A high-profile member of the London Assembly has called on Mayor of London Boris Johnson to ban lorries from key commuting routes into the city during peak times after a second cyclist in the capital was killed in less than 24 hours, and has warned that his policies risk undoing improvements made to cyclist safety over the past decade.
Green politician Jenny Jones, a former Deputy Mayor of London, made her appeal after a female cyclist was killed yesterday after being hit by a tipper lorry at 8.30am between Lauriston Road and Victoria Park Road in South Hackney. That fatality happened less than 24 hours after the death of a cyclist in an incident involving a similar vehicle in Southwark on Tuesday, the same day that Mr Johnson unveiled his Cycle Safety Action Plan.
Ms Jones, who has sat in the London Assembly since its inauguration in 2000 and who under Ken Livingstone undertook roles as the Mayor’s Road Safety ambassador and the Mayor’s Green Travel Ambassador, has urged Boris Johnson to act now to improve cyclists’ safety ahead of the introduction of the first Cycle Superhighways later this year.
Reflecting the views of many cyclists in the capital and beyond who had used the internet to react to this week’s deaths, Ms Jones said: “Many of us are feeling a mix of sadness and anger at these latest deaths of cyclists in London.”
She continued: “This summer, the London Mayor will be encouraging thousands of inexperienced cyclists to use the cycle superhighways and share the roads with some of the main lorry routes through London.”
That, claims Ms Jones, will create an added danger for cyclists, and she says “the most obvious thing the mayor could do is to simply ban lorries from using these cycling commuter routes at peak times of the day. The least he can do is to re-engineer these routes to give cyclists priority."
Ms Jones, whose working relationship with Mr Johnson has been much frostier than the one she enjoyed with his predecessor, Mr Livingstone, claims that “the mayor's action plan on cycling safety is inadequate because it has no timetable for implementation,” a concern also raised by the London Cycling Campaign earlier this week.
A vociferous opponent of Mr Johnson’s decisions to close the Commercial Vehicle Education Unit last year and reduce road safety funding by £10 million, Ms Jones continued: “London's success in halving the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads in the last decade has been based on high levels of investment and tough decisions.
“All this is now under threat, unless the mayor restores the budget. The cut in the number of traffic police, safety cameras and road safety schemes, is a dreadful decision which may cost lives," she concluded.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.