The Times has picked up the story of Transport for London potentially facing corporate manslaughter charges over the death of Min Joo Lee at King’s Cross on October 3rd last year, reporting that
The stretch of road where Ms Lee was killed appears to breach TfL’s published standards for minimum safe width for roads used by both cyclists and motor vehicles…
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London who chairs TfL, was asked by the London Assembly last month whether the junction complied with the design standards. He replied that the template was a “best practice document intended to ensure that consistently high standards are applied to new schemes in order to reduce barriers to cycling”. He added that the junction’s layout had been implemented before the guidance was published.
The print edition of the article concludes with the sentence
The Mayor’s office said cycling safety was paramount.
‘Paramount’, of course, means ‘of the greatest importance’ – more important than anything else.
Time to revisit what Transport for London’s Nigel Hardy said to Min Joo Lee’s boyfriend at a public meeting at Camden Town Hall, shortly after her death –
On Monday night, Kenji listened patiently in the Town Hall chamber – a perfect picture of dignity in his blue suit with top shirt button done up – as council officials argued they were mostly meeting cycle safety targets in a presentation of endless graphs and pie charts. A TfL representative insisted that introducing a cycle lane at the junction would “cause considerable queues”, stressing that there was “limited time” to conduct a review of the proposed changes for the junction because of a “commitment” to make them in time for the Olympic Games. “We have taken the comments on board from day one – it is more about whether it is workable,” said Nigel Hardy, TfL’s head of capital development.
I wonder how this statement – which suggests that measures to improve the safety of cyclists are not ‘workable’ because they would ’cause considerable queues’ – squares with the assertion, made by the Mayor’s office, that cycling safety is ‘paramount’.
Do they know what the word means?