Saturday, 24 May 2008

Cyclists turn on Boris Johnson over Bus Lanes

He is one of Britain's most famous pedalers, but this week London's cyclists turned on Boris Johnson over plans to allow motorbikes into bus lanes.

Members of the London Cycling Campaign have told the Mayor to backpedal from the 'snap decision' which was made in the latter stage of his election campaign.

LCC Chief Executive Koy Thomson said that the mayor's policy was based on 'flawed methodology' and would lead to an increase in road deaths and pedestrian casualties. Thomson said earlier this week:
"This would be a decision taken not only against the advice of transport officials and without the input of cycling and pedestrian groups, but also in the face of a warning that this could ‘disbenefit’ cyclists and pedestrians."
In fact officials at Transport for London have already spoken out against the policy, which they describe as ill thought out and dangerous. TFL Managing Director for Surface Transport David Brown said:
"There is no evidence to indicate that motorcyclists would see any significant safety benefits from being allowed to enter bus lanes but that there were potential disbenefits for both cyclists and pedestrians."
Because like Boris Johnson's plans to rephase traffic lights, the 'disbenefits' of this new policy would include a big increase in the number of fatal accidents and casualties. And while Boris and his boss are not particularly bothered about their own safety, this policy would put the safety of many more Londoners' lives at risk.

And unlike gang crime and the spread of knives and guns, safety on the roads is relatively easy to improve. And as Ken Livingstone proved in his own term, simple measures can save hundreds more lives than crime crackdowns ever will.

LCC's Campaign Manager Tom Bagdanowicz has said of Boris' rushed plans to allow motorycles into bus lanes:
“Providing new high speed channels for motorcycles along major roads will inevitably increase motorcycle use. More motorcycle traffic will spread to all streets in London and will bring with it an increase in casualties for vulnerable road users. We’re asking our supporters to urge the Mayor to consider the safety impact on all London streets for every road user before any decision on allowing high-speed vehicles into bus lanes is made.”
You can tell Boris to 'Stop, Look and Listen' to Londoners by signing the LCC petition here.


sam lewis said...

Not in my name. I am a cyclist, motorcyclist, car driver and pedestrian and they are fundamentally wrong on this issue. There is absolutely no evidence that allowing motorcyclists to use bus lanes would lead to any more accidents. This is a stupid, ill thought out campaign that does nothing to promote cycling. They will gain nothing by demonising other road users but will succeed in characterising themselves as charmless, reactionary buffoons.

The Tory Troll said...

Better not sign the petition then. Any evidence that they're wrong out of interest?

sam lewis said...

Didn't tfl conduct a survey during a trial that found that the buslanes were safer for pedestrians, cyclists, car drivers and motorcyclists, with 42% reduction in collisions? Isn't it already allowed in Bristol where they found much the same? I have yet to see any evidence that allowing motorcycles in buslanes leads to more accidents or injuries.

The Tory Troll said...

TFL on the earlier study: ‘The data used in the earlier report was not considered sufficiently reliable to inform a decision on such an important issue.’ Following a review of the data Mr Brown’s conclusion (April 2008) was that ‘there is no evidence to indicate that motorcyclists would see any significant safety benefits from being allowed to enter bus lanes but that there were potential disbenefits for both cyclists and pedestrians.’

The evidence is obviously not clear cut, but Boris wants to steam ahead with it as it is part of a broader pro-motorist, pro-Clarkson agenda as with traffic lights and with delays to Thames Water repairs. Road safety does not make the headlines in the same way as gang crime for example so it is easier for politicians to make populist moves like the ones being pushed through now. However, accidents are the biggest cause of death on the streets and policies should be taken very carefully with that in mind. I am not persuaded that this is the case, as clearly TFL and LCC are not as well.

Eskimo Nell said...

Perhaps allowing motorcyclists into bus lanes could be accompanied by cycling proficiency tests for cyclists? The sheer number of cyclists I see in the morning jumping lights, manouvering without looking and riding with contempt towards other road users suggests to me that the danger to cyclists is almost certainly, in part, their own fault.

The Tory Troll said...

Well Boris Johnson should be first in the queue after what he got caught doing: