Hackney cyclists hit back at former councillor who branded upcoming protest ‘distasteful’ in wake of two deaths

Whiston Road, where a 36-year-old cyclist died last month

Cycling campaigners in Hackney have hit back at a former councillor who branded them “distasteful” for organising a protest following the deaths of two cyclists last month.

Hackney Cycling Campaign is staging a protest ride next Wednesday to call for safety improvements in light of the two fatalaties – both a result of accidents involving cars.

The riders will be joined by the families of the 27-year-old man and the 36-year-old mother who lost their lives.

Vincent Stops, who represented Hackney Central before retiring last year, posted on social media: “It is deeply distasteful to target the most successful cycling borough in the UK, that has done so much to promote and facilitate more and safer cycling, in the shadow of such tragedy.”

Stops, who worked for a London travel watchdog and blogs on transport issues, said: “No death of any road user is acceptable.”

He added: “Over the years, a huge amount of energy and effort has gone into making cycling better in Hackney.”

Former Hackney councillor Vincent Stops

A spokesperson for Hackney Cycling Campaign said it “strongly rejects Vincent Stops’ tasteless attack”.

They added: “We are not ‘targeting’ a borough; as our name implies, we campaign on cycling issues in Hackney.

“It would be bizarre and neglectful for a cycling campaign not to address the issue of two preventable cyclists’ deaths in the borough.

“The families of the two victims will be attending the protest and have expressed support for our actions.”

The campaigners have put forward suggestions for safety measures on Kenworthy and Whiston roads – where the collisions occurred.

These include a bus gate on Whiston to prevent through traffic, and a toucan crossing for pedestrians and cyclists on Kenworthy.

They added: “We acknowledge that Hackney Council has done more than most London boroughs to enable cycling over many years, including introducing traffic filters, leading to the highest cycling levels in London. Yet the recent deaths highlight that more action is required.

“We are calling on the council to implement the actions that we know will reduce road danger, so that we can move towards Vision Zero as quickly as possible.”

Vision Zero is a global target to eradicate all traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

Rickardo Hyatt, Hackney Council’s director for climate, homes, and the economy, said: “We are deeply saddened by news of the tragic deaths of cyclists on Whiston Road and Kenworthy Road, and our thoughts are with their friends and families. Casualties on our roads are neither acceptable nor inevitable.”

He said vulnerable road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, are a top priority in any changes to roads.

The 27-year-old man died in hospital two days after a collision with a car on Kenworthy on Sunday 10 September.

The car went on to collide with another vehicle. The 24-year-old driver was arrested, and she has been bailed until December.

The 36-year-old mother-of-two died after a collision with a car on Whiston Road in the early evening of Thursday 21 September.

Twenty-nine-year-old Martin Reilly, of Caldecott Way, Lea Bridge, was charged with causing death by dangerous driving and vehicle interference. He is due to appear at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday 23 October.

A 49-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving has been released with no further action.

Hackney Cycling Campaign’s protest ride starts at Mabley Street in Clapton Park at 5.30pm on Wednesday 18 October. It will arrive at Whiston Road at 6.15pm and at Hackney Town Hall at 6.30pm.