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'It's a scandal London roads are only for the brave' says London Mayoral candidate

Boris contender says air pollution and safety are top of her list for reform

Making London a healthier, safer place for cyclists is a ‘life and death matter’, according to the Mayoral hopeful Diane Abbott.

With the highest levels of air pollution of any European capital, it is a catastrophe waiting to happen, the Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP wrote in the Huffington Post.

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She said: “Everyone in London will know friends and family with asthma.

“Children growing up near busy roads have been shown to develop smaller lung capacity which has serious implications for their health in later life.

“Air pollution affects all Londoners - from being in the dirtiest busiest thoroughfares like the Euston Road to the schools and workplaces we travel to daily.

“But it is London's poorest and most vulnerable that are affected most and that is simply unjust.”

The Labour MP added that she supported making the centre of London, and high streets across the Capital car free during the day - “so they become places for people not cars.”

She added that cycling deaths on roads not fit for bicycles were “a scandal”.

She said: “My vision of London is one where people of all ages and backgrounds cycle - not just the bravest.

“For example, in Copenhagen 90 per cent of people own a bicycle and over a third of them are riding on a weekly basis.

“I support separate cycling lanes, public information about cycle routes and the numbers of people taking to bikes - making it easier and safer to get about and renewing confidence after so many tragedies.

“Safe cycling and walking must form the core of London's long term planning strategy.”

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

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