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Boris Johnson against banning cyclists from London's South Bank

Lambeth Council erects "no cycling" signs despite having no powers to do so as battle heats up...

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has said that he is against imposing a ban on cyclists on the capital’s South Bank, but admits that the decision on whether or not to allow cyclists to use the route along the Thames is out of his hands.

As reported here on back in August, local employers along the South Bank, which includes some of London’s best known landmarks such as County Hall, the London Eye, the Royal Festival Hall, the National Theatre and the Oxo Tower, published a report calling on Lambeth Borough Council to enforce a ban on cycling along the path running alongside the river.

Now, according to a report on local news website London SE1, responding to a question tabled by Green Party London Assembly Member Jenny Jones who asked whether he was in favour of a ban on cyclists on the South Bank, Johnson said: “TfL does not believe that cycling should be banned along the South Bank.

“However,” he continued, “the decision on whether to ban cycling along stretches of the South Bank rests with the London Borough of Lambeth and private land owners within this area.

"TfL provided a response to the South Bank Employers' Group's cycling strategy for the area in September 2010,” Johnson added.

"TfL's response referenced my target to increase cycling by 400 per cent by 2026, to improve cycle safety, and the importance of improving the permeability for cyclists in central London, including in the Waterloo area."

The London SE1 website asked Lambeth Council for clarification of what stage its draft cycling strategy had currently reached, and received a statement from the council that said: "The deadline for any consultation submission was the end of September and is as yet incomplete."

However, the website also reports that the council has recently installed “no cycling” signs between Westminster Bridge and Lambeth Bridge, despite the fact that it has no powers to impose a ban.

According to the council, it is currently “monitoring the effectiveness" of the signs which it says were put up following allegations that “a small number of aggressive cyclists were spoiling it for the majority of sensible cyclists and pedestrians who use this section of the South Bank".

The website added that a council spokesperson had stated: "The signs are currently advisable [sic] but they allow the PCSOs that patrol the South Bank to ask cyclists to dismount in order to talk to them about considerate cycling."

The council itself has admitted that the signs are currently unenforceable since they a traffic regulation order (TRO) is needed to bring the ban into effect, ahead of which a full consultation would need to be conducted.

Local MP Kate Hoey has recommended cyclists to use busy routes away from the river instead of the Thames Path, describing Lambeth Palace Road as an "excellent cycling route".

However, local cycling campaigner Charlie Holland of Labeth Cyclists has urged local transport planners to look at the bigger picture, saying: "There seems to be a shortfall of ambition from many politicians and planners to see London have a child-friendly cycle route, free of motor traffic, linking the tourist attractions springing up all along the river."

"Some of the proposed replacement routes around the South Bank are totally unsuitable for novice cyclists. We'll be opposing this ban every inch," he adds.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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