Serious crash on Hammersmith Bridge prompts cyclists to organise 'calm the bridge' protest ride

A shocking crash that left a young female cyclist pinned against the side of Hammersmith Bridge by a car has prompted local campaigners to organise a 'calm the bridge' protest bike ride there on Saturday 2 June 2012.

Members of Hammersmith & Fulham Cycling Campaign, Wandsworth Cycling Campaign and Merton Cycling Campaign plan to calm all bridge traffic between 10.30am and 12.30pm, using groups of cyclists to reduce the speed of motor vehicles and prevent overtaking.

The crash took place at lunchtime on Monday 28 May, and two cars collided as one tried to overtake a young female cyclist who was out riding with her parents.

The victim was lucky to escape death or serious injury when after ending up pinned to one of the bridge supports by a car that had tried to overtake her.

The London Cycling Campaign and local campaigners have been calling on all central London bridges to be made safer for cycling, with 20mph speed limits a top priority.

H&F Cycling Campaign's John Griffiths said, "If you're cycling at 10-15mph and there's a car or a van trying to squeeze past, it can be very threatening for less experienced riders who can't keep up with the traffic.

"The fact that so many cyclists go on the footpaths instead of the road shows there's a serious problem here."

A survey conducted by H&F Cycling Campaign found that over two-thirds of people would be more confident cycling over the bridge if there was a 20mph limit.

A report from Transport for London, uncovered by LCC in 2008, found strong evidence that implementing 20mph limits on central London's bridges would save lives, with the measure in many instances paying for itself via the reduced costs associated with serious and fatal crashes.

Further evidence from TfL has shown that on many central London bridges cyclists now outnumber other vehicles during peak hours.

Father calls for "radical change" on Hammersmith Bridge

At about 1:30pm on Monday 28 May 2012, Hammersmith & Fulham residents Alexis Vergez and his wife and 18-year-old daughter were cycling south across Hammersmith Bridge, heading for the Thames Path on the south of the river, which was their regular route to Kew Gardens.

According to Mr Vergez, a silver car accelerated to overtake his daughter on the narrow bridge, and crashed head on into a red car coming in the opposite direction.

Witnesses claim the red car crossed the central reservation, forcing the other driver into the path of the cyclist.

Mr Vergez said, "Why was this silver car overtaking my daughter on the bridge?

"There should not only be a 20mph limit, but signs to tell vehicles they're not allowed to overtake a person on a bike - there's simply not enough space.

"I've never felt comfortable riding on this bridge even though I'm a confident cyclist who rides every day to work.

"This bridge is too dangerous for cars and bikes to share unless something radical is done about it.

"When my daughter was a toddler, we used to cross the bridge via the pavement, but we reverted to the road about 10 years ago, having been told off by too many angry pedestrians."