So the Today programme managed to tear itself away for 30 seconds from its obsession with when Tony Blair will leave office to report this: a woman stabbed to death on her way to work in Vauxhall. Unfortunately before it could give us any more details other than the fact that the attack was ‘frenzied’ (is there any other kind?) and the woman was 52 (because God knows the most important thing about a victim of crime is their age) – such as where exactly she was stabbed and when – one of the researchers managed to track down Tony Blair’s ex-stylist or his ex-dog, or possibly his ex-stylist’s ex-dog, and the radio went back to the endless round of speculation, leaving us none the wiser but significantly more worried.
Cycling back this evening, I could see from the police tape, the flowers and what looked like a TV broadcast van that the attack had happened on a side street just off the route I take on my way home. Latest reports are that somebody is in custody, but this is not the first stabbing to happen in the area – the flowers are still appearing on the lampost where Alex Kamondo was stabbed in Black Prince Road. I take the back streets to and from the station because they’re quiet and there’s not much traffic – the alternative involves turning right across two lanes of traffic at Kennington Cross and then negotiating a complicated one-way system that is not for the faint hearted. So I have to ask myself: what is more dangerous to the average cyclist – one homicidal lunatic armed with a knife or several thousand of them armed with their cars?
I’ll be sticking to the back streets for now.