited a collision between a cyclist and bus as evidence buses should be removed from bus lanes. It’s really ill-judged to be putting out a story like that.
“Our information from the trial so far is that it’s going very well indeed and there haven’t been reports coming into TfL to support LCC’s claims.
“It could well be that they are aware that the trial is pressing on and are getting a bit desperate and it seems a bit sad that they have to drag someone’s death into the argument.”
LCC has consistently refused to speak to MCN. Cavenett hung up on our reporter, saying our enquiry would only be taken in writing.
Instead we phoned each of LCC’s 33 local groups across London to see if they were more open to debate.
To read how even some of those don’t seem fully behind LCC on the issue, get MCN, on sale December 1.
A Met Police spokesman confirmed: “A female cyclist was in a collision with a grey BMW R1200RT in the east-bound carriageway of the Victoria Embankment.
"She suffered serious injuries and died later in hospital. The rider of the motorcycle remained at the scene. He wasn’t arrested and is helping police with their enquiries.”
He said a coroner gave the cause of death as multiple head injuries.
Read LCC’s version of events here: www.lcc.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=1620
Make motorcyclists views on the trial heard by filling in the TfL survey: tinyurl.com/tflconsultation