Marie Vesco was a young (19 year old) French woman with high ideals, priniciples and integrity. She was an environmentalist and so chose to cycle to Brighton on 4th June 2008 to participate in a peaceful demonstration. She never made it because she was struck by two fast moving overtaking vehicles on the A23 and was killed. My experience representing her family at the Inquest in early 2009 brought home to me the quite awful consequences of complacancy amongst many motorists and amongst some police, CPS and Courts. It prompted me to write about the car culture here where I included reference to Marie's case.
Two years on, Marie's family and friends are riding from London to Brighton along the National Cycle Routes which run parallel to the A23 and which Marie may well have been using if they had been better signed. The coroner was very interested in this at the Inquest. The interest is welcome provided that it does not lead to an inference that cyclists are not entitled to use major (non-Motorway) roads should they choose to do so. Marie's family and friends have campaigned hard for improvements to the National Cycle Route Network and I believe they have the right balance in indicating that cyclists should have the information and facilities necessary to make a choice given the fact that the lack of consideration shown by some drivers is both commonplace and unpunished.
I wish them well on their ride, Details are as follows:
PRESS RELEASE – COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE
Bike ride in memory of Marie Vesco: 3rd and 4th June 2010
Marie Vesco was killed on the A23 by two car drivers on 4th June 2008. At the inquest into her death, the Coroner requested immediate improvements to the signage available to cyclists on this route. The Highways Agency completed their works this spring on and around the A23 with an additional 145 signs drawing cyclists’ attention to National Cycle Routes 20 and 21.
On 3rd and 4th June 2010, two years after her tragic death, Marie’s Vesco’s family and friends will be cycling from London to Brighton via the National Cycle Routes 20 and 21, to celebrate the improvements in signage on the these routes and to campaign for improvements to them where needed.
The cyclists will be available to meet the press anywhere en route by arrangement. They will be cycling from Brixton to Crawley on Thursday and Crawley to Brighton on Friday.
Please call any of the numbers below if you wish to meet us.
It is doubly tragic that it took the death of a vibrant young person and almost two years of hard campaigning for these road signs to finally be put in place.
Similar improvements need to be made throughout the UK, particularly on and around busy A roads to ensure that cyclists can share the roads safely with other road users.
It is their firm belief that if all road users respected the Highway Code there would be no need for special facilities for cyclists. Until the roads are properly policed bad habits will continue to be commonplace. Given that there are inconsiderate drivers on the roads, it is appropriate that cyclists have a choice of less frightening routes especially when A roads have been converted into motor-way like facilities. Facilities for cyclists should be considered at the beginning of such developments and not be inadequate add-ons after the motor facilities are completed.
The group will publicise the improvements needed to the above NCR routes in consultation with the charity Roadpeace and the Cyclist Touring Club.
[now removed since the event is over; if you wish to contact the organisers let me know]