Today, the major news story coming out of the Olympics is cycling related.Sadly though it is not making the headline news, although it is by far the most important event of the day. Tucked away on the BBC news website is the following story:
The accident happened close to the Olympic Park hockey pitches
A cyclist has been killed in a crash with an Olympic media bus on the border of the Olympic Park in east London.
The man, believed to be aged 30, was injured just before 19:45 BST at the junction of Ruckholt Road and East Cross Road, Hackney.
Police and an air ambulance attended but the man was pronounced dead at the scene about half an hour later.
"The police are investigating and our thoughts are with the cyclist’s family," Olympic organisers Locog said.
No arrests have been made in connection with the incident.
The crash happened close to the Olympic hockey centre, velodrome and Paralympic tennis arena.
The victim has not yet been identified, but an International Olympic Committee source told BBC London he was not an Olympic competitor.
Locog said in a statement: "We can confirm that a cyclist tragically died as a result of a collision with a bus carrying media from the Olympic Park this evening."
Following the collision no buses were allowed to arrive or depart from the Media Transport Mall’s multi-story car park.
The Olympic Park internal shuttle remains operational.
The incident is being investigated by the Met’s Traffic Investigation Unit.
One of the things everyone who attends the monthly bike ride known as Critical Mass has in common is a desire to improve the safety on the roads for cyclists. Last Friday during the Olympic Opening Ceremony, 183 cyclists were arrested for doing nothing more than riding their bikes. The police being determined to brown nose the IOC and prevent any form of expression of will other than that approved by the corporate
bribe payers sponsors. It is therefore sadly ironic that today, less than 120 hours later, a cyclist is killed near the Olympic Park by an Official Olympic Vehicle.
I do not know the cause of the accident and do not intend to speculate as to who was to blame. What however is highlighted by this accident is the danger caused for cyclists by the lack of proper provision for them. Perhaps Critical Mass have proven right in their highlighting the dangers caused by the Olympic Route Network (ORN)
It is also ironic that this tragic death came on the day of the Olympic Time Trials in the cycling. I had intended to write this night’s blog about the time trial and in particular the success of the (hopefully soon to be knighted) Bradley Wiggins
Who can fail to admire the success of this man, having won 4 Olympic gold medals including being only the second person ever to win the Tour de France and the Olympic time Trial in the same year.
Best of British
- Bradley Wiggins (cycling): seven medals – four gold, one silver, two bronze
- Sir Steve Redgrave (rowing): six – five gold, one bronze
- Sir Chris Hoy (track cycling): five – four gold, one silver
- Jack Beresford (rowing): five – three gold, two silver
- Henry Taylor (swimming): five – three gold, two bronze
- Sir Matthew Pinsent (rowing): four – four gold
- Paulo Radmilovic (water polo): four – four gold
- Ben Ainslie (sailing): four – three gold, one silver
What needs to be appreciated is that Bradley Wiggins is the first ever Britain to win the Tour de France in its 99 year history. In fact if we turn the clock back 4 years to the Beijing Olympics, the idea of a Britain having won the Tour de France at all let alone before the start of the London Olympics was quite simply unrealistic and fanciful.
Bradley Wiggins was a time trialist and a track rider, not a road racer.
His success as he will tell you is not just down to him, but to all at Team Sky. Wiggins is a modest man and the owner of the most famous sideburns since Elvis. I’m not sure Elvis could time trial or road race.
If Wiggins does not win the Sports Personality of the Year award and pick up a knighthood, then it will be a huge injustice.
Congratulation Bradley Wiggins, you are a credit to British sport and cycling in particular. It was noticeable as I cycled home from work tonight that people knew who Bradley Wiggins was. The number of people who made comments about Wiggins and waved from their cars or as they walked was heartening to see. Sadly the news of the fatality tonight dampens slightly the feel goo factor.
Where do I start? With the Olympics and ending up with a personal matter of hypocrisy over the Olympics.
Tom Daley, the Team GB diver, who is only 18 years of age and already competing in his second Olympics today finished 4th in the synchronised diving event. You may think this is a remarkable achievement, especially when you bear in mind that earlier this year, his father died. The pressure upon someone so young, at their home Olympics and expected to win gold must have been immense.
At the halfway stage Daley and his partner were leading, but after a poor 4th dive, they ended up a slightly disappointing 4th place and missed out on the medals.
