Chris Boardman has described the content of a recent Janet Street-Porter article complaining about London’s cycling superhighways as being “what you have to do when you don't have logic, evidence or a moral case to support what you want.” Street-Porter believes that what she calls “Boris’s follies” have “brought a wonderful city to its knees.”
The article, in The Independent, sets the tone with the headline: “Cyclists and their powerful backers are destroying London for the rest of us.” Street-Porter then embarks upon a quest to tick off as many tired old anti-cycling tropes as she can.
Arguing that cycle infrastructure has not reduced car use in the capital – “it means that traffic has to fit into a much smaller space and so it is reduced to a crawl” – she asks why cyclists get preferential treatment over pedestrians. “What about the young, the elderly and the disabled who may not want or be able to cycle and who cannot use public transport?”
She frames the riding of bikes as ‘a totally unregulated activity’ and one which is apparently fraught with danger for all (especially for pedestrians dodging cyclists on the pavements).
“It seems extraordinary that riding a bike (unlike driving) is subject to so few rules. You are not legally compelled to wear a helmet and, most extraordinary of all, when these cycle superhighways have been built, cyclists don’t even have to use them. It will be a matter of “choice”.
“There’s not even a legal requirement for bikes to undergo MOTs. Millions and millions of pounds is being spent on a totally unregulated activity, and anyone who has been in the city of London in the evening can witness the insanity of completely inexperienced cyclists wobbling around without any head protection or knowledge of the Highway Code. You can rent a bike and potentially kill pedestrians or other road users, with no checks whatsoever. You don’t need to take a driving test to work as a cycle messenger.”
There’s plenty more, but you get the gist. The article is perhaps symptomatic of increasingly vocal opposition to London cycling projects such as CS11, a petition against which has now attracted over 4,000 signatures.
Chris Boardman was singularly unimpressed with the article, tweeting a link to it and saying: “This what you have to do when you don't have logic, evidence or a moral case to support what you want: shout & stamp.”