Boris Johnson has lost the bike vote, pop-up lobby group Londoners on Bikes announced today. The group, which has built a voting bloc of more than 6000 Londoners who have pledged to vote for the candidate most likely to make the roads safe to cycle on, told their supporters that Johnson’s policies are likely to continue to result in deaths and serious injuries for cyclists.
The announcement came after the cycling hustings hosted by transport charity Sustrans and The Times today, where Boris Johnson’s performance was dubbed “embarrassing” by a Londoners on Bikes spokesman, and “insulting” by the family of Ellie Carey, who was killed while riding her bike in Southwark last December.
Londoners on Bikes today recommended that cyclists give their first preference vote to Green Party candidate Jenny Jones, and their second to Ken Livingstone.
In a hustings where the Mayor repeatedly appeared to be on the ropes as he was challenged on his claims about the number of deaths and serious injuries to cyclists under his leadership, he defended his policies of prioritising “smoothing traffic flow” over the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, and argued that boosting the number of cyclists was a good way to improve safety.
Alistair Carey, father of Ellie Carey, the London Metropolitan University student who died after being hit by an HGV while riding her bike in Southwark said: “I was insulted by what Boris Johnson said. There seems to be cross-party agreement among all the other candidates that far more needs to be done to improve safety for cyclists – only Boris disagrees.”
Londoners on Bikes spokesman Julian Sayarer said: “Today confirmed what those who ride bikes in London already know: highly visible and very expensive projects such as cycle hire have given Boris Johnson good publicity on cycling, but he has shown no interest in taking the steps which would be needed to save cyclists’ lives.
“During the campaign period we have seen him making jokes about cycling fatalities, and it is clear that he doesn’t take the issue of rising cycling casualties even remotely seriously.
“Boris’s closing speech –which turned into a confused rant against lycra-wearing cyclists, dreadlocked hippies and green extremists – would have been angering had Boris not appeared so utterly incoherent. It only proved his complete failure to engage with the real issue of the urgent need for better cycling infrastructure.
“Those who ride bikes in London are not another breed – we’re just regular people who want to be able to get to work in a cheap, healthy and enjoyable way. We should be able to do that without the constant threat of aggressive traffic.
“The audience included at least two Londoners who have lost family members to traffic accidents, we are all stunned that Boris could be so insensitive and disrespectful.
“If you look at the people who have died on the roads recently, you can see that the unsafe conditions are something which affects everyone – from 8-year-old Ali Nasralla who was killed on his way to school in Kingston to 53-year-old father-of-three Brian Dorling who died at Bow Roundabout last year.
“Our unsafe roads are hurting everyone, from every walk of life, and it’s shocking that Boris Johnson can’t see the need for real change.
“Increased cycling reduces the burden on already congested roads, and Boris Johnson has failed to understand that those roads need to be made safe for London to have his cycling revolution.”
“The Green Party’s Jenny Jones offers the most for cycling, and although Ken Livingstone is not perfect, he has a strong vision for changing the way London moves. Jenny Jones said that she was “hugely flattered” to be endorsed as the candidate for Londoners who ride bikes.
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