One sad individual has spent the evening posting sick, threatening and offensive tweets to Tom Daley. Examples of the tweets are below, and started with the top listed tweet.
@TomDaley1994 You let your dad down i hope you know that.
@TomDaley1994 I’m going to find you and I’m going to drown you in the pool you cocky twat your a nobody people like you make me sick
@TomDaley1994 you really didn’t try your best tommy you said you’d do your country proud and you let us all down rather support a tramp the
@SkyNews you fucking report me on the news again i’ll have you done for harrassment and a lawsuit you get me final chance you cunts
I’m not going to give this sad individual the oxygen of more publicity by revealing his name and getting him more followers. His first text is sick but his subsequent texts are without doubt criminal acts (the first is probably as well). This individual is going to find himself getting his collar felt if the police can find any manpower available that are not being used to prevent those evil cyclists of critical mass launching terrorist attacks on the “Olympic
Mafia Family.” It can’t come soon enough for the sad twisted person.
Hypocritical? Given he can do nothing more than tweet abuse anonymously, and he is abusing someone who actually tries to perform.
Next – lets turn to the Metropolitan Police who employed several hundred officers to prevent Critical Mass carrying out their peaceful monthly cycle ride which has been running for the last 18 years without incident. They however cannot manage to employ enough officers to ensure they do not lose the keys to Wembley Stadium valued at £40,000.
Olympic security farce as Wembley keys lost: First the G4S fiasco… now police admit to shocking stadium breach
Search teams hunt desperately for keys after they were lost during final preparations for the Games
Could cost £40,000 to replace the hi-tech laser key set
Claims similar incident occurred during Wimbledon championship are denied
Police in charge of keeping the Olympics safe have lost the keys to Wembley Stadium.
Scotland Yard admitted last night that it was to blame for the shocking breach.
Search teams spent days desperately hunting for the keys after they were mislaid during the final preparations for the Games.
Sources said it would cost up to £40,000 to replace the hi-tech laser keys. The latest fiasco threatened to further damage already fragile confidence in security arrangements for the Games.
It also provoked a furious behind-the-scenes row between the police, Locog and private security firm G4S over who was responsible.
But late last night, Scotland Yard admitted a team of officers mislaid the ‘internal security keys’ during last minute checks.
Claims that a set of keys were lost at the Wimbledon Championships in similar circumstances were flatly denied by tennis bosses and G4S.
It is the latest blow to Olympic security after serious questions were raised about the £284million Government contract with G4S to secure the Games. Military personnel were drafted in after the firm admitted it could not supply enough guards.
More than £600million has been spent securing Games venues, using more than 13,000 police officers from across Britain.
The Met said staff discovered the Wembley Stadium keys had been lost last Tuesday as final preparations were made for Olympic football matches at the venue.
It originally said officers were ‘alerted’ to the loss at lunchtime, sparking a criminal inquiry over fears they were stolen.
But a spokesman later admitted the keys had been mislaid earlier that day by a police team who had returned to check the venue several weeks after it had been secured and sealed by colleagues.
The officers then spent several days at Wembley Stadium retracing their steps and trying to find the missing set of keys.
One source said: ‘These were hi-tech laser keys which cost anything up to £40,000 a set as they cannot be copied. They are the same as you get at prisons.’
A Met spokesman said: ‘On July 24, officers from the Olympic policing operation at Wembley Stadium reported that internal security keys which had been used by them as part of a search were missing.
‘Officers attended the venue to assist in the search for the missing items but nothing was found.
‘Detectives also went to ascertain if there was any evidence of criminal offences, however at that time there were none.’
A spokesman for Games organisers Locog said: ‘These were internal keys, locks have been changed and the security of the venue has not been compromised in any way.’
A spokesman for G4S said: ‘We have no record of losing any keys.’
It is incredible that 180+ cyclists are arrested for riding their bikes. It is even more incredible that the incompetence of the Metropolitan Police Farce has caused more risk to the security of the Olympics than any cyclist could ever do. Perhaps the Met Police would be better employed in kettling their own officers than innocent members of the public.
Incidentally, despite the video footage posted on my recent blog post from Critical Mass on Friday night showing the police kettling supporters just off Stratford High Road, their propaganda machine were denying it and claiming it was an unsubstantiated allegation made by those arrested.!!!!
I thought the police were there to maintain order and tell the truth – clearly I was being naive.
