The death of a cyclist yesterday outside the Olympic Velodrome has prompted gold-medal winner Bradley Wiggins to call for new legislation making wearing a helmet compulsory for cyclists.
Dan Harris, 28, a social media manager from Ilford, was killed yesterday in a collision with a bus at the A12 interchange. The junction is situated at the northern end of the Olympic Park. The bus, an official Games Vehicle, was transporting journalists between Olympic venues. It’s 65 year-old driver was arrested for dangerous driving at the scene but released on bail.
Harris was an amateur cyclist who had only started cycling to work after being hit with several days of bad service on his regular tube commute. As recent as last week he voiced frustration at bad cycling etiquette on Twitter.
The tragedy has reignited debate about road safety for cyclists. At a press conference this morning Wiggins said it was up to cyclists to do everything they can to protect themselves: “Ultimately, if you get knocked off and you ain’t got a helmet on, then how can you kind of argue.”
“It’s dangerous and London is a busy city with a lot of traffic. I think we have to help ourselves sometimes” Wiggins added, speaking generally and not in direct relation to Harris’s death.
The accident took place immediately after the termination of the CS2 cycling lane in an area that is already hotly contested by cycling groups. It was very close to Lea towpath, a bike-friendly “greenway” running alongside the canal opposite the Olympic Park from Bow to Homerton in east London. The towpath has been closed due to the restrictions of the Olympic Route Network, forcing cyclists onto a very dangerous stretch of road, and one notorious for cycling deaths.
Despite Wiggins’ comments, Mayor Boris Johnson said the Government has no plans to enforce the wearing of helmets in the city. He said: “It’s quite right to say that people should [wear a helmet] if they have got one, but we have absolutely no plans to make it mandatory.”