The Mayor of London was very careful at today’s City Hall Question Time to stick to his brief.
He said that the rate of cyclists killed and seriously injured on Transport for London roads has gone down since he was elected.
Those roads are 5% of the road network; that means the Mayor is ignoring the remaining 95% of roads, where over two thirds of the cyclists in London were killed or injured.
In my view, each and every one of these casualties is an individual tragedy and he really shouldn’t be ignoring any of them.
I am quite happy to say that the roads are safer for cyclists than they were in 2000 and it would be wrong to exaggerate the problem.
However, it would be equally wrong to mislead people about the fact that something has gone wrong in recent years. The roads were getting safer for cyclists and now they are not. That is a reality we have to address and radical changes are definitely needed.
A recent TfL fact sheet shows that more than two thirds of deaths and injuries occurred on borough roads (69%).
It is highly misleading of the Mayor’s supporters to make statements that roads are getting safer since he was elected, when the figures clearly show that this is not true when you look at the picture across the whole of London.
It also isn’t true that the TfL roads are getting safer if you look at the total casualties. These figures give you a much clearer idea of the day by day experience of cyclists, who are constantly facing near misses and close shaves.
Of course the Mayor could argue that he is not responsible for what happens on borough roads.
This would be a complete departure to from any Mayoral statements on road safety in the last twelve years, as the Mayor has pan London targets for casualty reduction and a pan London strategy for achieving them.
In fact, the Mayor through Transport for London gives the boroughs their funding for transport and the amount allocated for road safety has declined rapidly from £30m in 2008 to £10 in 2011.
The Mayor should not stand by and watch the boroughs’ road safety budget being cut by two thirds, nor should he read out figures which ignore over two thirds of the cyclists who are being killed and injured.
The Mayor needs to reverse his budget cuts, give people a realistic view of the danger on our roads and reverse the dangerous policy he adopted of giving priority to cars & lorries when designing junctions.
Jenny Jones is a Green Party member of the London Assembly