Tory AMs and Boris smack cycling safety in the face.. again

Further to this morning's blog post asking where the promised cycle safety review from Transport for London is, there's been more depressing, pathetic news from City Hall...


Briefing BBC transport correspondent Tom Edwards, TfL confirmed that they have no date as yet for when they will publish their much vaunted "review" of cyclist's safety, the Cycle Superhighways and most importantly Bow junction.  They'd originally promised that the report on Bow would be delivered within one week.  Labour AM John Biggs has described the inaction by TfL - of which Boris Johnson is Chair - as a "broken promise".

Meanwhile a motion tabled by Green AM Jenny Jones and Labour's Val Shawcross calling on the Mayor to address cyclist's concerns was scotched after Tory AMs walked out of the Assembly making the meeting inquorate.  A valuable opportunity to ensure that everything possible is being done by TfL to keep everyone on its roads safe has been lost because of a childish, unprofessional petty squabble.

Astonishingly, this is the second time this year that the Tory AMs (plus Richard Barnbrook, BNP) have pulled this stunt to the detriment of cyclist's safety; they pulled the same mean, cheap, pathetic trick earlier in the year when the London Assembly were due to debate cyclist's concerns over Blackfriars Bridge.

Jenny Jones said:
"The Tory walkout before we could take the cycling motion was perhaps partly based on embarrassment at the Mayor's poor safety record. He has consistently ignored cycling campaigners' advice on how to make junctions safe, leaving cyclists vulnerable to the faster traffic. This is playing with people's lives, not delivering good government for London."

As a bike blogger I'm not interested in party politics and don't especially care if the best ideas for improving cycling and walking in London come from Labour, the Conservatives, the Lib Dems or the Greens. 

Tell it to the bereaved...

What I do care very strongly about is the fact that 2011 has been the most fatal year for cyclists in London for a very long time (Ellie Carey became the 16th rider to die on our roads this year earlier this week

Everyday and ordinary Londoners on bikes feel that they have to fight their way to work just to stay safe and stay alive.  Hundreds of ordinary citizens have felt engaged enough to write to the Mayor, to join protests (and protests, and protests) whilst all around them a sense of spin, inaction and deception from TfL pervades the debate.  And a bunch of grown men, each earning a handsome salary to do their jobs, feels it appropriate to play cheap party politics with people's lives because of some pathetic inter-party squabble.

They should feel ashamed of themselves, but frankly I'd rather they explained their actions to faces of the mourning families of Ellie Carey, Brian Dorling, Svitlana Tereschenko, Min Joo Lee and all those others who have lost their lives or been seriously injured on our roads this year.

The job of the London Assembly is to hold the Mayor - and via him Transport for London - to account.  These Conservative AMs should set aside their petty squabbles and damn well get on with it, or quit. The choice is clear and for once I'd like to see some urgent action on the matter.

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Unknown said...

Well said Mark. This second walkout by the Conservatives is totally unacceptable. Safety is NOT a political issue but something all parties should be working together to achieve.

ibikelondon said...

Thanks Cycling Bean.

I hve *some& sympathy with the Tory AMs - despite the other members acting within the rules - they clearly feel aggrieved at the current system.

But at the end of the day any democratically elected well paid representative has to make a choice over what is more important; who gets to Chair Assembly meetings or the electorate being crushed to death on our roads in increasing quantities.

Kim said...

It is utterly unbelievable that while people are being killed on the streets they are more interested in a petty squabble over who chairs the meetings. It speaks volumes about their attitude to democracy and the people of London. It is a complete insult to the people who they are elected to represent. They are behaving as if they are running a student union and not a major city! This debate is literally a matter of life and death and should be treated seriously.

Downfader said...

I find this appalling. They, frankly, should grow the hell up and tackle their concerns like sensible adults.

It seems, to me at least, that the Tories are trying to do everything they can to demolish the foundations of even their own party and supporters.

Chris Hill said...

Of course its a political issue. How could changing things to save lives on the roads not be a political issue? What I think is meant is that it should not be a party-political issue, with parties scoring points off each other over it, which I agree with. (Party-politics demeans real politics every day). The fact that it is a political issue is exactly why the assembly should get off their high horses and onto a bicycle to see what the issue is really all about. If they survive the journey they might then think about improving the safety of the roads.

ibikelondon said...

It's clear from your comments, and indeed the hit stats this post has been receiving, that this issue really resonates with a lot of you, and well it should!

As someone just remarked on Twitter "If they walked out shouldn't this be classed as a strike. As such, shouldn't their pay be docked?"


Shaun McDonald said...

The problem is that the Mayor does cycle and claims that the roads are perfectly fine if you keep your wits about you.

The other problem is that the London Assembly can debate as much as they like, and even if all of the Assembly Members agree on something, there is no way to mandate the Mayor to do something about it when the Mayor is the one who is responsible for the particular body.

Andy in Germany said...

I know I've said it before, but keep going. From here it looks like you are making a difference and the TfL officers are trying to wear you down in the hope you'll go away.

Anonymous said...

Hello, is there a good procedure you know of for complaining to companies when their trucks/delivery vans/lorries behave aggressively on the roads? Is there anyone at TFL for example?

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