Mayor of London Boris Johnson has admitted to riding without a functioning rear light – and has promised to buy a new battery as a matter of priority to ensure it doesn’t happen again. He has also repeated his vow to ban rickshaw’s from the city’s streets.
The politician was pulled up on his rear-light faux pas by a caller to his regular Ask Boris phone-in show on London radio station, LBC 97.3.
Caller Mark from Twickenham – a taxi driver, as it happens – told Mr Johnson:"I passed you last night in Newgate Street. You need a light on the back of your bike."
The Mayor replied: "I've got to 'fess up to that. A battery was temporarily pegged out on my back light and I'm going to have to put my hands up to that.
"I had a front light that was working. I was cycling without a functioning rear light.
"Mark's got me bang to rights. I'm not going to deny it. But I can tell you it's all hands on deck trying to get a battery into that back light today."
The Mayor was also pressed on an issue he has touched on before – banning rickshaws, or pedicabs, from the capital’s streets.
Mr Johnson said that the unlicensed vehicles caused a hazard to other road users including cyclists, but said that as matters stand, the issue was out of his control.
Quizzed as to whether he would ban the vehicles if he had the power, he replied: “We would. I don't want to be hostile to the rickshaw trade, but it is my view that they are an encumbrance on the roads.
"I am a libertarian, I think that on the whole if people want to ply their trade on the public highway, they should be allowed to.
"But I happen to think that rickshaws are a menace and, speaking as a cyclist, they push you out into the traffic where you don't want to be, they go at the wrong speed.
"I can perfectly well understand what I very, very often hear from the taxi trade that they don't see why they are on the road.
"We are taking steps to regulate them. I cannot, however, promise an immediate solution."
Last December, the London Evening Standard reported that Mr Johnson had pledged to ban the vehicles, but added that Transport for London did not have the power to do so as the law stood.
In a submission to a Law Commission consultation regarding potential reform of licensing regulations relating to taxis, TfL called for pedicabs to be subject to similar laws as those applying to taxis and minicabs.
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.