Cllr Mark Gettleson writes:
On Friday 2 December, 22 year old Ellie Carey was killed after her bike was hit by a lorry at the junction of Abbey Street and Tower Bridge Road. Ellie was a talented and beautiful young woman, who was dedicated to her friends, family and studies. She had a fighting spirit to change the world for the better: she worked on aid projects in Africa, volunteered with charity Bridge 2 Sri Lanka and 'Critical Mass' bike rides in London, which help promote safer cycling.
Her family have asked me to thank all those Bermondsey residents who, despite the fact many will not have known Ellie, came out to lay flowers on Tower Bridge Road or sign a card.
Any untimely death is a tragedy. But what makes Ellie's death even more upsetting was the fact that local residents and councillors have been pushing Transport for London and the Mayor's office for so long to sort out this lethal junction.
A year ago, we launched a petition for a pedestrian crossing at this junction (you can still sign it online at www.tinyurl.com/pedestriancrossing). At first, Transport for London told us there had been insufficient casualties for a crossing. But In March, they said they would investigate making the junction safer.
Only now – too late – they say they will finally start looking at ideas like a pedestrian crossing, mirrors to see what's coming round the sharp corner and banning a left turn from Tower Bridge Road into Abbey Street towards Long Lane. This study will be completed by the end of March, but Transport for London say they won't act on it before 2013 or 2014. That is simply not good enough.
Ellie's family have made clear they want something positive to come out of this terrible situation: that fighting to improve this stretch of road for cyclists and pedestrians is what Ellie would have wanted.
So at 6pm this Wednesday, 14th December, we're going to meet at the Shortwave Cinema on Bermondsey Square, before walking down to the junction of Abbey Street and Tower Bridge Road. There, we will hold a vigil to remember Ellie and to show Transport for London how strongly the local community and Ellie's friends and family feel about the need to take urgent action to make this junction safer.
Members of Ellie's family will be flying over from Guernsey, where she grew up, to join us. I hope you will too.
Councillor Mark Gettleson
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