The Mayor’s Vision for Cycling

Could one of the biggest barriers to the implementation of the Mayor’s Vision for Cycling be… the Mayor himself?

I ask, because of an extraordinary discussion at the Transport for London Board Meeting on the 5th February, kindly uploaded to Youtube by Tom Kearney.

Here’s what Boris had to say during this discussion of cycling in the capital. (If you wish to listen for yourself, this passage starts at around 7min30).

What we did, for instance, between the Bow roundabout and Stratford – we’ve taken huge amounts of road, because, basically, there isn’t much traffic there. But, on the Embankment, for instance, it might be that some of those lavish-looking drawings just produce too much congestion.

…. I think one of the reasons you’ve got to go for segregation is partly demonstrative. You’ve got to show to potentially timid, new cyclists that a lot of work is being done to try to help them. You’ve got to show the world that cycling is stuff that is going on in a big way in London. But for my money (actually it’s all of our money) the best investment you can make, I think, is just in designating large sections of the road network… as places where you are going to find loads of cyclists. That was the philosophy behind the Cycle Superhighways. I still think it’s the right way to go. I still think, broadly speaking, an integrationist approach is the right way to go. What you want to create is a culture amongst all road users of all classes that cycling is going to take place, in a big way, on this road. And you’re not going to have segregation everywhere… It costs too much, and in my view, speaking as a cyclist, once you get beyond a certain level of proficiency, it is totally pointless. Totally pointless.

For instance, on the stretch between Stratford and Bow, you’ve got this beautiful oxbow lake kind of thing that goes off behind the bus stop – floating bus stops – at colossal expense. I forgot to use it the other day. Y’know, because I was just bombing down the road. And lots of cyclists will take that attitude.

There is so much wrong with this it provokes the question at the start of this post. On the basis of what Boris is saying here it appears that Andrew Gilligan – the Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner – will have to fight against the attitudes of the Mayor himself to implement the policies in the Mayor’s Vision.

Boris explicitly states here that, in his eyes, the purpose of segregation is simply demonstrative. To ‘show’ people that something is being done - even if he doesn’t agree with the policy.

Boris still thinks that the old form of the Superhighways – without any separation at all, and just a blue stripe on the road, ‘is the right way to go’.

Boris thinks that ‘creating a culture’ amongst road users that cycling is ‘going to take place’ on this road is the way forward – an ‘integrationist’ approach.

Boris thinks that segregation is ‘totally pointless’ as an intervention, ‘once you get beyond a certain level of proficiency’.

That is – Boris is apparently only thinking about ‘cyclists’ like himself; not about what the vast majority of Londoners might want. He is not listening to what campaigners are demanding. He is denigrating the very policies that will be required to increase cycling levels in London in any significant way.

These comments are so clueless I had to double-check the date – but yes, they were uttered just a few weeks ago. Shocking.

About these ads
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

65 Responses to The Mayor’s Vision for Cycling

  1. David Bates says:

    “Boris thinks that segregation is ‘totally pointless’ as an intervention, ‘once you get beyond a certain level of proficiency’.
    That is – Boris is apparently only thinking about ‘cyclists’ like himself”

    Unfortunately this is hardly a surprise and is typical of that whole Tory / Bullingdon Club thing – they simply can’t think outside of the mindset of people like themselves. Anyone who doesn’t fit in with them is simply wrong or somehow inadequate and in need of the right sort of encouragement to join them. In this case a tiny little bit of “unnecessary” separation, some blue paint and Boris to say “now come on chaps” as he leads by example. In this case the example of just bombing down the road regardless!

  2. paulc says:

    Here’s an perfect example of rubbish infrastructure where the cycle lane disappears off road at a sharp angle which would force you to brake hard to make the turn off just when you don’t want it to and there’s a stupid lorry parked in it as well… it doesn’t help that the merge back into the road is not nice either…

  3. paulc says:

    PS. Boris, just start taking lanes out of the roads in order to give proper space that is exclusively for cycles like the Dutch did…

    Those who want to “run with the bulls” can still do it if they want to, but there’s exclusive space for the rest of us bimblers that doesn’t involve us stopping/ starting and veering all over the show…

  4. As a long term cycle commuter in London – nearly 20 years now – my experience is that safety in numbers is not just a fallacy but that in reality increasing numbers of cyclists, without separate infrastructure, has had a negative effect on safety.

