Boris Johnson says a cyclist who called him a ‘prick’ at the opening of London’s new ‘crossrail for bikes’ is an example of what’s great about the city. The Conservative MP said he had received a ‘hail of abuse’ from motorists and others in the run-up to the opening of the cycle superhighway – “then finally on day one, the cyclists themselves.”
Speaking to LBC Radio on his last day of office, Johnson said he had just come from opening the new cycle route where he had generally been given a warm reception.
“There were hundreds of cyclists who were really enthusiastic and going 'three cheers' and all this sort of stuff, and the cameras were running. Then this cyclist came up, I was doing my final bit to camera about how proud I was, and this cyclist came past and went 'P****'."
Johnson took the insult in good spirit, however, saying:
"You get a hail of abuse from the people in the limos, the Financial Times has gone absolutely crazy about this thing, the cab drivers don't like it, all that sort of thing, and then finally on day one, the cyclists themselves.
"But that's why it's a great city. Can I just say, there are cities around the world where people wouldn't dare to do that. It's worth thinking about."
The “Cycle Crossrail” is a fully protected bike route running for just under three miles from Tower Hill to Parliament Square that will eventually run past Buckingham Palace and through Hyde Park to Acton, in West London. Its opening was Johnson’s final act as mayor before Sadiq Khan took over.
Johnson urged his successor to continue investing in cycling and lobbying central government for transport funding. “There’s so much to be done in outer London, too many journeys are being made by car that could be made by bicycle,” he said.