Thousands Of Cyclists Join Safety Protests

Niall Paterson, Sky News correspondent

Thousands of cyclists have ridden through the streets of London and Edinburgh as part of a campaign for improvements to road safety.

An estimated 10,000 braved wet and windy conditions to take part in the Big Ride in London, passing Trafalgar Square and Parliament in an attempt to ensure the city's next Mayor makes cycling a priority.

Organised by the London Cycling Campaign , cyclists from across the capital were joined by groups from Bristol, Cambridge and even Copenhagen.

Their slogan 'Love London, Go Dutch' urges politicians to make cycling as safe and as commonplace as in the Nederlands.

LCC Chief executive Ashok Sinha said: "The Big Ride has been a spectacular success.

"We're incredibly grateful to the thousands who braved the very British weather and showed our politicians the amount of passion there is for safer cycling in the capital and beyond.

"The five main mayoral candidates have all put their names to our Love London, Go Dutch campaign, so now it's time to see action and funding that match the aspirations of London's voters."

Young and old alike were welcomed on the ride and streets were closed in some parts of central London for safety reasons.

No injuries were reported despite the slippery conditions, although the road closures did lead to congestion and more than a few angry drivers.

LCC trustee Suzanne Fogg told Sky News: "If you take Holland as an example, the majority of people cycle and that's what we want here.

"So many people want to cycle and they just don't feel safe so this is about making the streets feel safer and more inviting for cyclists."

Five cyclists have died on London's streets this year alone.

Transport for London will soon begin a major review of cycle safety ordered by Mayor Boris Johnston.

North of the border, as many as 1,000 took part in the Pedal on Parliament ride in Edinburgh to impress upon their elected representatives the need for urgent change.