    Motorists have become increasingly antagonistic and more likely to try to squeeze past where there is insufficient space and I suspect it’s because they now perceive that they’re going to be ‘held up’ by lots of cyclists not just the odd one. The problem has never been that motorists ‘don’t expect to see cyclists’, it’s that they don’t want to be held up by them.

  5. Christine Jones says:

    We are expecting a man with a mental age of eight to provide a network that could be used by actual eight year olds. Nuff said.

    • dave lambert says:

      I suspect most 8 year olds would see the problem and the solution.

      Boris is not a moron or a buffoon as he’s portrayed, he’s a very clever politician. He committed to Dutch infrastructure just before the last election because his campaign team told him the polls were very close and a few thousand cyclists could sway it. He’s now decided he couldn’t give a rat’s ass about dead cyclists because politically he doesn’t need us any more.

      • David Bates says:

        “Boris is not a moron or a buffoon as he’s portrayed, he’s a very clever politician…..He’s now decided he couldn’t give a rat’s ass about dead cyclists because politically he doesn’t need us any more.”
        Unfortunately I think you’ve hit the nail on the head!

  6. Dan Bassford says:

    People who cycle NOW in the environment we currently have in London will always do so. We do not need to cater specifically for them to encourage cycling. We do need to cater for everyone else though – the 8-80 years old – because they do not want to cycle in the environment we’ve created in London now. If these people are catered for properly the knock-on effect is improved safety for current riders.

    If this is truly how he feels (and he isn’t alone), what are his plans to get current non-cyclists – the 8-80 years old – to that “certain level of proficiency” required to cycle in the environment he’s in charge of?

  7. Bez says:

    I’m struggling to find a response that you won’t be forced to delete when you come to read it.

  8. Angus H says:

    More nonsense from Boris, and I say that as someone who’ll ride almost any road in London without segregation. Even as an experienced rider, there’s absolutely no way I’d take my kids in a Bakfiets on most of London’s unsegregated main roads, and all the training in the world isn’t going to change that. If there’s an “A” road, no infra, and no reasonably direct alternative route, we’ll take the bus instead. End of story.

    He acknowledges a level of experience that’s necessary (although neglects to mention a certain degree of courage and determination, both of which he clearly possesses more of than the average person), but how are people supposed to acquire that level of experience if they’re not able to use their bikes for day-to-day trips? Who’s going to spend months building up their confidence to a level where they can cycle to work, when the alternative is simply to take the bus?

    Integration requires negotiation, and that can only happen when the playing field is leveled somewhat between those inside vehicles and those not – by limiting traffic speed, volume and type, something which is plainly not going to happen somewhere like Embankment. Otherwise it’s the equivalent of the United States “negotiating” with some Pacific Islander nation.. the imbalance of power is too great for a fair outcome to be possible.

    • fonant says:

      The other thing you need, along with experience and courage and determination, is a reasonable amount of good luck. No amount of experience or courage or determination can stop a tipper lorry crushing you to death, or a driver on their mobile phone crashing into you at speed, if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s the fact that experienced cyclists are still being killed, when they’re not doing anything wrong, that is most worrying.

      The reason cyclists are required to use the carriageway is purely historical: carriages and horses were banned from using the footway by the Highways Act in 1835, and when bicycles were invented they were deemed to be carriages in the eyes of the law in 1888, a time when the only other road traffic was horse-drawn. When cars came along no-one considered keeping them away from cyclists (well, in fact the Ministry of Transport did consider it, but cyclist groups complained that their rights were being eroded). The Dutch have the correct attitude: there are three broad groups of road users, needing their own infrastructure:

      1. Motor vehicles.
      2. Pedestrians on foot.
      3. People on bicycles, mobility scooters, and other light low-powered vehicles.

      We need a carriageway, a footway, and a cycleway on all our busy roads.

      • Angus H says:

        That’s true. It’s a shame in some ways that the debate has become characterised entirely in terms of cycling rather than very light vehicles in general. Not so much 20’s Plenty, rather 500W is plenty. Not that the general public think in such terms, but it’s got to be antisocial to use a 100KW powerplant (= typical modern 4-cylinder engine) to move yourself around the city, in any situation where something 1/200th as powerful will adequately do the job. In what other walk of life do people routinely use a tool 200 times more powerful than is necessary? Quite literally a case of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. I really couldn’t care less if people prefer bikes, trikes, mobility scooters, e-scooters, segways, rollerblades etc., I’d just rather they didn’t carry around so much completely unnecessary kinetic energy with them.

