Broadcaster and Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins has vented her anger on this weekend’s Prudential RideLondon, including claiming incorrectly that the event will make it impossible for emergency vehicles to get around the city.
Speaking this morning on her LBC show Katie Hopkins – Talking Sense, the former Apprentice contestant said: “The fact is most of our roads here in London are blocked, 13 bridges are shut just for a bunch of people to show us that they can ride a bike.
“My four-year-old can ride a bike. I'm pretty sure most people have the capability to ride a bike I don't actually need all of London to be shut down in order to be able to watch them ride a bike.”
Other children - indeed people of all ages - will enjoy the opportunity to ride around the city on traffic-free roads today during the family-friendly Prudential RideLondon Freecycle, with just one bridge, Waterloo, fully closed today while others, including Blackfriars, remain open.
Tomorrow, when events including the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 sportive and the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic pro race will be held, rather than the 13 claimed by Ms Hopkins, eight bridges will be fully closed, while a further three, plus the Blackwall Tunnel, will have partial closures or other restrictions.
The timings of the closures vary depending on whereabouts the river crossings sit on the route, with Southwark Bridge, Tower Bridge and the Blackwall Tunnel all open again by 11.15 on Sunday morning, for example.
In the city centre, throughout Sunday, Waterloo, Blackfriars and London Bridge will all stay open.
As we reported earlier today, cycling events held in London since the city hosted the Olympic Games in 2012 have boosted the capital’s economy to the tune of £149 million.
“I don't think we need these sorts of events,”– whether that includes others such as the London Marathon, which similarly causes widespread road closures is unclear – "in our capital city stopping our emergency service workers getting around,” adds Hopkins.
“If someone had a heart attack today in London, well good luck with that because of course we have to watch some cyclist prove that they're healthy while you're having your heart attack.”
Besides the insensitivity of that remark – in 2014, Kris Cook, aged 36, died of a cardiac arrest during the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, while during last year’s event Stephen Green, 55, passed away following a heart attack – it, too, is inaccurate.
For example, a leaflet explaining road closures in one of the boroughs hosting the event, Richmond-Upon-Thames, clearly says that emergency vehicles will have priority:
Emergencies will be treated as a priority in the usual way. If you require the emergency services, call 999. Emergency vehicle access will be maintained and prioritised throughout all of the Prudential RideLondon events.
“Frankly for me RideLondon is not an event I need to see nor do I need to see elsewhere in the country,” Hopkins concludes.
The tens of thousands of people riding their bikes on traffic-free roads today and tomorrow and the hundreds of thousands who will line the streets to cheer them on will doubtless miss her.
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.