London Mayor Boris Johnson’s latest comments on cycling safety are nothing more than a cheap distraction from funding cuts and essential road safety issues, according to the CTC, the UK’s national cyclists’ organisation.
As reported last month on BikeBiz.com, Johnson announced he was lobbying the Department for Transport to allow cyclists to turn left at red lights, improving safety at junction accident blackspots for cyclists, who are particularly at risk from lorries. But CTC Campaigns and policy manager, Roger Geffen warned that Johnson’s words were meaningless.
Speaking to BikeBiz, Geffen said: “It is nothing more than a cost-free and meaningless headline, serving only to distract people from the Mayor’s reluctance to invest in the things which matter for London’s cyclists.
“He has no power to act on this proposal and the Department for Transport is extremely unlikely to allow him to do it either. It's just an empty headline that simply isn't going to happen.
“Specifically he called for this proposal in the immediate aftermaths of the deaths of two women cyclists in London on successive days, both killed by lorries. One of these fatalities was at the Elephant Roundabout, where the Mayor recently cancelled plans for a fundamental junction overhaul as part of a previous Transport for London programme for redesigning London’s worst roundabouts and one-way systems.”
Geffen said that the London Mayors’ words were detracting from vital issues for cyclists and encouraging people to use bikes, including the forthcoming consultation period for Government road safety strategy:
“This and the other fatality highlight some of the much bigger issues the Mayor should be addressing: hostile roads and junctions, lorries, and making sure cyclists of all ages have good cycle training, to give them the confidence not to hug the kerb and try riding up the inside of lorries. These issues are far more important than creating headlines about bendy-buses and allowing cyclists to turn left on red lights.
“The Government is about to consult on its Road Safety Strategy for the next ten years, and we need to work together on things like 20mph speed limits, not be divided by half-baked off-the-cuff headlines.”