        • fonant says:

          Quite agree. I expect sometime in the future, perhaps a few decades from now, we’ll look back in amazement that people chose to take a tonne-and-a-bit of vehicle with them on their local trips. At that point cycling will be very popular, because a human being on a bicycle is one of the most efficient moving creatures there is, more efficient than a shark!

  9. James says:

    The silver lining here is the clarity we now have on his attitude; all ambiguity has been removed.

    If Johnson decides he will stand for re-election in 2016, then those other candidates whose campaigns promote the creation of a genuinely safe cycling environment in London will find their ammunition stocks nicely replenished.

  10. Nico (@NicoVel0) says:

    Boris demonstrates once more that he is completely incapable of experiencing even an ounce of empathy. I note one of the AM is in a wheel chair. In the NL they would have the option of using a hand bicycle or an electric scooter to move around their city. In LDN they have to use taxis or, at a push, buses.
    Boris is 50 now, I wonder if he will still be bombing down the road in 10, 15 years. Hopefully by then we will have infrastructure for him to cycle on. Since only things that profit him personally get done sometimes I wish he was incapacitated just enough for him to want separated cycle lanes to feel safe.

  11. Paul says:

    “shocking” , not to mention cowardly, says it all

  12. platinum says:

    Time we took road safety decisions away from politicians. If I’ve got cancer, I go to a doctor for a treatment plan, not the mayor.

    • Kie says:

      In London, that would be TFL, unfortunately they’re worse than Boris, they have a history of actively ignoring cyclists needs during planning, to the point where the police/CPS where actually looking at charging them with corporate manslaughter (Kings Cross, Deep Lee).

  13. Statistically speaking, I’m an anomaly. I’m reasonably confident cycling amongst traffic on some of London’s busiest roads. I’m not a fit 30-40yr old male on a road bike. But still, I cycle because I enjoy it and most of the time I can cope with the roads the way they are. The shockingly low modal share in London demonstrates that the vast majority of the population don’t feel the same way.

    But still, what happens in a couple of years when I want to cycle with children? Would I feel as confident navigating the IMAX roundabout or Parliament Square with a baby in a child seat on my bike? Or would I leave the bike at home and get on the bus? In the Netherlands I wouldn’t have to make that choice, but here I suspect a large number of people would consider me irresponsible for wanting to cycle with a young child on board.

    That’s why you don’t design facilities for the already existing, confident, competent user. Because people’s needs change. Boris clearly can’t see past the status quo, or understand that people who don’t feel the same as him aren’t wrong, they’re just different.

  14. fonant says:

    Quite appalling attitude. I thought that (a) Boris understood the whole “going Dutch” concept, even if he didn’t fully support it, and (b) Boris was supposed to be Mayor, representing the population of London. He seems to be representing cycle couriers more than ordinary people!

    If you live in London, please consider voting for Christian Wolmar (http://www.wolmarforlondon.co.uk/) – someone who really does understand the critical importance of good transport planning for the health of a large city.

  15. Chris R says:

    I think we can say there’ll be no significant improvements to cycling in London until Boris leaves City Hall. Let’s forget any illusions we had.

    Same guy that signed up to LCC’s ‘Love London Go Dutch’ campaign. If he was from the Franklin school I vehicular cycling, shouldn’t we have been told? http://road.cc/content/news/57276-boris-johnson-pledges-support-lccs-three-key-love-london-go-dutch-demands-video

  16. Boris showed himself to be immensely variable in his comments during the series of deaths late last year, so in some ways this isn’t much of a surprise. His language on segregation has wavered back and forth, but only in his official moments has it truly been showing clarity. I think Boris genuinely doesn’t expect his comments in a board meeting to be taken for much in public, but it is clear that he isn’t going to create much culture change in TfL or the councils when he vacillates like this instead of focussing on the values he has previously held up.

