London mayor Boris Johnson has angered safety campaigners by calling for action against cyclists who ride on pavements, cycle in a “fast and intimidating way” and jump traffic lights.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “What we are doing in London is to try and make sure that the huge increase in cycling is matched with an increase in cycling safety measures, because there is absolutely no point in encouraging tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands more people onto their bikes if they are going to be more at risk of being killed or seriously injured.
“The key point is there is a huge upsurge in interest in cycling and in cycling generally, and there has got to be a symmetry, there has got to be a greater attention to safety, and quite frankly, there has also got to be a greater attention from cyclists on the rules of the road.
“What the police should be focussing on with much more severity are cyclists who cycle on the pavements, who cycle in a fast and intimidating way, and who jump the lights.”
Roger Geffen, campaigns and policy manager at UK cyclists’ organisation CTC, said there were better ways to improve road safety than pointing the finger at cyclists.
He told BikeRadar: “We would entirely agree that all road users – cyclists included – need to have respect for one another and for the rules of the road. CTC is all in favour of more traffic policing, as cyclists are far more likely to be the victims than the perpetrators of dangerous road behaviour.
“However, if the mayor is serious about improving cyclists’ safety he would be increasing the resources available for traffic policing. Instead he is cutting spending on roads policing, making London’s roads a lot more dangerous for cyclists, and then blaming the victims.”
Mr Johnson’s comments come just weeks after he scrapped the British capital’s lorry safety unit, amid a firestorm of protest from cycling organisations. They pointed out that eight of the 10 cyclists killed in London this year had died in collisions with HGVs. The mayor himself had a near miss with a truck earlier this year.
Jenny Jones, who represents the Green Party on the London Assembly, told BikeRadar: “The mayor has lost his mind if he thinks he can get rid of the Commercial Vehicle Education Unit and safety cameras and still talk about making the roads safer.
“I loathe cyclists who cycle on the pavement and go through red lights, etc, but to suggest they are the major cause of a lack of safety on the roads is ridiculous.”