Now, lets look at the tickets for the Olympics. We have seen thousands of empty seats at all events. I have already commented on how the opening women’s football match claimed 37,000 ticket sales, but the attendance was nearer 24,000. I notice that crowd sizes at the football matches are not routinely published. Last night’s Team GB game at Wembley was played to a substantially below capacity crowd, especially in the corporate seats.
It is difficult to get the truth about who these seats were allocated to, it seems some are allocated to sponsors, some to overseas countries which were not sold or returned and many more are reserved for the IOC fat cats who demand seats reserved for them at every event, even though they can’t be at more than one event at a time. Their greed and arrogance in demanding tickets and preventing the general public getting tickets so they can have a seat at an event if they feel like going even if for only minutes is incredible.
If these tickets were sent to overseas countries, you may wonder why they get prime positioned seats whereas the public in the host nations get the seats up in the Gods or as far away from the action as possible? Seems like the British public would have got better seats if Paris had won the Olympics.
Now, the problems about tickets are not unusual and happen it seems at every Olympics. I do not blame the LOCOG for this problem. The hypocrisy comes from people like Lord Coe in claiming that the venues are filled to the “gunwales” and dismissed pictures of the seats as ‘holiday snaps’.
Parents and friends of swimmers are said to have been refused entry to the Aquatics Centre, while relatives of tennis players have been unable to see matches at Wimbledon.
Similar problems have been reported at Eton Dorney for the rowing and the ExCel boxing venue, where parents have only been allowed entry after drawn-out negotiations.
The Met Police again feature in my hypocrisy list. This time for their failure to investigate or deal with a clear public order offence at Lords Cricket Ground on Sunday. See the article below
Yet more pressure has been heaped on the London 2012 Olympics’ embattled security contractor G4S after one of their staff was accused of spitting and hurling verbal abuse at a serviceman drafted in to cover the gaps at the Games.
The security guard is alleged to have called the soldier a “baby-killer”, in an apparent reference to his service in Afghanistan after the member of 35 Engineers asked to search him. The incident is thought to have happened at Lords cricket ground on Saturday, which was hosting the archery event.
G4S said it was “urgently investigating claims of an altercation between a security officer and a soldier”. A spokesman said: “We take any case of improper behaviour by a member of our staff very seriously. We do not tolerate insulting behaviour and, where necessary, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.”
The Ministry of Defence said the alleged incident was an “isolated occurrence”. A spokesman said: “We can confirm that there was an incident at Lord’s cricket ground on 28 July. The matter was reported and is being investigated by G4S.
“This isolated occurrence is not indicative of the good working relationship between the military and G4S.”
G4S has been widely criticised after it was forced to admit it could not provide all of the security guards it was contracted to deploy at the Games. Its chief executive was dragged before MPs to explain the situation and he agreed that the episode was a “humiliating shambles”, saying he regretted taking the contract in the first place.
It emerged G4S banned its own executives from taking up corporate hospitality places during the Games after the Army was called upon to provide 4,700 personnel to cover the gaps it left in the Olympics security plan, bringing the total number of MoD personnel involved in the Games to 18,000.
A high level of absenteeism among G4S’ staff and problems getting sufficient numbers of security guards on the roster for events, as well as criticism of the quality of its training have also been reported since the scandal came to light.
Its a good job the G4S employee was not riding a bike or there would have been hundreds of officers there and held him for hours before bailing him not to so much as think about going to or towards an Olympic Venue. So Met Police, why the double standards?
Finally, what has been called by some the ultimate act of hypocrisy. Today, I took possession of a freebie ticket for the Women’s hockey at the Olympics this Thursday and I intend to go and to watch the event. I do not, despite Michelle’s fears intend to wear an Official Protestor Shirt, nor Nike trainers or a Pepsi T Shirt. Am I a hypocrite? I would like to say not. I do not have anything against the Olympics, merely the way the public are treated. I also am not paying for the ticket and have been given it in recognition of the work I do in connection with a local children’s sports club and have done so for the last 12 years.
Michelle has made me promise that I will do nothing to get myself arrested, ejected or on TV or in the media. I’m not sure she trusts me. I can’t think why she has such a low opinion of me. Actually, I can- she knows me too well.
Watch this space….