    I don’t think it’s worth writing it all off at this stage, there are still Cycle Design Standards, revised Superhighways and awarded Mini-Hollands to consider. All of which are due in February unless they’ve slipped since Gilligan spoke about them to the London Assembly Transport Committee in December 2013. So, that should let us know how much weight to place in Boris’s words this time. I think it’s always quite hard to tell. One moment he says he’s banning cyclists from listening to music the next his advisor says he does it himself.

    http://www.london.gov.uk/moderngov/documents/b9815/Minutes%20-%20Appendix%201%20-%20Transcript%20Tuesday%2010-Dec-2013%2010.00%20Transport%20Committee.pdf?T=9

    • David Bates says:

      “it is clear that he isn’t going to create much culture change in TfL or the councils when he vacillates like this instead of focusing on the values he has previously held up.”
      Unfortunately I’m not quite sure what values Boris Johnson has other than valuing himself and his career. I’m sure he likes riding around on his bike as well – but frankly that’s about it. He’s a bit like David Cameron in this regard, always ready for what he thinks is a good soundbite – and when caught out on something coming out with something which will distract attention from the core issues. A great example is to get people talking about headphone wearing cyclists rather than the dangers at points on his Superhighways after a series of deaths. Blame the victim with irrelevant rubbish. And don’t forget his totally bogus “quoting” of research which showed that cyclists were responsible for most of the accidents involving them. Difficult to quote as such research doesn’t exist – but how long did it take him to acknowledge that he was spouting rubbish? Far too long.
      For a demonstration of Boris Johnson’s values all you need to do is look at the series of affairs he’s had. I’m not so bothered about his personal life as what it says about his level of integrity – zero!

    • What’s interesting though, is that Gilligan is unlikely to be best pleased if none of this pans out and Boris leaves in 2016 with things relatively unchanged. I wager that AG has some kind of political aspirations, and it won’t reflect too well on him if he’s put his name (and a large part of his effort) into a “Vision” that either fails to materialise or is widely criticised. He knows the cycling lobby quite well by now too, so he must be aware of the criticism he’d receive if it all goes wrong.

  17. NW says:

    Bombing down the road past a bus stop makes Mr. Johnson a prime candidate for London’s next cycle victim.

  18. Pingback: Extra, Extra | Londonist

  19. I hardly know where to start, but the one thing I will say is, has Boris ever cycled – or even driven – from Bow to Stratford??!
    “between the Bow roundabout and Stratford – we’ve taken huge amounts of road, because, basically, there isn’t much traffic there. ”
    Erm…

  20. TobinH says:

    I live in Vancouver, not London, but here we have lots of segregated facilities and we have some designated ‘bike routes’ that are basically just roads with priority given to cyclists and various traffic calming measures implemented. My experience has been very negative with segregation – they are difficult to navigate with any speed and particularly dangerous at intersections.

    The city’s cyclist population is split on their effectiveness, with many purposely choosing routes that avoid them. The bike routes, however, are well used by cyclists of all ability levels and very pleasant. Segregation should not be the default answer. At some point the opinions of folks who actually do ride their bikes should count for something.

    • fonant says:

      I’m afraid quite the opposite is true. The problems we have are precisely because the opinions of the small minority of existing cyclists (generally young, fit males) are taken into account, and never the opinions of the vast majority of ordinary people who would like to ride bicycles for transport. If you ask the majority, the suppressed population of would-be-cyclists, they’ll want to ride away from motor vehicles every time.

      Even if you’ve seen lots of really bad cycle infrastructure this doesn’t mean that all bicycle infrastructure is bad. Just look at the Netherlands, and see how riding a bicycle is an ordinary every-day activity as natural as walking or driving, and done by people aged 8 to 80 without any thought at all.

      I write as a long-term keen touring and commuter cyclist, who now has a family with eight-year old twins. While I’m quite “happy” mixing it with motor traffic on my own, there’s no way I can take my family with me. However on motor-traffic free cycleways my family love riding tens of miles for pleasure, for shopping, or to visit people. I know many people who like cycling, but won’t ever consider riding amongst potentially-lethal motor vehicles.

    • Tim says:

      Hi Tobin, I don’t think any regular readers of this blog will generally be arguing for one hundred percent physical separation from motor vehicles on every road. But on some (conveniently direct) routes the motor traffic will always be fast and dense – you can’t calm traffic everywhere. Plus I think you’ll find quite a few people on here ride bikes.

      Where you do have segregated facilities are they wide, direct, well surfaced and continuous (ie not giving way at every junction). Do they look like the ones in this video?

      http://www.streetfilms.org/groningen-the-worlds-cycling-city/

      Because if not, you’re using the old “my bag has a hole in it, so bags are rubbish and should be avoided” argument. And I have to say I haven’t heard Vancouver mentioned in the same breath as Groningen or Copenhagen when it comes to state-of-the-art cycle facilities.

