Cycling campaigners urge Keir Starmer to learn from collision

Matthew Weaver and Damien Gayle
·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Jessica Taylor/UK parliament/AFP/Getty</span>
Photograph: Jessica Taylor/UK parliament/AFP/Getty

A cycling campaign group has urged Keir Starmer to learn from a collision he was involved in over the weekend that left a cyclist with an injured arm.

Police attended the incident on Sunday, close to the Labour leader’s home in Kentish Town, north London. The male cyclist received a minor injury to his arm and was taken to hospital as a precaution.

Donnachadh McCarthy, the co-founder of Stop Killing Cyclists, said: “We hope this crash will be a wake-up call to Keir Starmer that the Labour party needs to do far more to hold the government to account for failing to invest the £6bn per year needed for protected cycling infrastructure, as advocated by the UN, to enable kids to cycle to school safely, as they do in Holland.”

He added: “Keir Starmer should be setting a good example by cycling around Camden, not using a child-endangering and high-embedded carbon SUV.”

Starmer’s office said he spoke to a member of the British Transport Police at the scene and provided a badge number of the officer concerned.

A spokeswoman for the force confirmed an off-duty police community support officer witnessed the collision and provided Starmer with their details.

The Met police refused to confirm Starmer’s involvement, but issued a statement saying no arrest had been made.

A spokesman said: “The driver of the car had stopped at the scene and exchanged details with the cyclist but had left before officers arrived. Officers later attempted to contact the driver of the car and left a message advising him to report the matter to police. The driver of the car subsequently attended a north London police station. He was not arrested or interviewed under caution.”

A spokesman for the Labour leader said: “Keir was involved in a minor road traffic accident on Sunday. He spoke to a British Transport Police officer who attended the scene and swapped details with the officer and the other individual involved.

“Keir stayed at the scene until the ambulance arrived. Later that afternoon, he reported the incident to a police station in accordance with the law. Since the incident, Keir has also been in touch with the other individual involved.”

A London ambulance service spokeswoman said: “We were called at 12.08pm [Sunday] to reports of a road traffic collision involving a car and a cyclist on Grafton Road, NW5.

“We sent an ambulance crew to the scene. A person was treated at the scene and taken to a hospital.”

Two residents who witnessed the aftermath of the incident told the Guardian they saw two police cars and an ambulance at the scene of the accident at around 12.30pm outside a swimming pool on Grafton Road.

The residents, who declined to be named, said they assumed there had been an accident at the pool because an officer was guarding the entrance.

The latest statistics for traffic collisions on roads in London show signs of an improvement in safety for cyclists that has coincided with an expansion of cycle lanes in the capital. Figures from Transport for London released last month showed five people died while cycling in the capital in 2019, down from 12 in 2018.

A higher take-up of cycling in the capital has been accompanied by an overall increase in accidents. Injuries to cyclists were up 36% to 4,634 last year, compared with a long-term average of 3,410 based on figures for the period 2005-09.