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200 Londoners "Dump the Pump for Good"
Cyclists aim to encourage motorists out of their cars
Around 200 cyclists converged on Trafalgar Square at 8.30 this morning, having pedaled in to central London in five separate groups from North, East, South-East, South- West and West London(1), in a cycling celebration of the joys of "Dumping the Pump for Good".
In an act of impromptu open-air democracy, they decided to repeat the action on the first Mondays of September and October as well.
Today's demonstration was timed to coincide with the "Dump the Pump" campaign, in which motorists are being urged to boycott petrol stations for one day in protest at high petrol taxes. "Dump the Pump" is linked to the rabidly right-wing "Association of British Drivers" and has been backed by The Sun and the Daily Mail.
London's cyclists have organised today's "Dump the Pump for Good" event in just 6 days, via the email and internet, and through leaflets distributed by individual cyclists. It was also advertised at the regular "Critical Mass" cycle ride(2) on Friday 28th July . It is expected that the "Dump the Pump for Good" bike rides will grow considerably over the next two months.
"Dump the Pump for Good" aims to encourage motorists to join cyclists in discovering the option of not paying the high petrol taxes which so concern the Association of British Drivers. As Tom, one of the participants, explained: "Dump the Pump's efforts to reduce petrol taxes will do nothing to solve Britain's transport crisis.
By contrast, this morning's bike rides provided a positive vision of a way forward which costs virtually nothing and which is available to almost anyone regardless of age or income. It is good for our health and fitness, for air quality and the earth's climate, avoids the stresses of endless traffic jams, and benefits our quality of life all round. We invite all London's commuters, whatever their normal mode of travel, to join us next month!"
For further information on today's ride, contact Chris 07801 188768 or Tom 07801 703016
For background information, see the following:
Critical Mass - http://come.to/londoncm/
Transport 2000 (briefing on fuel prices and the social costs of motoring) www.transport2000.demon.co.uk
European Car Free Day: Friday 22nd September (streets closed to motor traffic in Lambeth, Southwark, Camden and Merton) - www.22september.org
For the other side's story: Association of British Drivers - www.abd.org.uk
Dump the Pump - www.boycott-the-pumps.com
(1) The starting points for the five rides were: North London: Highbury Fields (near Highbury Corner); East London: London Fields, Hackney (by Pub on the Park); South East London: Peckham High Street, opposite northern end of Peckham Rye; South West London: Clapham Common (south side, next to Windmill Inn); West London: Shepherds Bush Green.
(2) "Critical Mass" takes place on the last Friday of every month, with cyclists gathering at 5.45pm outside the National Film Theatre (under Waterloo Bridge on the South Bank) for a celebration of cycling - the route is decided spontaneously as the ride progresses.
'Dump the pump' just fuels inequality. Let's dump it
Critical Mass, UK.