      • TobinH says:

        Well no, the facilities I’ve seen give way at every intersection and that’s part of the problem. There are two visions of segregation: the utopian fantasy and the political reality. These things work in the Netherlands because of the entirety of their approach, the infrastructure they have is just one part of that. Unless the political vision and will exists to create a truly separate, convenient network the partial solutions will always be riddled with compromise.

        Here, campaigners are eager for this sort of infra, because they see some Dutch cyclists on YouTube and go all starry-eyed. What we end up with is a patchy network of poorly maintained (especially in the winter), bizarre, two-way separated tracks that leaves you most vulnerable in the times of greatest need – intersections. So regular commuters are slowed down and put at greater risk, and new cyclists encounter a whole new set of problems – to say nothing of the fact that they have to travel on the roads anyway to get to this infra.

        If you think you can avoid this in London, that’s fantastic and I wish you the best. But it takes a massive amount of money and political will (I know I keep repeating that, but it is the single most important factor – will) to create a segregated network that is actually safe and actually convenient. Take care to avoid the trap of spending massive amounts of money that could go to real improvements, like traffic calming measures on specially marked routes and widened roads; on separated infra that amounts to little more than a photo op.

        • Nobody (at least nobody in London) is campaigning for rubbish. The campaigning here is for high standards; for cycle infrastructure that anyone would want to use, be they a hardened commuter or a young child.

          Defeatism doesn’t really get us anywhere.

          • TobinH says:

            Well, I would argue there’s a difference between defeatism and realism.

            Some campaigns that I’m familiar with, in London and elsewhere, focus entirely on separated infra in the hopes of getting large numbers of ‘timid’, potential cyclists out on the road. This is a great idea, very attractive, but no one seems to have any real information on whether these people actually exist. The historical record in many places seems to suggest that people will use whatever mode of transportation is most convenient, rather than what is seen as safe. The history of infra development in the Netherlands seems to suggest that when cars are made sufficiently inconvenient, people will turn to bikes regardless of the state of the infra…even going so far as to ignore that which does not meet their needs preferring more direct routes using regular roads.

            And yet, in favour of these hypothetical potentials, the opinions and needs of experienced, current cyclists is disregarded as irrelevant – see the post in this very thread: “People who cycle NOW in the environment we currently have in London will always do so. We do not need to cater specifically for them to encourage cycling.” I suggest that there are real, actual improvements that can be made with nothing but the widely derided ‘painted lines’, traffic calming, and relatively minor changes made to traffic laws. These things do not require the massive costs that tend to erode the quality of the infra, but benefit from the input of those “people who cycle NOW.”

            • Some campaigns that I’m familiar with, in London and elsewhere, focus entirely on separated infra in the hopes of getting large numbers of ‘timid’, potential cyclists out on the road

              That suggests to me you’re not familiar with London at all. The focus in London is on separation from motor traffic, which can be achieved through a variety of methods. On the vast majority of streets in London it will mean the removal of through-traffic. These are cheap, easy interventions (albeit perhaps not politically) to create attractive environments for cycling. Take a look at LCC’s campaigning on the Central London Grid, for instance.

              Of course on roads that carry significant volumes of motor traffic, or on streets where motor traffic cannot be displaced or removed, physical separation will be necessary. The LCC cut-off point is 2000 PCUs per day, similar to Dutch guidance. Again I suggest you take a look at LCC policy here, particularly Motions 3 and 5.

              • TobinH says:

                On the LCC website, if you took out the words ‘protected’, ‘segregated’ and ‘separated’, you could hardly read a single paragraph. I’m exaggerating, but I think the focus is pretty clear.

                I’m not claiming particular familiarity with the London scene. I simply offer a bit of a caution, perhaps you guys will get it right where others haven’t.

              • I might suggest that if you are exaggerating, your initial point about the LCC ‘focusing entirely’ on separation is, err, wrong!

              • Paul says:

                Your parenthetical not politically easy to remove through traffic is a bit of an understatement. Agreed that it is probably the best way to get good cycle routes.

            • Dan Bassford says:

              I do not see the opinions and needs of current cyclists as irrelevant, hence the use of the word ‘specifically’. I will always ride in London. Any positive or negative changes to the physical environment will not make me ride more or less. I do not need encouragement. There are many, many people who do though. There are people I work with who don’t ride “because I don’t want to be squished by a bus”. To change this attitude (and thus encourage cycling) there needs to be physical changes to the environment – segregation.

