Cyclist 'nearly hit by car' on way back from rally for road safety

Charlie Fernandes

Charlie Fernandes - Credit: Adam Shaw

A cyclist claims he was almost knocked off his bike in Wembley Park while coming home from a protest about dangerous junctions in London. 

Consultant Charlie Fernandes told of a “near miss” when a driver cut him off at a newly-installed turning near Wembley Park station. 

The 47-year-old said he had to think quickly to avoid a crash as there was “no suggestion” the car was going to let him pass safely. 

He said: “It could have been very dangerous – I was cycling along when the car overtook me and cut across me and hooked left. 

“I had to slow down quickly to avoid being hit, and all it would have taken was the car waiting five seconds to see where I was heading.”

Charlie was returning home from a protest calling on the Mayor of London and councils to address dangerous junctions across the city. 

It came after two cyclists were killed in London last month at crossings seen as particularly unsafe for those on bikes.

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Charlie argued the new junction in Wembley has been designed without cycling safety in mind. 

He said: “It’s as if they’ve been neglecting cyclists. People expect you to act like any vehicle on the road but you can end up getting squeezed out quite easily.

“It seems as if Brent Council have rushed through these changes without thinking about the impact on pedestrians and cyclists.

“They said it was to improve access to the North Circular Road but there were plenty of other ways to get there without using this route.

“It will only get worse as more people realise and use this rat run, which will just make things scarier for cyclists.”

Charlie added there is already a battle to get more people cycling in outer London areas, where there is less infrastructure and greater reliance on driving.

He said: “We’ve seen a drop in cycling rates in outer parts of the borough because people view it as an unpleasant place to do so.

“Councils need to look at reallocating space to cyclists – if they were serious about it, they would push for measures that make roads safer and, where appropriate, reduce motoring access.”

Brent Cycling Campaign, where Charlie is a ride coordinator, launched a project this week encouraging people to consider travelling by bike for day-to-day activities.

It argued cycling is open to all members of society, has clear health benefits and can help address climate change. 

Brent Cycling Campaign coordinator Sylvia Gautherau said: “Residents have the power to achieve change by demanding change. 

“By showing people all the different situations where choosing cycling is an option already enjoyed by many people, we want to inspire them to try too. 

“We want people to know, they are not alone in wanting to choose cycling, and yes, you absolutely deserve better and your choice is valued. We and others can support you in getting started.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has previously spoken about the need to make the city’s roads safer and more appealling to cyclists, particularly after the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: “I’m absolutely determined to build an even better London after the pandemic – a greener and healthier city in which it’s easier and safer to walk and cycle.

“The huge number of Londoners who have taken up or rediscovered cycling over the past year – myself included – has been one of the few silver linings from the pandemic.

“By making it safer and more convenient for people to get to where they want to be, we will not only keep up this momentum but also enable a cleaner and greener recovery for our city.”

Brent Council has been approached for comment.