Doubt cast on Mayor's safety claims for London's cycling revolution

Green Party politician's calculations suggest casualty rate among capital's cyclists is creeping upwards

by Simon_MacMichael   December 14, 2011  

London cyclist approaching junction.jpg

Jenny Jones, London Assembly Member and the Green Party's candidate in next year's mayoral elections has today questioned whether cycling is getting safer in London as a result of the current Mayor's 'cycling revolution'. Writing in a blog for road.cc, Ms Jones admits her calculations are rough because neither Transport for London or the Mayor have produce any of their own figures but says that she believes cycling casualties as a proportion of trips in London is starting to creep upwards. While stressing the need to continue to encourage more Londoners to cycle Ms Jones says that lessons should be learned about cycle safety and the attitudes of the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London, and borough road engineers must change.

Her comments come as Mayor of London Boris Johnson faces questions this morning over issues including the safety of cyclists in London. You can watch the Mayor's Question Time on a live feed from City Hall here.

In her road.cc blog, Ms Jones, who was Road Safety Ambassador under the previous mayoral administration, led by Ken Livingstone, doesn't dispute that cycling in London is now dramatically safer than it was in 2000 but she says her calcualtion show that it has become less safe under Boris Johnson's administration. If Jenny Jones's calculations prove correct the Mayor will stand accussed of encouraging more Lodoners on to the roads while not doing enough to ensure their safety once there. Some are also bound to question the wisdom of spending tens of millions of pounds on his flagship cycle hire scheme for central London rather than improving the cycling infrastructure on London's roads.

Mayor Johnson's problems on this subject would seem to stem from having a transport strategy in which two elements conflict with each other - the promotion of a cycling revolution encourgaing more Londoners to take to two wheels while at the same time pursuing a policy where the free flow of motorised traffic appears to be paramount. These two strands of mayoral policy have increasingly come in to conflict on London's busy roads with particular flashpoints over recent fatalities at Kings Cross,and Bow roundabout and the continuing row over plans for Blackfriar's Bridge all of which have brought the mayor and TfL in to conflict with cycling campaigners and opposition politicians. Ms Jones's solution is for the Mayor to "take a new direction" with mayoral elections looming next year any time for that may well be starting to run out.

2 user comments

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Imagine a railway company, debating whether to instal safety locks on train doors so that they can't be opened while the train is moving. "But if we do that, it will interrupt the smooth flow of passengers on or off the train at each station, and could cause delays to the journey" Can you imagine such a viewpoint being taken seriously these days?

If Heathrow Airport decided that the security screenings and baggage Xray machines were slowing down passengers moving through the terminal too much, can you imagine anyone seriously entertaining them reducing the level of checks?

So, why is it that when TfL's own appointed and paid consultants, experts in their field, advise that junction design gives rise to safety issues for pedestrians and cyclists, and makes recommendations as to how safety can be improved, TfL can get away with just ignoring the advice because it might disrupt traffic flow ever so slightly? Is it not time that the people who took these decisions leading to the deaths of Deep Lee, Ellie Carey, Brian Dorling and thirteen others so far this year, were held to account for their negligence in a civil court or possibly even a criminal one?

posted by Paul M [325 posts]
14th December 2011 - 12:21

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If I lived in London I would make it my business to find out the names of "the people" who make "these decisions". And make them known to the cycling community. Smile

onward ever onward

bikecellar's picture

posted by bikecellar [231 posts]
14th December 2011 - 21:44

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