              I would certainly prefer high quality, segregated cycleways. I’d like a huge reduction in through traffic, and traffic in general. Of course these would bring a benefit to current riders, as would the almost-free changes in legislation you mention (that I also support). Painted lines (no matter how well implemented) do not give the same feeling as even light segregation. There’s a bus lane (painted line) on Proctor Street in central London that is currently coned off so construction vehicles can park in it. Even a few cones provide a noticeable feeling of increased safety from moving traffic, even to me, that simply doesn’t happen with paint.

              Current cyclists can and do have input into the debate – I’ve never read a cycling blog by someone who doesn’t currently ride!

        • Dan Bassford says:

          One of the major problems (in the UK at least) is that money gets spent on rubbish that people can’t use (or is worse than the road at least). This creates a conflict on the roads between some drivers – “get off the road – there’s a cycle lane”, pedestrians – “don’t ride on the pavement – use the road”, and cyclists who don’t want the crap that’s been ‘built’ anyway. Very few people actively go out to annoy or endanger themselves or other people, but with cycling there quite often isn’t the choice.

          I’m very much in the ‘if it isn’t of the absolutely best possible quality don’t bother’ camp. No more paint, no more ‘shared paths’ – crap infrastructure makes things worse for everyone. I know others don’t agree, and see any slight consideration of cycling as a ‘foot in the door’, but we’re all after the same eventual high-quality infrastructure that everyone 8-80 can use.

          • paulc says:

            they keep going for the cheap option, painted lines on the road that go into an ALS at jucntions with no consideration how on earth you are going to get across into the right hand side of the ASL to turn right…

            and shared-use paths which have you stopping at every sidestreet to cross it without priority over the sidestreet

            It was all done in a rush on the cheap… voila, instant infrastructure that’s not fit for purpose, puts into clashes with vehicles and also pedestrians…

            and now, every time it comes to cycling infrastructure, there’s endles months of expensive consultations which come up with grand ideas that look fine on paper, but when it gets to be installed (spades in the ground phase) you find someone’s taken a pen to whole reams of cycling measures and wiped them out with no explanation at all as to why what is delivered doesn’t match what was promised.

  21. Tim says:

    Good grief. How depressing, especially after the “vision for cycling” and all. How’s he going to get Gilligan to explain all this away? Get him out ASAP.

    I’ve cycled on city roads for years, and at 8am on a Sunday morning on quiet streets, certainly I might sail along the road in a straight line without a care in the world. It means nothing, because when the buses and the traffic appear, and I’m carting the kids around, you’d better believe we’re going behind the bus-stop every time! And not because I’m a “new” cyclist who needs my hand holding.

    Cycling for years and I still get cut up by fast moving traffic on the commute every day As we all know Boris was almost wiped out by a lorry dragging a car himself, although he’s obviously too stupid to realise how close he came.
    (the video again, in case anyone hasn’t seen it: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/may/23/boris-cycling )

  22. Paul C (2) says:

    Clearly Boris is not in tune with the views of cycling campaigners nor possibly those who do or might wish to cycle in London.
    His comments about there being no traffic on the A11 into Stratford is nuts. I sat in a bus in a traffic jam at off peak times because of the highway adjustments to try to make Bow Roundabout safe. Goodness knows how bad things are at peak times. Ironically I saw no cyclists using the new infrastructure but I did see one on the pavement, one on the main road and one riding across the Bow flyover looking nervously to see how he could rejoin the road once down the ramp. There was also a broken down car parked entirely in the westbound cycle lane thus rendering it useless. I was left wondering why anyone had bothered with the cycling infrastructure given it was not being used, even by those on 2 wheels who should surely benefit from it.
    Before I am roundly criticised I support improved cycling infrastructure but I really wonder if London’s approach is getting us anywhere. I cycled regularly for many years, including commuting into the centre, before there was any sort of cycling infrastructure and somehow survived. However I would not wish to cycle these days as I believe conditions have worsened considerably – partly because there is more antagonism towards cyclists (possibly for the reasons in an earlier post). I cannot see what part of the Mayor’s initiatives would get me to a position of wishing to cycle again.

  23. St Ratford of Bow says:

    I cycle the segregated cycle lane from Bow to Stratford and vice-versa every day.

    Boris is probably right in one respect – many experienced cyclists probably will get and have been frustrated by the narrowness and slowness of the lane. I note that nearly all experienced cyclists still dice with more death than before, by doing a transition from the cycle lane to the Bow Flyover (or vice-versa eastbound, really scary) instead of taking the roundabout. The new scheme has made it even more dangerous to take the logical route into and out of town.

