Mayor's Oral Update (Supplementary) [2]

Session date: 
November 20, 2013
Question By: 
Jenny Jones
Organisation: 
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

You keep talking about the deaths but you are ignoring the figures on the seriously injured and the fact is cycling is not getting safer in London.  These are your figures, Mr Mayor, in 2008 - when you were first elected - on average a cyclist could do over 400,000 cycle trips before being killed or seriously injured.  In 2011, three years after your smoothing traffic flow and changing traffic lights and so on, the average cyclist could only make 364,000 trips before being killed or seriously injured.  Cycling is not getting safer.  You have been asking me to apologise for two years for saying that.  Now I am going to ask you - I do not want an apology - but I think you should apologise to the families of the victims and to the people who have been seriously injured on the roads.

I would like you to apologise to the families of people who have been killed and to the people who have been seriously injured on the roads because of your flawed and quite dangerous policies.

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for Mayor's Oral Update (Supplementary) [2]

Answer for Mayor's Oral Update (Supplementary) [2]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I think it very striking that you sat in this Assembly - to the best of my knowledge, I think you were there - when cycle fatalities were running at a much higher rate.  I do not believe that you protested then, I do not believe that you said anything then, I think you should apologise to Londoners for your inertia, your silence and your refusal to stand up for cyclists.

 

Jenny Jones (AM):  I would like to say, Mr Mayor, that I was the first person to mention road safety in this Chamber and cycling in this Chamber and I have worked hard all of my political career to make the roads safer.  Your comments are outrageously incorrect and you do now owe me an apology.  Let me get back to my original question; will you apologise to the families of those who have been killed and to the people who have been seriously injured because you have made the roads more dangerous?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I reject what you are saying; I think if you look at what --

 

Jenny Jones (AM):  These are your figures, Mr Mayor, they are not my figures, they are your figures, Transport for London (TfL) figures.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Actually, if you look at what is happening on the numbers of people being killed on our roads and --

 

Jenny Jones (AM):  I am not talking just about people being killed; I am talking about the seriously injured as well.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  If you look at what is happening on the number of people, even the number of people being injured -- admittedly we have a larger number of people currently being injured, and I am concerned about that, but that is I think a function of the huge increase in the number of cyclists and --

 

Jenny Jones (AM):  No, I am talking average trips; that takes into account the extra numbers.  All right, let us move on to the fact ‑‑

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I think, if you were being honest with Londoners, you would actually apologise for your continual scaremongering about cycling and you pretend to be a fan of cycling and you pretend to stick up for it, but all you do in my view is try to terrify people about the state of our roads.  Of course there is a risk involved in cycling, everybody --

 

Jenny Jones (AM):  He is being personally quite offensive and inaccurate, Chair, can you please ask him to withdraw his remarks.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Everybody understands that there is a risk.  What we have been doing is ‑‑

 

Jenny Jones (AM):  Can you ask him to withdraw his remarks of a personal nature?

  

Jenny Jones (AM):  Mr Mayor, let me move you on to the fact that you have been blaming the victims.  Back in October 2011, I asked you about the rising number of child and pedestrian casualties, because there are a lot of pedestrians dying and being seriously injured as well.  I asked you about them and you blamed handheld devices for the rise.  You did not have any evidence at that time but you have had two years now and you are still talking about headphones and so on being a danger.  Where are the statistics?  Do you have the figures from TfL on that?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Let me just say something about that conversation --

 

Jenny Jones (AM):  Do you have the figures?  Do you have the figures on how many of these collisions are caused by people wearing headphones?  I asked you this two years ago.  Do you have the figures?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  If we do have any such data I would be happy to share it with you, but I think the important --

 

Jenny Jones (AM):  Then what are you basing your comments on?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I will tell you what I am basing my comments on --

 

Jenny Jones (AM):  Blaming victims.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, I am not blaming the victims, I do think in a mature society where it is perfectly obvious that accidents on the roads are caused by many factors -- and if I remember correctly yesterday we had a long conversation on the radio, which was mainly about what we were doing to stop lorries from turning left in such a way as to catch cyclists unawares, what we were doing to make cyclists more aware of lorries turning left - that was what the discussion was about, what we are doing to make lorries safer.  I was then asked a throwaway question at the end about headphones and I mentioned my view, which is that I think it is dangerous for cyclists to have headphones on while they cycle and I think that in London traffic I

 

Jenny Jones (AM):  What about it being dangerous when cars go into advanced stop lines and there are lots of factors, you cannot pick on one factor.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I did not pick on it, but if I may say --

 

Jenny Jones (AM):  Mr Mayor, you are being very offensive today and you are being blind to the causes of the problems.  The problem is your policies.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Most people listening to this would say that it is entirely reasonable in the context of collisions between motorists, HGV drivers and cyclists, it is entirely reasonable of us to focus on what we can do to make HGVs safer, but I think people would also feel the conversation was inadequate if we did not draw attention to the additional responsibility of cyclists, Jenny, to be sensible and to obey the rules of the road.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  If you seriously disagree with that then I think that you need your head examined because --

 

Jenny Jones (AM):  Can you stop being so offensive?  What is the matter with you?  Why are you being so personally rude?  Why can you not stick to the topic?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I do not intend to be personally rude, Jenny.  If I am personally rude to you, obviously I am very sincerely apologetic.  I just sometimes feel that you are not entirely civil to me and --

 

Jenny Jones (AM):  I am talking about your policies, not about your personality.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  -- I reserve the right to answer back in kind.  We are doing a huge amount to invest in the roads; we are doing a huge amount to make our transport system safer.  What I do not think Londoners (overspeaking)

 

Jenny Jones (AM):  Repetition.  I do not have to listen to this.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  What I do not think anybody in this city can conceivably ignore is the simultaneous, parallel, additional duty of cyclists to behave responsibly.  If you are saying that duty does not exist then I would like you to assert that now.  Are you saying that cyclists have no such duty?

 

Jenny Jones (AM):  I am here to ask the questions, not you.  He is wasting my time.