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Green Party Assembly Member welcomes mayoral involvement in cycle scheme design so long as safety, not traffic flow, is priority

Green Party London Assembly Member Jenny Jones has discovered that contrary to repeated statements by Mayor Boris Johnson that neither he nor his advisors get involved in details of individual cycling schemes, that isn’t in fact the case. In a blog piece published on road.cc today, she welcomes the involvement of Mr Johnson and his staff – but with the proviso that they take heed of expert advice and prioritise safety of vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.

It’s been said that Boris “doesn’t do detail,” and he has categorically insisted in replies to questions put to him by Ms Jones that neither he nor his staff get involved in the minutiae of schemes.

However, a Freedom of Information request by Ms Jones has discovered that both Mr Johnson and his advisors have indeed attended meetings where specific details of cycling schemes are discussed. Some examples are given in her blog piece.

The Mayoral election campaign earlier this year saw a stormy exchange between Mr Johnson and Ken Livingstone in which the Labour candidate repeatedly pressed the mayor about whether or not his former transport adviser, Kulveer Ranger, had said that making sure the traffic kept moving freely at Bow Roundabout was the main priority there at the time the installation of a Cycle Superhighway was being planned.

In October last year, cyclist Brian Dorling was killed by a lorry at Bow Roundabout and a second cyclist, Svitlana Tereschenko, lost her life in a similar incident on another part of the junction shortly afterwards.

In her blog, Ms Jones wonders why the mayor has been so reticent about the involvement of his staff in such schemes, asking if it may be to avoid being associated with “second rate” junction design.

However, she reiterates that she is keen for the mayor and his staff to take a closer interest in the process, provided that the focus is on safety rather than on smoothing traffic flow.
 

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.

10 comments

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Municipal Waste [238 posts] 3 years ago
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Does the fact that they attended the meetings really mean they're 'INVOLVED'? Perhaps they were just interested in observing what was said.

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handlebarcam [549 posts] 3 years ago
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Andrew Mitchell has made the bicycle unfashionable for Tories. I doubt we'll see any member of that party on a bicycle for a few months, lest they be confused for a pleb-hating toff.

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Simon_MacMichael [2448 posts] 3 years ago
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handlebarcam wrote:

Andrew Mitchell has made the bicycle unfashionable for Tories. I doubt we'll see any member of that party on a bicycle for a few months, lest they be confused for a pleb-hating toff.

The irony is that I imagine several senior Tories, including the PM, Chancellor and Boris himself, probably secretly view Mitchell as a pleb because he went to Rugby, not Eton  3

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phax71 [287 posts] 3 years ago
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Does anyone else get ABSOLUTELY F•••ING SICK of reading about London constantly?

Yes, we know it's the capital, GET OVER IT, there is life and indeed issues far beyong the M25 you know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Coleman [334 posts] 3 years ago
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phax71 wrote:

Does anyone else get ABSOLUTELY F•••ING SICK of reading about London constantly?

Yes, we know it's the capital, GET OVER IT, there is life and indeed issues far beyong the M25 you know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No. It's of immense interest to me.

I imagine this website depends on advertising. No readers = no revenue. I think Road.cc is getting it right.

Oh, and stop shouting your Americanisms. I think if anyone needs to 'get over it' it's like, totally you, dude.

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thereverent [398 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm not sure the involvement of Kulveer Ranger or anyone else made much difference.
TfL surface transport seem completely unable to design decent cycle infrastructure anyway. I do think they need some different management in that department, as currently they are still stuck in the 1960s and have been for many years.

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thereverent [398 posts] 3 years ago
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Simon_MacMichael wrote:

The irony is that I imagine several senior Tories, including the PM, Chancellor and Boris himself, probably secretly view Mitchell as a pleb because he went to Rugby, not Eton  3

The PM went to Eton, Boris went to Eton on a Scholarship, but the Chancellor went to St Pauls.

I think Rugby is posher than St Pauls, although I could be wrong (being a bog-standard comp boy).

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CarlosFerreiro [103 posts] 3 years ago
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CDM regulations mean that if you take design decisions you take on all the formal responsibilities as a designer with regard to the users safety, and can be held (personally) responsible for any design failings.
A politician choosing option A or option B from layouts presented to them isn't a designer, but a politician saying, "how about option A, but with that part half a meter narrower" is getting there....
Just a thought.

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mr-andrew [300 posts] 3 years ago
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phax71 wrote:

Does anyone else get ABSOLUTELY F•••ING SICK of reading about London constantly?

Yes, we know it's the capital, GET OVER IT, there is life and indeed issues far beyong the M25 you know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With about 1 in 6 residents of England living in the capital, I would suggest that a large portion of readers would be interested. Apart from that, developments there may well have a knock on effect in other parts of the country.

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Roger Geffen [55 posts] 3 years ago
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I>3 Shimano:

From reading Jenny Jones's blog piece, Boris Johnson has evidently claimed in the past that he and his advisors do not attend these meetings, yet Jenny Jones has uncovered evidence to the contrary.

It is also clear that she has no problem with the fact that he attends these meetings - on the contrary, she thinks it's a good thing if he is paying close attention to issues concerning cyclists' safety.

However the key issue is whether the aim of his involvement (or that of his advisors) is to improve cyclists' safety, or to make sure cycle safety improvements only go ahead provided they don't reduce traffic flow, against his wish to "smooth the traffic".