The Mayor says he doesn't want to 'dangerise' cycling
The Mayor says he doesn't want to 'dangerise' cycling

Mayor of London responds to CTC's call to tackle lorry danger

The Mayor has now responded to CTC's call to take action on lorry danger in the capital, making it clear that he shares our deep concerns about cyclists’ safety in London.

So far, 3,700 people have taken part in CTC's campaign to write to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, urging him to act to stop HGVs from killing cyclists and pedestrians in the capital.

Better design and regulation

Although the Mayor restates his commitment to investing in higher quality - often segregated - cycle facilities, the lessons from the Cycle Superhighways programme is that the quality of design at junctions, together with deficiencies in UK traffic regulations, mean that such facilities may not provide the level of safety which they do elsewhere in Europe. Many of the cyclists killed in November were killed on on very near Cycle Superhighways, including the notorious junction at Bow roundabout. 

Even the newly opened and fully segregated section of Cycle Superhighway 2 has considerable problems where left turning drivers conflict with cyclists hoping to move straight ahead, as the following video shows. Without clear rules that force drivers to give way to cyclists proceeding straight on, conflicts like this - and potentially even worse - will continue.

Tackling fears

We share the Mayor’s concerns that the media coverage of individual deaths may harm the cause of cycling. While cycle safety deserves serious attention, we agree that it is vital not to deter people from cycling by ‘dangerising’ it.

As the Mayor rightly says, there are millions and millions of successful cycle trips in London every year, providing enormous health, environmental and economic benefits. As CTC’s ‘Safety in numbers’ campaign argued, we need to promote more as well as safer cycling, rather than scaring people into car-dependent sedentary lifestyles.

That means tackling the actual and perceived fears which deter people from cycling. We need safer and fewer lorries, we need roads and junctions that are built for people not for motor vehicles, we need training and awareness campaigns for drivers and cyclists alike, and this must be backed up by stronger and better-enforced traffic laws. 

Pedestrians neglected

These solutions will improve safety not only for cyclists, but for other road users too, especially pedestrians. After all, both groups of road users have much in common and the level of risk is similar: you are about as unlikely to be killed in a mile of cycling as you are in a mile of walking.  However, as the Mayor says, the media has largely neglected the recent, tragic deaths amongst pedestrians on London’s streets.

Victim blaming

In his response to our campaign, the Mayor also says people should not automatically assume that the recent deaths of cyclists were caused by their own irresponsible or careless behaviour. It is regrettable that he hasn’t acknowledged that his own ‘finger-pointing’ remarks were also completely inappropriate. If anyone is minded to write to him again, you may like to seek his assurance that he will avoid similar victim-blaming comments in future.

Future campaigning

CTC continues to work both in London and throughout the UK to encourage more and safer cycling. Within the coming month we will be seeking to influence the review of the Mayor’s ‘Cycle Safety Action Plan’, while the Government will be producing its draft ‘Cycling Delivery Plan’ and a Green Paper on driver testing and training.

See our 'Action on Lorries' page for more information about how CTC is campaigning to reduce the danger presented by lorries.