Architect campaigns for safer cycling

Nick Myall
Friday 30 Sep 2016

Peter Murray is campaigning for safer cycling on London’s streets as he aims to become a cycling czar

An architect who has had two friends killed while cycling in London wants cyclists and pedestrians to be “allies” rather than adversaries as they work to make the capital’s roads safer for all.

As part of his campaign Peter Murray, 72, chairman of the New London Architecture forum has applied to become Sadiq Khan’s new cycling and walking commissioner.

According to the London Evening Standard, his campaign to protect vulnerable road users was launched after the death of fellow architect Francis Golding, who was hit by a left-turning coach in Bloomsbury in 2013. 

He then spoke out about the “slaughter” involving construction lorries after the death of museum director Moira Gemmill on Lambeth Bridge in April last year.

Commenting on safer cycling Mr Murray said: “Active travel — bringing together walking, cycling and public transport — is I think the key solution to what we do with our city centres. I have always been interested in safer cycling, because I’m a cyclist. I also believe that walking and cycling cities are more civilised than those that are rammed full of tin boxes.

“We are working towards a better balance. We have not got there yet. What we did for city centres in the 20th century was pretty disastrous.”

Mr Khan decided to broaden the commissioner’s role from that held by Andrew Gilligan during Boris Johnson’s term as London Mayor, when it was solely focused on cycling. 

Mr Murray, from Turnham Green, who has been cycling in London for 40 years, said he welcomed the dual responsibility. “If you look at some of the issues that came out of having a commissioner who was only looking at cycling, there were areas where walking and cycling came into conflict,” he said. “I think that is not a good thing. Pedestrians and cyclists are allies in improving city space.”

Mr Murray, who was a member of Mr Johnson’s design advisory group, launched the Golding Rule — yield to the most vulnerable on the road — in memory of Mr Golding, whose work included the City’s Walkie Talkie skyscraper. Mr Murray knew Ms Gemmill from her time in the late 1990s as the then-head of exhibitions at the Museum of London. “Two quite close friends have suffered high-profile deaths in London,” he said.

After Ms Gemmill’s death, he called on the construction industry to take action to cut casualties to zero. “Architects should make sure that clients and contractors are fully aware of the issues and that only lorries with properly-trained drivers and the necessary safety equipment should be employed on their sites,” he said.

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