London: “For all his ‘cycling mayor’ persona … (Boris) Johnson has been keeping the private motorist sweet.”


We only recently made much this same case, via the New York Times: Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists? (and for that matter, pedestrians).

 … Studies performed in Arizona, Minnesota and Hawaii suggest that drivers are at fault in more than half of cycling fatalities. And there is something undeniably screwy about a justice system that makes it de facto legal to kill people, even when it is clearly your fault, as long you’re driving a car and the victim is on a bike and you’re not obviously drunk and don’t flee the scene.

Now, shouldn’t the task of street grid restoration, aka “complete streets”, be far simpler in a more compact urban setting like New Albany’s than in London or New York? Or is it even harder here owing to an inability (read: refusal) on the part of leading party elements to visualize change?

Hill’s article compares the photo op vs. reality street grid quotient of current London mayor Boris Johnson as compared to his predecessor, Ken Livingstone — and finds Johnson lacking.

Livingstone presided over a modal shift from car to public transport, walking and cycling which was unrivalled worldwide. He believed in a roads hierarchy which prioritised pedestrians, cyclists and buses in that order.

In short, revolutionary doctrine. And you thought Fidel was a threat to the established order.

Boris cycling woes are part of larger failure to change London’s streets; The London mayor’s surface transport and “public realm” strategies have shown a poor judgement of priorities, by Dave Hill (Guardian)

As anger over recent cyclist deaths quite has rightly raged, Londonist, also rightly, has widened the debate by asking a very good question: won’t somebody think of the pedestrians? The answer pointed out that pedestrians accounted for more than half of all those killed on the capital’s streets in 2012 – 69 out of 134. As Londonist also reported, three died on the same day only last week.

The 2012 stats also show that 27 of those killed were riding a “powered two-wheeler” (motorbikes, mopeds etc), 19 were in cars and 14 were cyclists, while the remaining five were in a taxi, bus, coach or goods vehicle. These numbers on their own don’t reveal different risk levels for different ways of getting around – a complicated subject, by the way – but they do show that safety on London’s roads is a concern for an array of people who negotiate the capital’s streets in different ways.