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Cyclist’s death destroyed whole family, says Vine

Tinted car windows reducing drivers’ visibility are among dangers broadcaster faces daily on roads

10 May, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Jeremy Vine speaking at the Town Hall

RADIO host and cycling campaigner Jeremy Vine railed against tinted car windows on Wednesday night.

Mr Vine, who has daily shows on BBC Radio 2 and Channel 5, was guest speaker at Cycle Islington’s annual meeting in the Town Hall, where he spoke about his love of cycling and the dangers he faces on the capital’s roads.

He told the packed-out committee room that he couldn’t “get out of his head” a conversation he had with Keith Harding, a retired teacher whose son Sam was killed while cycling in Holloway Road back in 2012. He said: “This happened in your area, destroying a whole family. I bet some of you knew Sam.”

Driver Kenan Aydogdu was cleared of man­slaughter at an Old Bailey trial after he opened his car door in front of Sam, who was hit by a bus.

The court heard that his car windows were coated with dark plastic film, which had reduced visibility by 83 per cent.

Mr Vine said: “Yesterday I thought to myself: I wonder if I can buy this stuff for my car. And I found that you can, and I found you can reduce your vision by 99 per cent.”

He recalled how Sam’s father had told him that “something needs to be done for cycling. Some of our roads are not design­ed for cyclists.”

“Like a poem, the words capture the whole situation,” said Mr Vine.

Packed room at the Cycle Islington meeting

The broadcaster, who regularly shares his close brushes with drivers on Twitter, said he had only become a keen cyclist within the last decade. Some of his clips have been viewed millions of times and have made national headlines.

“The problem I thought was not the road space but the mind of the driver and all we needed was to change the driver’s mind,” he said.

“I thought all we needed to do was change the driving and not the road but then something really interesting happened.”

He said he “discovered that all the danger” he faced as a cyclist commuting from Chiswick to the West End was at Great Cumberland Place, going towards Marble Arch.

“It’s very nasty. There’s a disproportionate number of near-misses, tourists stepping out, all in this one stretch of street,” he said.

“I had a moment of incredible, beautiful logic. It couldn’t be a coincidence that all of the dangers were on one street. I had to accept it was something to do with road layout. Road layout either keeps you safe or drops you in it.”

He added that the layout of the street had changed “just a little and it’s made a huge difference”.

Mr Vine welcomed the work Islington councillors Claudia Webbe and Caroline Russell do improving cycling infrastructure. “They must be praised,” he said.

Chris Kenyon, a member of Cycle Islington, told the meeting he wanted to see every one-way road in the borough have two-way lanes for bikes.

In the saddle dressed like Navy Seal

Radio presenter Jeremy Vine with his cycling gear

JEREMY Vine showed off his protective cycling gear and joked that he looked like “a Navy Seal going to kill Bin Laden”.

The BBC presenter revealed his full cycling equipment to the audience at Cycle Islington’s meeting. “I have a camera on my helmet, then a camera on the back. I have a flashing light on my glove then lights which look similar to a jock strap around my body,” he said.

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