Well today marked the start of the London 2012
Corrupt Olympic Games. This afternoon saw the Great British Ladies team beat New Zealand 1-0 before a near full house of 38,000 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Yes, you read correctly that it was a near capacity crowd of 38,000 in a stadium that holds nearer to 80,000 normally. Its only in the world of Olympic double speak that a 38,000 crowd in an 80,000 seater stadium could be called a near capacity crowd. Strange that on the night despite claims of 38,000 tickets having been sold, the attendance was only 24,000. The authorities been lying? surely not?
As ticket sales were so poor for the Olympic football, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) decided to close of parts of the football stadiums and call the reduced space the capacity of the ground. I wonder if the Mackems and Middlesbrough will be using the same approach in future season to increase their claims of the % of their ground filled each week.
A later game of the Olympic Women’s football proved just how incompetent the LOCOG and the IOC are. Before the game between NORTH Korea and Colombia started, video images were apparently being sown on the stadium screens. Except instead of showing the NORTH Korean flag when showing the pictures of their players, they showed the SOUTH Korean flag. Given the history of these 2 nations and the current animosity between the 2, a bigger insult could not have been made. The BBC reports the story here. £9.4 BILLION pounds of taxpayers money and they still can’t tell 2 warring countries apart – its quite incredible. Wonder if they will blame this on G4S as well.
Well, on a more personal level, today saw the opening of the Fat /corrupt Bribe Payers Lanes on the road, aka The Games Lanes. They became effective at 06:00 this morning and immediately caused chaos. I cycled to work this morning as per usual, but within the first 5 miles I ended up having to ride on the pavement in some stretches to get round the chaos and traffic jams caused by the Zil lanes and the re timed traffic lights. This was before I even got to where the lanes actually started.
Once in Stratford, it was interesting to see the Zil lanes in operation. When I say in operation, I mean completely empty and being unused whilst traffic in the other lane( s ) remained gridlocked. A great waste of time and money as people are stuck in gridlock trying to get to work. The threat of £130 fines each time they go into the lane, enforced by CCTV and fines sent by post seems to be a deterrent.
What was interesting though was that although the bus lanes have been suspended where the zil lanes are in operation (and there are signs everywhere stating this), the motorists did not stray into the former bus lanes. This was good as it enabled me to make progress to work. Getting nearer to work, I was forced to turn off the Embankment, as right turns are banned, and head over Southwark Bridge to the south side of the river and follow the road there along to Waterloo Bridge where I crossed back to the proper side of the river and headed via Aldwych to my work. Arriving at work, I had a damn good scrub in the shower, and used bleach to try and get rid of the dirty feeling from being in that unclean horrid place known as south of the river. Its cruel ad unusual punishment forcing people south of the river.
Tonight, coming home, I decided to adopt a different approach to my travel. As in most places where the Zil Lanes are in places, the cycle lanes have been removed, I took the view that for my safety, rather than having near passes from motor vehicles and being forced ride in the gutter, my safety would be better served by riding in that expanse of tarmac with no motor vehicles using it – yes, the zil lanes. It was great to ride in empty lanes past all those poor motorists snarled up and unable to go anywhere owing.
So today, I have breached the Olympic rules by using the Olympic logo and words like London 2012 etc. in this blog and have ridden on the pavement, ignored red lights and ridden in zil lanes. I’ll be expecting a 0500 knock from the Olympic Nazis and taken off to the Olympic version of Guantanamo Bay. If I stop blogging, you know why!
On a personal note, its great to have Michelle, Josh, her parents and the dogs staying at mine. Its a highlight of my summer to have them here to stay. Not just because they have cleaned my house, cut the grass and tidied up the garden. Not only that, but I’ve had great food prepared and ready when I get home from work. I’m looking forward to Friday and the weekend to spend more time with them all.
1. THE OLYMPICS WILL SHOW OFF OUR CITY TO THE WORLD.
But it doesn’t. The Olympic Marathon had its route moved to Pall Mall because Tower Hamlets, the poorest borough in London, doesn’t quite make the right impression.
2. THE OLYMPICS WILL BENEFIT LONDONERS WITH JOBS.
It depends. Not people affected by the Games – only 25% of the Olympics workforce are from the five Olympic boroughs. However, Atos Origin, who run the volunteering scheme, are generating colossal profits from contracts. They’re less charitable to their workforce, who won’t get a penny for their time and energy.
