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Yesterday's protest by London's Conservatives meant cyclist safety motion could not be debated...

Cycling campaigners, opposition Assembly Members, ordinary cyclists and the familty of a cyclist killed by a lorry last week have expressed shock and anger following yesterday’s Conservative Party walkout at the Greater London Assembly (GLA), which meant that a planned debate on a motion relating to the safety of cyclists at junctions in the capital could not be held.

At the same time as the Conservative Party Assembly Members were filing out of the debating chamber in City Hall on the south bank of the Thames close to Tower Bridge, a few hundred yards away in Bermondsey the family of the latest cyclist to be killed in London, 22-year-old Ellie Carey, were visiting the location where she died after being struck by a lorry last Friday morning.

The London Evening Standard’s Ross Lydall reports that Ellie’s father, Allister, had told him afterwards that he had urged the deputy chairman of Transport for London, Daniel Moylan, whom he met yesterday, to ensure that something positive might result from the death of his daughter.

Ellie had come to London from Guernsey initially to study an art foundation course at Kingston University before moving onto a course in international development at London Metropolitan University.

“I said to him: 'In your position as deputy chairman, I want you to see what the human agony is rather than just the mere statistics,'" said Mr Carey, who described the behaviour of the Tory Assembly Members yesterday as being "like children in a kindergarten."

Yesterday’s motion, jointly proposed by Labour’s Val Shawcross and the Green Party’s Jenny Jones, also had the backing of the Liberal Democrats, with those parties together comprising 13 of the 25 members of the GLA, the balance being made up by 11 Conservatives and one independent.

Despite that cross-party support, the plenary session in which the motion was due to be debated after the Conservatives walked out in protest at the allocation of chairmanship of committees, just as they had done six months ago today in an action that prevented another motion on cyclist safety, this time relating to Blackfriars Bridge, from being heard. That motion too was supported by parties representing a majority of Assembly Members.

Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Mike Tuffrey said in response to the latest walkout: “Today's childish actions by Conservative Assembly Members have thwarted a key debate on cycle safety taking place. Their actions are an insult to every cyclist in London as well as the democratic process."

The walkout, in which the Conservatives were joined by the sole independent Assembly Member Richard Barnbrook, a BNP candidate at the time of his election, followed GLA chair and Labour Assembly Jeanette Arnold using her casting vote to decide an issue being debated regarding chairmanship of committees, and is shown in the video below.

His party had proposed amending he original motion in a move designed to further ensure the safety of cyclists in London. The full text of the orginal motion and those proposed amendments appears at the end of this article.

Afterwards, Miss Jones said: “The Tory walkout before we could take the cycling motion was perhaps partly based on embarrassment at the Mayor's poor safety record.

"He has consistently ignored cycling campaigners' advice on how to make junctions safe, leaving cyclists vulnerable to the faster traffic.

"This is playing with people's lives, not delivering good government for London.”

Tweeting about the comments to an article he had written for the Evening Standard yesterday after the walkout, Lydall said he “had never seen such anger” as dozens of cyclists and others took the Conservatives to task, despite protestations from the party’s Andrew Boff, in a comment to that article, and James Cleverly, on Twitter, that the walkout had nothing to do with the issue of the safety of cyclists.

Given that this was the second such motion to fail to be debated in recent months as a result of Conservative action, that claim was treated with a mixture of scepticism, derision, anger and outright hostility.

Mike Cavenett of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) which has helped co-ordinate pressure on Mayor of London Boris Johnson and TfL to urgently implement changes at Bow Roundabout, where two cyclists have lost their lives in recent weeks, said:
"Today's events echo the Blackfriars walkout several months ago, which angered London cyclists so much.

"We're calling for immediate action to implement existing plans to make Bow safe, yet the Mayor of London and Conservative assembly members are conspicuously doing nothing to change this killer junction.

"A review has been promised but there's still no timetable for action."

So far this year, 16 cyclists have died on London’s streets, and today The Times confirmed that another, who works as a journalist on the paper, is still fighting for her life in hospital more than a month after being struck by a lorry just 100 yards from her workplace on the morning of 4 November.

Mary Bowers, aged 27, lost consciousness shortly after the incident and is yet to emerge from a coma, reports the newspaper, which describes her condition as “critical but stable.”

Below are details of the Liberal Democrat's proposed amendment to yesterday's motion:

Lib Dem amendment

“This Assembly deeply regrets the deaths of cyclists on London's road network and wishes to express its condolences for the loss felt by their relatives and friends. We are concerned that some cyclist deaths and injuries could have been avoided if the road network designs for the locations where these deaths and injuries occurred had been safer. We therefore call on the Mayor and Transport for London to:

DELETE ALL OF:

  • produce a list of the ten most dangerous locations for cyclists on the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN) and all locations in London where a cyclist has died in the last three years;
  • report on any proposals that were put forward by cycling and road safety groups as part of official consultation processes for redesigning roads at those locations; and
  • provide the reasons why any such proposals were rejected.

REPLACE WITH:

  • Provide a comprehensive list of dangerous road junctions across London for cyclists, to include any where a cycling fatality has happened;
  • Carry out a full review of each of these junctions, considering any proposals made by cycling and road safety groups on how to redesign these junctions to make them safer.  These reviews should be publically available and include details on why any suggestions have been rejected.
  • Secure an agreement with the Department for Transport to roll out Trixi mirrors at all major junctions across London, to help ensure cyclists are visible to drivers
  • Look into expanding cycle training across London Boroughs.
  • Bring forward proposals to improve cycle safety at Bow roundabout, King's Cross and the junction of Tower Bridge Road and Abbey Street where recent cyclist fatalities have occurred.

Amendment to be moved by Mike Tuffrey
Seconded by

AMENDED MOTION WOULD READ:

“This Assembly deeply regrets the deaths of cyclists on London's road network and wishes to express its condolences for the loss felt by their relatives and friends. We are concerned that some cyclist deaths and injuries could have been avoided if the road network designs for the locations where these deaths and injuries occurred had been safer. We therefore call on the Mayor and Transport for London to:

  • Provide a comprehensive list of dangerous road junctions across London for cyclists, to include any where a cycling fatality has happened;
  • Carry out a full review of each of these junctions, considering any proposals made by cycling and road safety groups on how to redesign these junctions to make them safer.  These reviews should be publically available and include details on why any suggestions have been rejected.
  • Secure an agreement with the Department for Transport to roll out Trixi mirrors at all major junctions across London, to help ensure cyclists are visible to drivers
  • Look into expanding cycle training across London Boroughs.
  • Bring forward proposals to improve cycle safety at Bow roundabout, King's Cross and the junction of Tower Bridge Road and Abbey Street where recent cyclist fatalities have occurred.

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.