Mayor's Oral Update (Supplementary) [5]

Session date: 
November 20, 2013
Question By: 
Valerie Shawcross
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Mr Mayor, I want to follow up on John Biggs’ point about CS2.  Cross-party, the leads on Transport Committee here have just met the London Cycling Campaign and they basically advised us that you should now have over 10,000 emails in your inbox.  London’s cycling community want you to respond very urgently and speedily on the specific problems of CS2 and on the need to revisit and refit some sections of the Cycling Superhighway network because quite frankly they are confusing, they are weak, they very often let cyclists down just at the moment when they need protection.  I think we all understand that the earlier infrastructure was more problematic and that recent changes have been very positive and good and there has been more segregation, but I think it is important that we all admit that CS2 was substandard when it was installed and actually there is an urgent action plan from London Cycling Campaign, they want you to make some changes right away.  What is your response to those tens of thousands of Londoners?

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for Mayor's Oral Update (Supplementary) [5]

Answer for Mayor's Oral Update (Supplementary) [5]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

My response is that obviously we are always open to suggestions and the whole road surface is in continual process of negotiation and improvement obviously and we are going to try to make CS2 and all the other Cycle Superhighways as safe as we possibly can. 

 

I have said to John what I have already said about the Bow roundabout, if there is more we can do there then we certainly should do that.  I think most people would accept that the changes towards the Stratford end of CS2 are pretty remarkable.  You cannot unfortunately do that everywhere in town.  I think what people need to understand about the Cycle Superhighways is that they are not going to provide a kind of invisible force-field around cyclists that is going to protect them, but what they are there to do is to alert everybody that this is a place where you are going to find cyclists in large numbers, where you are going to have to pay attention to the road.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE (AM):  The confusion is one of the key issues here, is it not, because people have been lulled into a false sense of security and I think there have already been too many occasions when cyclists have actually had to go out and protest in large numbers to get things sorted out.  People have been protesting about Bow because they are doubly angry as they did make very good suggestions, technical suggestions, about how that roundabout could be improved and made safe, and actually they were pushed back and the plans were not good enough.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I do not agree with that.  Have you cycled the roundabout?

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE (AM):  I have walked around it, Mr Mayor.  It is very difficult to walk around it because there are very few pedestrian crossings as well.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  What you notice if you --

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE (AM):  The cyclists are telling us that they have had to do things like do mass demonstrations on the Blackfriars bridge.  There is plenty of good technical advice available to you, Mr Mayor, available to TfL, to get these schemes right.  The problem is you cannot prioritise smoothing the traffic flow and always keep the cyclists safe.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  That is not true.  It is completely untrue.  We have taken huge amounts of time off motorists at Bow Roundabout, we have taken huge amounts of time, and we have actually done what the cycling group wanted and we put in a cycle-only traffic light.  What you cannot budget for is a decision by a cyclist not to use that lane or not to use that traffic light.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE (AM):  Are you telling me you are not going to respond positively to the London Cycling Campaign’s specific requests about CS2 to do things like install immediate protected space for cycling at Aldgate junction, to commit to installing cycling and pedestrian-specific lights across Bow Roundabout?  Are you saying seriously that you think CS2 is good enough now?  There are 10,000 people who have emailed you, Mr Mayor, to tell you, to plead with you: it is not safe enough.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  As I said, we are always willing to look at suggestions; we are always willing to make improvements where we can.

 

Valerie Shawcross CBE (AM):  They want a commitment to action, Mr Mayor.  Will you make a commitment to act now on CS2?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We are acting across all Cycle Superhighways and will continue to act for the foreseeable future.