3. THE OLYMPICS WILL BENEFIT LOCAL BUSINESS.
When the Athletes’ Village is turned into homes it will become part of the Stratford City development, now wholly owned by Westfield (after they bought out the other shareholders). Residents can look forward to having their environment controlled at the whim of a corporation whose reason for being is to sell stuff. Local business doesn’t really stand a chance in the long run.
4. THE OLYMPICS WILL CREATE MORE HOUSING.
Yes, if you can afford them! The rest of the site which is being given over to homes will be developed by the Mayoral Development Company, Olympic Park Legacy Company. They promise 11,000 new homes, and 35% of them will be affordable. Only 675 of them will be social housing though, so if you’re on the list in Newham get ready to wait. The average wait is around 10 years.
Previous Olympic cities, like Barcelona, Sydney and Seoul, have seen huge rises in property prices, forcing local families out of their neighbourhoods. This is already happening in London and thanks to confidentially agreements with the London Organising Committee of the Olympics and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) you won’t hear about it in the media.
5. THE OLYMPICS WILL CREATE MORE PUBLIC TRANSPORT.
Well, not quite. Huge swathes of London roads will become dedicated ‘VIP lanes’ during the Games. Thousands will struggle to get to work for the whole 10 weeks. There has been little word on how much the public will have to pay in fare increases in future years.
The DLR extension is finished but the new (old) platforms at Stratford International have been rebuilt out of wood. The cable car (officially the Emirates Air Line) that goes from not-quite-the-o2 to not-quite-the-ExCeL centre has beenfinished by the time the games happen. However, it broke down today after less than a month in operation. But at least it’s only costing the taxpayer £24million in exchange for Emirates to get their logo on tube maps for the next decade
6. THE OLYMPICS WILL MAKE THE CITY A SAFER PLACE TO BE.
Well, yes, they are sending in the army and putting missiles on top of peoples’ homes, then forgetting to guard them. You’ll be monitored the whole time by hundreds of security personnel, CCTV and flying drones developed for use in Afghanistan. Stratford is set to be the guinea pig for yet more oppressive surveillance tactics. Studies show that CCTV does little to reduce crime, but a lot to create a climate of fear.
The police also have a new temporary police station built on Wanstead Flats. Although planning permission was only sought for a temporary structure, it has been constructed as a permanent building – stealing a large chunk of public green space enjoyed by local residents for centuries.
7. THE OLYMPICS WILL BE THE GREENEST GAMES EVER.
Not quite. The Olympic Park is built on a former landfill site. Excavations have disturbed buried toxic chemicals, spreading them into the land. Radioactive thorium from an old watch factory has also seeped into the water table. DOW Chemical, the company that bought Union Carbide (responsible for the as yet to be cleaned up Bhopal disaster) are major sponsors. Plus BP is the Olympics official sustainability partner. Their involvement in the Tar Sands is a glowing indicator of their lack of commitment to ecological sustainability and social justice.
8. THE OLYMPICS IS AN INVESTMENT IN LONDON’S FUTURE.
Well it is quite an investment. £9.3bn, according to the Olympics Quarterly Economic Report in May 2011. The original estimate in 2005? £2.4bn according to the Labour government. The most recent figure doesn’t include costs associated with the acquisition of land, remediation, government departments and quango spending. 10% of the cost for the Olympics will come from Londoners’ taxes and 67% from national taxes.
9. THE OLYMPICS WILL PROMOTE DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH.
Well it will certainly be promoting many things through its corporate sponsorship deals. LOCOG are interested in protecting their benevolent sponsors but seem to have little interest in anyone else’s freedom of speech or expression, even handing out ASBO’s to anyone opposing the games. Their crack team of branding Police will be enforcing laws expecially drawn up for the olympics which are far more stringent than any other trademark or intellectual property law. With everything from an "Official chocolate bar of the Olympic Games" through to banning anyone using the words "olympics’, "2012", "Summer Games" "Twenty Twelve" and many more, the games is more than anything an experiment in extending corporate control of social life.
10. THE OLYMPICS WILL INSPIRE A NEW GENERATION.
It will but the International Olympics Committee isn’t only interested in inspiring future athletes. It’s going for the gold and hoping to inspire as many people as possible to buy more stuff.
It’s not quite clear what kind of future taxpayers are being asked to invest in. It seems to be one that favours a particular London vista – Pall Mall, oppression, privatization and the erosion of public space.