Now five dead in eight days

Aldgate again.




This butcher's bill is intolerable - a reproach to all of us; insane and ghastly, and not, I'm afraid, a statistical anomaly to be explained away as a result of greater numbers of cyclists or a clutch of temporary misjudgements on specific occasions. It is tragic for the families of those killed and for those who killed - largely through inadvertence I suspect. For a century we've designed our roads, trained those in charge of motorised vehicles, maintained specific attitudes to urban transport in ways that are entirely at variance with the needs of people on foot or bicycles, or the prerequisites of a modern civilised prosperous city. For all recent attempts at change and reform, the 'common sense' of the metropolitan majority remains as immersed in the  assumptions of autodependency as it once was (and still is in some parts of the world) about the superiority of men over women. Even those who do not benefit from the injustices built into contemporary transport culture tend, reflexively, to accept the way things are. We find ourselves welcoming peripheral changes that seem to allow us - conditionally - to inhabit the fringes of the motorised world. We, even its victims, are at the same stage in our thinking about this problem as slave-owners and traffickers, when growing reservations about slavery led to calls for more humane treatment of the people we traded; better housing, lighter penalties for attempting to escape; less use of chains and whips; how men, including even most slaves, were - in their assumptions - before the great jump to the recognition that slavery was an evil beyond mitigation. Urban transport needs a Great Reform Bill - that starts with London but applies to every city in the country.

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