Safe cycling in London

MQT on 2012-05-23
Session date: 
May 23, 2012
Question By: 
Caroline Pidgeon
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


What actions have you taken to progress the 'Love London, Go Dutch' pledge you signed up to during the election campaign?


Answer for Safe cycling in London

Answer for Safe cycling in London

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): The answer is, I am afraid, roughly the same as the one I have just given, in that I want to promote safer cycling in the City.

Caroline Pidgeon (AM): Thank you for that, and you will know the strength of the London cycling campaign by the 40,556 signatures they have had to their campaign supporting the Go Dutch cycling model. When you signed the pledge, which you signed the eve of the big cycle ride [The Big Ride] in London that many of us went on, you agreed to create three flagship Love London Go Dutch developments. Can you perhaps give us some names of the projects you are looking at to be these flagship projects?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): These are early days, but I can give you an indication of where we want to go on two schemes. We are looking particularly at Vauxhall Cross and Greenwich and obviously these are still plans that are being developed very fast.

Caroline Pidgeon (AM): That is great, Vauxhall Cross, many of us know how dangerous that is, and Greenwich, and are you going to be looking perhaps at an out of town centre such as Croydon?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Absolutely, and as I think all manifestos said in the election, it is time that we really looked at the opportunities for cycling hubs in outer boroughs, and we looked at extending cycle hire to the outer boroughs as well.

Caroline Pidgeon (AM): What about your Cycle Superhighways? Will you now review and retrofit the existing Cycle Superhighways, which we have been calling for, for a couple of years, to make the junctions far safer there for cyclists?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Obviously, we are undergoing now a review of 500 junctions and gyratories, some of them obviously will be on Cycle Superhighways.

Caroline Pidgeon (AM): This review of yours, you have touched on that, you have announced about five months ago this review of 500 junctions in London. The latest figures that I have through show that so far you have only looked at 39 of these junctions, 25 on the Cycle Superhighways, 14 on the rest of the Transport for London (TfL) road network. Of those, six, supposedly, have been completed, except no works appear to have taken place. Do you think that is really the pace of change that we want to see in London, if you are going to meet this Go Dutch and to get this cycling revolution you want?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I think TfL have a big agenda, 39, I cannot comment on your figures because I do not have the benefit

Caroline Pidgeon (AM): These are TfL figures, I can assure you.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): of them, but the programme is underway and we will do everything we can to make cycling safer. Just to go back to I think it was Jenny's question, can we guarantee that we are going to make cycling safe enough for any 12 year old in London in the next four years that would be a wonderful thing to achieve. There are certainly plenty of areas where I think cycling is already safe enough, but there is a long way to go.

Caroline Pidgeon (AM): But are you happy that only 39 junctions so far have been started as part of the review work in five or six months; that seems a very slow pace to me, Mr Mayor.

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): You have the figure of 39; I cannot comment on it because I have not seen TfL's agenda and what their timetable is. There are huge amounts of work going on all over London and, as you will appreciate, one of the things that we have to do at the moment is to minimise traffic disruption for the Olympics. It is a difficult period to engage in substantial road works, as you will appreciate, we have 20,000 members of the Olympic family arriving very shortly. This is not an ideal time to start digging up every road in London. But the programme will go ahead.

Caroline Pidgeon (AM): I hope you will review that timetable and make yourself fully acquainted with it and try and put some pressure on TfL to speed that up. But will you agree with me that the Love London Go Dutch principles are not compatible with your statement to me back in November that the Elephant and Castle is perfectly negotiable, do you regret that statement now?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): I do not, because the

Caroline Pidgeon (AM): You do not regret it? So all the cyclists who have been outraged, but you do not regret that?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): As I was saying, and sometimes these points do not always perhaps come across in quite the right way, but never mind. The point I was making was I personally cycle the Elephant and Castle gyratory; that is what I do and I think that if done with due care and attention, it is, as I say, perfectly negotiable. What I want to do is to make sure that every motorist, every taxi driver, every bus driver in London, every truck driver, particularly understands that on a gyratory like the Elephant and Castle they are going to find cyclists, and that is a question of continuing the cultural change, which has been very considerable already. I think bus drivers, taxi drivers, are much, much better than they were ten years ago, much better in understanding that there are going to be cyclists on the road, but there is further to go. In order to drive the process on, we will need to keep investing in the roads.

Caroline Pidgeon (AM): I am disappointed that you will not change that statement that you made and I know many cyclists will be. But my final question to you, and it is a simple yes or no answer, will you commit to include a standing item in your monthly Mayor's Report that updates us on your progress on implementing the Love London Go Dutch pledge?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): No.

Caroline Pidgeon (AM): You will not? So you will not?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): Why should I? You are entitled to ask me a question about it, but I am not going to commit now to - -

Caroline Pidgeon (AM): To update us every month on progress you are making?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London): on this or that, I am going to give a Mayor's Report on the matters I think are pressing and you are perfectly at liberty, Caroline, to ask me whatever you want.

Caroline Pidgeon (AM): Every month, yes, great, okay, well thank you. That is very disappointing. Thank you.