Safer roads for cycling across London

MQT on 2012-03-14
Session date: 
March 14, 2012
Question By: 
Jenny Jones
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Is it right for you to give the impression that cycling has grown safer in the last four years in London by quoting the number killed and seriously injured on Transport for London controlled roads, thus excluding the two thirds of the casualties who are on borough roads?


Answer for Safer roads for cycling across London

Answer for Safer roads for cycling across London

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Thank you very much, Jenny. You have asked about whether cycling is getting safer generally on the whole of London road network rather than just on the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN), and I can confirm today, because we have now got all the figures on that since on all roads - this is all roads, this is the point I was going to make earlier on to Val [Valerie Shawcross AM] - the rates of cyclist KSIs since 2008 has fallen by 6% and that of course is slightly less than the figures for the TLRN, whereas you know the figure is 7%. I think that is good. Obviously we want to make more progress. I am not going to claim that these figures are as good as I want them. It is still true that in central Paris, the figures are lower. I think that is disappointing. We do much better than New York, but we need to make our streets safer for cycling and we are going to be bringing forward a series of measures over the next four years, including investment in our roads, interventions at places like Tower Hill and of course at Bow Roundabout will make a serious difference for cyclists.

Jenny Jones (AM): My argument with you has been you are very selective about the figures that you quote, so when you say cycling is safer, you pick out certain figures which may support your statement, but actually, if you look at all the casualties on London's roads, that has actually gone up.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): No, it is not true, actually, and I

Jenny Jones (AM): No, I am sorry, these are your figures, Mr Mayor.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): No, can I just

Jenny Jones (AM): These are your figures.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): No, they are not, actually. Can I

Jenny Jones (AM): They are TfL figures.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Perhaps I can just clarify.

Jenny Jones (AM): You have told us you are TfL and so these are your figures.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): No.

Jenny Jones (AM): They say that on all roads in London, killed, seriously injured and slight casualties have gone up.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Can I possibly explain where you have gone wrong?

Jenny Jones (AM): No, Mr Mayor, you cannot explain

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I can. I can, because we have been over

Jenny Jones (AM): because I have not. You are not being honest with us and you have been consistently

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I am sorry, that is a very serious accusation, actually.

Jenny Jones (AM): You did call TfL figures earlier you called them 'cobblers', which I think is quite offensive to TfL, and I am sure they would be

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): No, I did not. Can I help you, Jenny?

Jenny Jones (AM): It is on the record, Mr Mayor. You cannot deny it. It has actually been filmed.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Can I give you the facts because I think you have been under a misapprehension, and I think it is an arithmetical problem that is easily resolved. What you have been doing is dividing

Jenny Jones (AM): It is well-known that women cannot add up, I know. I see where you are coming from, but actually, these figures are your figures. All right, let me move on.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Can I possibly help you?

Jenny Jones (AM): Do you think

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I do not want to be

Jenny Jones (AM): Do you think there would be fewer casualties if you had funded all sorts of road safety measures that you have cut, but you actually cut the road safety budget by half in London. It was £30 million when you came into office. It is now £10 million. You have decreased it actually by two-thirds, but halved it over that time period. Do you think there might be fewer casualties if you had kept that road safety budget at £30 million?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I do not want to be in any way deprecating of your work to improve cycle safety.

Jenny Jones (AM): That is progress. I am glad.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Can I just give you where TfL think you have gone wrong?

Jenny Jones (AM): Could you answer my question, please, because it is crucial to me that you

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): TfL's experts think that what you have done is you have divided

Jenny Jones (AM): How about in three years I came to you, I had done a report through the Assembly, through the Transport Committee on 20 miles an hour.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I understand.

Jenny Jones (AM): All campaigners say that the biggest difference you can make to cycling and pedestrian casualties, and I support what Val was saying earlier, is if you made 20 miles an hour the default for roads where people live and work and have leisure.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Sure, OK.

Jenny Jones (AM): I brought you that report. There were eight boroughs that wanted to go 20 miles an hour and you refused to fund them. You refused. In your office, you refused to fund them, and they were boroughs from all political persuasions. You refused to fund them for 20 miles an hour. That would have made a difference to road safety in London.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Obviously I am in favour of 20 mile an hour zones where they are supported by local people and where the councils are in favour of them and where there is strong

Jenny Jones (AM): You say that, but you did not

Jennette Arnold (Chair): No, Assembly Member Jones, he must answer.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Can I just, because I do think it important that we try and clear up this business about the cycle casualties overall in London, because with great respect to you, Jenny, and you have campaigned on this a lot, you have repeatedly - in this place and elsewhere - given the impression that cycling is becoming more dangerous everywhere.

Jenny Jones (AM): No, it is not true.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): You have not said that?

Jenny Jones (AM): I have always used

Jennette Arnold (Chair): Can you just answer the questions as you receive them, please?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Actually, what I am told you have been doing - and we can go back over this and if I have got this wrong, then I will be only too happy to apologise

Jenny Jones (AM): I have noted that, Chair.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): is you have been dividing the number of cycle trips per day by the number of casualties per year and obviously what you need to do is divide the number of casualties, cycle trips per year, in order to get the true ratio. Actually, if you look at that figure, you will see that the number of casualties per cycle trip overall in London has been coming down in spite of the very considerable increase in cycling, not just on the TLRN, but also on the borough roads as well, and that was the thing that you and I argued about a lot, were we being complacent about the non-TfL roads? We are not being complacent about those. We have looked into all the data and we have found that there is an increase in safety in the sense there is a reduction in casualties and KSIs on those roads as well. I want to repeat, Jenny, this is not as good as I would like it to be. I would like there to be no casualties at all. I would like there to be no deaths, but what you cannot say is that cycling has got more dangerous, and that was what I thought you were saying.

Jenny Jones (AM): I will put out a press release afterwards and you can be very clear what I am saying. Look, you have endlessly cut money for the London Cycling Network, for road safety. I have been to every borough in London, talked to local cyclists and pedestrians and they feel conditions are worse - not everywhere, but by and large - because there is all sorts of schemes where had the money been there, it would be safer for cyclists. You have cut that money. You have

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Actually, if you look at the money we have spent, it has been very, very considerable. For instance, from the period 2005 to 2008, £93 million was spent on cycling safety of one kind or another. We have doubled that, more than doubled that, to £204 million so far.

Jenny Jones (AM): You are just plucking figures out of the air.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I am giving you the figures. I am giving you the figures. I am giving you the figures, Jenny, and

Jenny Jones (AM): You know, you have cut the road safety budget from £30 million, which Ken Livingstone put in his budget and spent, down to £10 million last year. How is that increasing the money?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I am giving you the figures for what we have done to promote cycling, to improve it and to make it safer, and that does not even include the cycle hire scheme and everything else. It is £204 million. That is a lot of money to spend on making our roads safer. I am determined to spend as much as we possibly can, but people will appreciate that in tough times, we found the money by saving elsewhere. To double what Ken Livingstone spent in his last four years, and we are going to go forward with a programme to make our roads safer, and what I think people need to answer is how on earth would they do that? How would they match that?

Jenny Jones (AM): No, that is enough, Mr Mayor. I am not interested in Labour. Can he please stop, because he is now talking about the elections? Thank you.