Boris Johnson looks at rush hour lorry ban to save cyclists deaths in London

Six cyclists have died on the capital's roads in the last two weeks

Click to follow
The Independent Online

London Mayor Boris Johnson has faced down critics following the spate of cyclist deaths in the capital by insisting that cycling safety has improved in the last few years.

In often heated exchanges during Mayor's question time at the London Assembly, Mr Johnson said he would "not be deflected from the cause of encouraging more cycling in London".

Six London cyclists have died on the capital's roads in the last two weeks, with cycling groups and politicians urging prompt action from Mr Johnson.

Mr Johnson was pressed on whether he would order a review of CS2. He replied that all the superhighways were under constant review, including CS2.

He also said that the question of lorry-movement times in London was being looked at, with experiences in other cities taken into account.

Before the meeting, Olympic cycling champion Chris Boardman, although critical of the Mayor over lorry-cycling safety in London, had said: "I don't want to join in with this 'Boris-bashing'. Boris is the only person who had the guts to do something about cycling in London.

"Boris said he was actually going to put money into cycling in the capital. He appointed Andrew Gilligan as cycling commissioner. I have a lot of time for Boris and Andrew. Boris has a really tough job.

"Cyclists are vulnerable and it's tough cycling round the capital. All road-users must obey the rules of the road. It makes me mad to see cyclists behaving badly on the road."

But Boardman, British Cycling's policy adviser, added that he was "disappointed" that Mr Johnson had not so far acted on a "verbal promise" he made to him in March to look at restricting the movements of heavy vehicles during peak hours.

He told assembly members today that his thoughts were with those who had suffered from the recent deaths and that it was "difficult but important" to stress that the fatalities "must be seen in the context of an overall decline in deaths".

He said that in the six years from 2008 to 2013 there were 81 cyclist deaths in London, while in the previous six years the fatality figure was 102.

He also told assembly members that in the five years from 2008 to 2012 there were 68 deaths while in the five-year period 2003-07 the figure was 82.

But Green Party assembly member Baroness Jones rounded on the Mayor, calling on him to "apologise to Londoners" for his record on cycling safety.

She said figures showed that in 2008 the killed or seriously injured (KSI) rate for cyclists was one KSI for every 400,000 cycling trips, while in 2011 this figure had come down to 364,000 trips.

"You should apologise for your flawed and dangerous (cycling) policies," she said to Mr Johnson, adding that his comments were "outrageously incorrect".

Lady Jones also accused Mr Johnson of being "offensive" and of "wasting my time".

As Mr Johnson spoke, Lady Jones said: "Repetition, repetition. I am here to ask the questions, not you. Can you stop being so offensive?"

Mr Johnson finally responded by saying to her: "It's time you went off to the House of Lords".

To laughter, Lady Jones replied: "You are just jealous (of her peer status)."

Some of the recent deaths have come on London's Cycle Superhighway 2 (CS2).