    I’m not sure who the segregated lane is built for, as very few children need to cycle from Stratford to Bow and I would imagine it’s not on the top of anybody’s leisure list. I hate passing motorists as much as anyone, but never felt as unsafe as when cycling in a cooped up space with other cyclists who may or may not be able to handle their bikes. I mean you the guy who cycled into my back wheel the other day.

    I think LCC and cycling groups should be putting some of our energies into campaigning about the elephant in the room – appalling driving and pitiful fines for causing death, serious or slight injury to pedestrians and cyclists.

  24. rdrf says:

    I have a different take on this episode:
    Sir Peter Hendy (if it is he) seems to think that cyclists can have points on their driving licences (actually, some of us don’t have them) for breaking the law when cycling, such as by cycling through a red traffic signal. This old saw comes up from time to time – shouldn’t somebody correct him (If it is him)?

    BTW, I note from January Mayor’s Question Time this response from the Mayor:
    Berlin road laws
    Question No: 2013/4692
    Andrew Boff
    In Berlin, any fine issued to a cyclist over €45 also results in penalty points of the driving licence of said cyclist. Do you think that such a scheme could help ensure that all road users obey the rules of the road and help dispel some of the tension between cyclists and other road users?
    Written response from the Mayor
    No.

    There is also an uncritical support for the effects of Operation Safeway from the participants, despite a lack of any published evidence on it’s effects.

    On a minor point: I disagree with Paul C that motorists seem to be more antagonistic to cyclists now compared to say, 15 years ago.

    • Jitensha Oni says:

      They are though. 1980-2000 number of incidents of me being shouted at, had objects thrown at = 0. 2000-present : 18 (most in past 5 years). It’s the main reason I’ve joined these discussions.

  25. Ross Sanderson says:

    Not sure it’s the best strategy to attack the man who is leading by far the biggest investment in cycling infrastructure in the UK…

    • The implication of this is that Boris should be immune from criticism, even when he comes out with rubbish. I’m not sure I buy that, especially when it is criticism and protest that has brought about the prospect of this investment.

    • Dan Bassford says:

      So we should do what? Do nothing – because that’s worked in the past… Support his views that everything’s fine as it is and that increased congestion for motor traffic is too high a price to pay for safe cycling? Or should we continue to try to ensure OUR money (because that’s what it is) is only spent on schemes that will benefit cycling?

  26. Fred says:

    I agree this is shocking, doesn’t he realise the 98% of people who don’t cycle are the key to making London a cycling city. His own opinions seem to show his policies are a smoke screen for ‘more of the same’.

  27. chris says:

    Johnson only signed up to LondonersOnBikes election pledge of embracing Dutch infrastructure design principles to pay lip service.

    He has only spouted his usual load of old bollocks to constantly appease campaigners/protesters when there has been cyclists killed.

    He will only spout waffle despite continually demonstrating through his words and actions that he is going to do nothing about a comprehensive sustainable transport that reduces congestion, pollution and the majority of journeys made by cars that are under 5km.

    With his complete and utterly incompetent mishandling of the cycle hire sponsorship deal, I can foresee the scheme will be terminated in 2 years.

    Nothing will be done about the promise to deal with dangerous junctions in London.

    TfL will roll out a pilot roundabout that uses Dutch principles (that they have been testing in Berkshire, IMMSMC), but because it will be in isolation, it will be deemed a failure and be removed, or not added to at all.

    Cycling in London will have lost an opportunity and so TfL will continue to pursue maintaining traffic flow and planning for an increase in traffic over the coming years.

  28. rdrf says:

    I disagree with Jitensha Oni, my personal experience is quite different and I can quote evidence to contradict him, but that really is a minor point.

    The point i raised, which nobody has commented on, is the view expressed by the Traffic Commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy, as well as the uncritical view taken about Operation Safeway.

  29. Karl says:

    Let’s face it, nothing is changing. It will be quicker to learn Dutch.

  30. Bob Shanteau says:

    When Mayor Boris talks about an “integrationist approach,” he is talking about riding at the edge of the road, as he was doing in this CCTV video when he was almost involved in a collision when a the door of a passing lorry opened and caught a parked car: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/may/23/boris-cycling

    True integrated cycling is using a full lane, which John Franklin calls the “primary position”. What needs to happen is a change in how people view cyclists using full lanes. If people acknowledged that cyclists using a full lane was normal and reasonable, every road (other than motorways) would be accessible to everyone.

    • Edward says:

      Nice idea but you do realise people have been saying that for the last 40 years?

    • “If people acknowledged that cyclists using a full lane was normal and reasonable, every road (other than motorways) would be accessible to everyone.”

      Accessible – if you (and everybody else, including people who’ve given up cycling) didn’t mind motorists legally travelling at up to 70mph approaching from behind, and you trusted every single one (including the kinds of undesirables you wouldn’t trust to open a door for you) to give you enough space. Even if only 1% of drivers were substandard, you would undoubtedly encounter several careless / dangerous drivers per journey in any part of the country where people outnumber farm animals.

      What would be better is to acknowledge that every statistically significant mode of transport (cars, buses, walking, cycling, etc) deserves its own strategic network; and these networks should have the least adverse impact on each other that is feasible. Translation – more motor vehicles should not make cycling worse, if cycling uses separated carriageway space or different routes. Likewise, “shared use” should be limited to places with limited pedestrian movement or desire lines.

    • Paul Gannon says:

      “If people acknowledged that cyclists using a full lane was normal and reasonable”.

      Sounds absolutely fantastic, but two things nag away at my desire to agree with you. First, while you bring about this wonderful state of ‘reasonableness’ on our roads, I think we need something more concrete (so to speak) – just in case you fail (as all overwhelming weight of experience and evidence shows you most certainly will).

      Second, without being rude, I sorry to say but on this issue I don’t really give a fig about what you think about what I should do. As an adult, and having seen across the Channel the potential for cycling to be gained from rejecting the ‘take the lane’ philosophy, I hereby inform you and those of like-mind, that I decline to allow you to use my body, made of frail flesh and brittle bone, as a means of slowing down motor vehicles. Your policy has been thoroughly rejected by non-cyclists and by three-fifths of actual cyclists (see the recent London Assembly report).

      We have taken the policy lane. If only stuck-in-the-mud-cycle-activist people acknowledged that dedicated space4cycling was normal and reasonable (as in much of Europe), we could develop a mass cycling culture to replace the micro-minority cycling culture that has dominated cycling for much too long in the UK.

  31. You are a charitable fellow, Mark:

    “Boris explicitly states here that, in his eyes, the purpose of segregation is simply demonstrative. To ‘show’ people that something is being done – even if he doesn’t agree with the policy.
    [.....]
    That is – Boris is apparently only thinking about ‘cyclists’ like himself; not about what the vast majority of Londoners might want. He is not listening to what campaigners are demanding. He is denigrating the very policies that will be required to increase cycling levels in London in any significant way.”

    A less chartable reading is that politicians often enact “demonstrative” measures as political gestures that hold off meaningful intervention and any political costs calculated to attach thereto.

    Since Boris says on record that this stuff is demonstrative, I think he might well leave us wondering what the demonstration is really intended to achieve. He says something like: it’s intended to encourage. Well if cyclists were encouraged, they’d cheer and vote for him. But failing that, ‘demonstrative’ measures have the effect of satisfying a much wider group who don’t cycle but may want ‘something to be done’.

    That he can say, ‘something is being done’ would appear to be one plausible understanding of the demonstrative purpose. If his judgment is that he cannot carry London with him to go Dutch properly (or if he is merely unclear on that foggy matter and doesn’t want to take this particular risk), then “demonstrative” measures is exactly what one would organise instead. I take it that this double-guessing-the-focus-group is the real subtext of A.Gilligan’s remarks about how fast things can go.

  32. Pingback: فضيحة محافظ لندن: المسارات نضحك فيها عليكم! | الجاريات

  33. WHILST ” StopKillingCyclists ” event on the 21st May will be a too far to attend item for MANY , there will be some reading this Website , who are in the area that COULD represent this Website , IF , a poster was created !

    Cyclists being victims of TRAFFIC Violence is at Epidemic Levels WORLDWIDE ! Time the motorists realised that THEY are the minority , when it comes to ACTION !

    DESIGN the MESSAGE that this SITE wants to send , then post it HERE and on :

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/stopkillingcyclists/1434268843490690/?notif_t=group_activity

    PLEASE also alert YOUR Media to the event and ALSO YOUR CONTRIBUTION ! It will reflect well on YOU , as well as ensuring the SUCCESS of that Event , as well as ANY that YOU choose to organise in the Future !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s