Boris 'must try harder' on transport say London cyclists

Motorbikes in bus lanes not the answer, say campaigners

London cycling campaigners have told mayoral candidate Boris Johnson he must do more to win over cyclists in the capital.

In their first assessment of Mr Johnson’s transport manifesto, the London Cycling Campaign said some of the Conservative hopeful's transport plans are ill-advised.

Koy Thomson, LCC’s chief executive, said “Boris Johnson has said that he would go for a higher cycling target than Ken Livingstone which we applaud, as we do his promise on a mass bike hire scheme, tough action on bike theft and adequate cycle parking. We also think he is right to say that small cars should not be excluded from the congestion charge. We should aim to encourage car drivers onto cycles irrespective of the size of their engines.”

But the LCC has slammed his calls for motorbikes to be allowed in bus lanes, saying they are among few safe havens for cyclists in the capital.

Mr Thomson said “We have letters from our members asking us to oppose motorbikes in bus lanes. Often bus lanes are the only space cyclists can use on major roads and are liked by new cyclists because they are free of the intimidation of high-volume, high speed motorised traffic. 

"We are seriously concerned that putting motorbikes in bus lanes will undermine plans, supported by both the Mayor and Boris Johnson, to make cycling a major transport mode in London. Contrary to popular belief, motorbikes are not a green alternative. Per passenger mile they emit more of a large range of pollutants than cars.”

Mr Johnson's transport manifesto hit the headlines upon its release in mid-February, when he announced he would provide free cycling lessons for his opponent, sitting London mayor Ken Livingstone.

While Mr Livingstone has announced a raft of pro-cycling measures and pledged to increase bike riding by 400 per cent by 2025, he does not ride himself, following a bike accident in his youth.

LCC’s electoral campaign manifesto calls for the cycle hire scheme that all candidates have now promised, as well as a 20 mph speed limit, increased cycle confidence training and tougher action to stop cycle theft. 

The main candidates’ responses to the manifesto will be published in the forthcoming issue of London Cyclist magazine.

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