In what is fast becoming ritual following London's disturbingly regular cycle deaths, campaigners last night held a "die-in" in Camberwell in memory of Esther Hartsilver, a physiotherapist who was hit by a Co-Op lorry on May 29th.
The Evening Standard reports that she was the sixth person to die on a bike in London this year. Of the six, five were women and – crucially – all six were killed in collisions with HGVs.
The Standard quotes Nicola Branch from campaign group Stop Killing Cyclists describing the motivation for the die-in: "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".
Die-ins are a common tactic used by cycling campaigners who want infrastructure more akin to that of The Netherlands. In fact, a similar Dutch campaign in the 1970s was the force behind the country being a utopia for bikes that it is today. Prior to the intervention of campaigners, the Netherlands and Amsterdam were much more like London is currently. BicycleDutch produced this great video, showing off just how astonishing the transformation was:
In response to the Camberwell death, Southwark Council leader Peter John has told the Standard that "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."
Let's hope something can be done before anyone else dies.