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Only 25 junctions will be safer by the end of his tenancy as Mayor: cycling groups protest at poor progress

Boris Johnson has pledged to make 33 dangerous junctions in London safer for cyclists, along with starting work on two major safe cycle highways for cyclists through the middle of the city by 2015.

He will also publish a network of quieter routes through backstreets for cyclists who are frightened of cycling around lorries.

"We are publishing the map of our new network of Quietways across Zone one, many of them following the lines of the Tube map,” he said in a speech this morning.

The Mayor has been criticised for downgrading the safe junctions plans down to 33 from an original 100 promised earlier this year as part of the Olympic legacy plans.

And even the ones he has promised won’t happen fast. According to TfL’s new delivery schedule, 25 of the 33 junctions will be completed by 2015/16 and the remaining 8 will be delivered by 2020/2.

Last year, TfL committed to completing improvements to 10 junctions by the end of 2012, with a total of 50 junctions being timetabled for improvements by the end of 2013.

London Assembly Green Party member Darren Johnson said: "Over two years ago, the mayor promised to urgently overhaul 500 of the capital's most treacherous junctions but what we are now seeing is the mayor's ambition shrinking as cycle casualties are rising."

Mr Johnson said too that he was tackling the issue of dangerous lorries. He said: "We are driving up safety standards for all vehicles.

"All lorries contracted to Tfl, the GLA or our supply chains will have side bars, audible and visual warnings, driver training and other ways of reducing the risk of collision

"We are working as you know on a new Safer Lorry Zone for London and together with the Dft we have launched an HGV taskforce that is targeting bad operators with dangerous machines

"So far we have fined 243 and actually impounded 14 of them."

Fines for rogue vehicles entering the capital are £200. Penalties can be given for misdemeanors including failing to have side-guards and convex mirrors to give a better view of blind spots.

Mr Johnson also said that mandatory bike lanes, demarcated by a solid white line - would be policed as rigorously as bus lanes,

After pre-briefed versions of his speech were slammed by cycling campaigners for telling cycling groups they needed to ‘be more careful’ in how they spoke about cycling, because it was putting people off two wheels, he changed the wording.

According to ITV London’s Simon Harris, Mr Johnson instead said that people’s fears about cycling must be addressed, and returned to his familiar theme that cycling is getting safer, a claim which some nevertheless dispute.

The London Cycling Campaign has reminded Mayor Boris Johnson that it is poorly designed streets and unsafe junctions, many of them under his control, that put people off cycling.

Chief Executive Ashok Sinha said, "Countless surveys show that most Londoners are deterred from cycling in the capital because of fear of motor traffic.

"The Mayor's poor progress in making cycling safe at London's worst junctions – by providing protected space on main roads and traffic-calming on smaller streets – is the main reason why most Londoners won't cycle. In particular the Mayor’s Better Junctions Review has so far failed to deliver any substantial safety improvements on the ground.

"We're disappointed the Mayor is blaming cycling campaigners for putting people off cycling when it is the gross deficiencies in cycling safety on streets and junctions under his control, that does most to suppress cycling.

"The appalling quality of Cycle Superhighway 2, one of his flagship cycling projects, is highlighted by the fact that five people have died cycling there in two years."

At the speech, Mr Johnson also gave updated figures from the clampdown on road behaviour following a spate of deaths in the capital.

He said that more than 2,000 cyclists and motorists had been stopped by police for behaviour including red light jumping - 755 cyclists and 1,392 motorists.

The Green Party Assembly member Jenny Jones said: “It's time to nail this myth that Boris is 'The Cycling Mayor'. He does cycle, but he's not making the rest of us safe on the roads.

“[The] urgent review of 500 junctions in 2012 becomes 25 junctions finished by 2016 when the Mayoral term ends.”

Full text of Boris Johnson speech on cycling this morning:

Good morning and thanks for coming. I want in particular to thank Sir Peter Hendy for the work he has done over many years to make cycling safer, and you will hear from Peter in a moment.

I think we have reached a very important moment in the development of transport in the city, because there is now a growing chorus of voices who say that the cycling revolution has been going too fast and that we should somehow get all these cyclists off the roads and people look at me in an accusing way…
and so I am obliged to reply by saying first that this analysis grossly exaggerates my messianic abilities. I am a passionate cyclist, but I am not some kind of Pied Pedaller

People go by bike because they love to go by bike, because it is clean, it is green, it is beautiful, it is enjoyable and it is the way to go for our city.

I want London to be famous not just as the financial, cultural and artistic capital of the world. I think our streets should be as famous for cycling, and as popular with cyclists, as the streets of Copenhagen or Amsterdam

And that means we must make it ever safer,and wherever accidents take place we must respond. We must see what could have been done to prevent them. We must immediately work out what we can do to stop them happening again, and we must address people’s fears, well-founded or otherwise

It is true – and for this I pay tribute to the work of TfL and many others – that cycling is getting safer in London, and the rate of serious and fatal collisions has fallen by about a quarter in the last decade.

But we all know that we must do better

People say to me, what about educating all these cyclists? And yes, we have launched our cycle safety tips campaign and we have so far funded training for 8723 adults and 38,743 children

And yes, if you want to learn to ride in London, and you are apprehensive then we will certainly help you

And then people say what about the lorries? And I say yes, we are driving up safety standards for all vehicles. All lorries contracted to Tfl, the GLA or our supply chains will have side bars, audible and visual warnings, driver training and other ways of reducing the risk of collision.

We are working as you know on a new Safer Lorry Zone for London. And together with the Dft we have launched an HGV taskforce that is targeting bad operators with dangerous machines, and so far we have fined 243 and actually impounded 14 of them.

And then people say, well, that’s all fine but what about behaviour? What are you doing to tackle the cyclists and the motorists who disobey the laws of the road? And that is why we have launched Operation safeway in the past few weeks, in which 755 cyclists have been fined for offences such as jumping red lights.

And before you accuse me of picking on cyclists let me assure you that we have also fined 1,392 motorists for talking on their mobiles or jumping the red light.

And then there is the fundamental question: how do we continue to modernise London’s essentially mediaeval road layout to take account of these conflicting demands?

So let me repeat that we are spending the thick end of a billion pounds on creating better infrastructure for all road users

Just in the next few months we are setting out our programme to make 33 junctions safer. We are publishing the map of our new network of Quietways across Zone one, many of them following the lines of the Tube map. We are getting on with the mini-Hollands, and starting new safety schemes in Bexleyheath and Twickenham.

We will continue to expand and improve the superhighways. And yes, where it is possible and sensible, we will segregate those routes, as we have done at Stratford. And by 2015 I hope we will have begun work on the great east west superhighway – the biggest continuous urban cycle route in Europe

The cycling revolution will continue, and it will accelerate

This is not the time to slacken off or give up, because if we get this right, the prize is huge. London should be in many ways a perfect city to ride a bike. We have a flat or gently undulating landscape – much less hilly than Paris. We have more green space and parks than any other city in Europe. We have perfect temperate weather.

And if we can get Londoners on to bikes we can take the pressure off public transport. We can reduce traffic. And I believe we can help people to be fitter, calmer, less hassled and to enjoy the glories of the city in a way that is different every day.

There is a huge amount of work to be done. It will take time and patience and humility, but with your help I have no doubt that it can be done.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.