Green Party London Assembly Member Jenny Jones has discovered that contrary to repeated statements by Mayor Boris Johnson that neither he nor his advisors get involved in details of individual cycling schemes, that isn’t in fact the case. In a blog piece published on road.cc today, she welcomes the involvement of Mr Johnson and his staff – but with the proviso that they take heed of expert advice and prioritise safety of vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.
It’s been said that Boris “doesn’t do detail,” and he has categorically insisted in replies to questions put to him by Ms Jones that neither he nor his staff get involved in the minutiae of schemes.
However, a Freedom of Information request by Ms Jones has discovered that both Mr Johnson and his advisors have indeed attended meetings where specific details of cycling schemes are discussed. Some examples are given in her blog piece.
The Mayoral election campaign earlier this year saw a stormy exchange between Mr Johnson and Ken Livingstone in which the Labour candidate repeatedly pressed the mayor about whether or not his former transport adviser, Kulveer Ranger, had said that making sure the traffic kept moving freely at Bow Roundabout was the main priority there at the time the installation of a Cycle Superhighway was being planned.
In October last year, cyclist Brian Dorling was killed by a lorry at Bow Roundabout and a second cyclist, Svitlana Tereschenko, lost her life in a similar incident on another part of the junction shortly afterwards.
In her blog, Ms Jones wonders why the mayor has been so reticent about the involvement of his staff in such schemes, asking if it may be to avoid being associated with “second rate” junction design.
However, she reiterates that she is keen for the mayor and his staff to take a closer interest in the process, provided that the focus is on safety rather than on smoothing traffic flow.
Simon joined road.cc 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.