After publicly criticizing Mayor Boris Johnson’s response to another cycling fatality in the city earlier this week, Chris Boardman says he remains "massively supportive" of the London Mayor’s bicycle safety program.
Indeed, Johnson endured heavy criticism this week for appearing to blame cyclists in the aftermath of six bicycle/motor vehicle related deaths along the streets of London over the last two weeks.
Earlier this week, Boardman wrote the Mayor urging him to honor a verbal promise to investigate the viability of banning trucks and heavy commercial vehicles from entering the city’s center during rush hour.
Despite disappointment that no action had been taken in eight months since the pledge was made, Boardman defended Johnson’s commitment to cycling.
The former cycling champion told the media: "I was disappointed and that’s why I wrote the letter.
"However I’m massively supportive. He’s the only person who’s actually had the balls to stand up and say, ‘actually I’m going to try and affect the change’."
Johnson attracted criticism this week after alleging "risk-taking" and "headphone-wearing" on the part of cyclists – as the main contributing factors in the accidents. Critics felt this masked his inaction on plans to provide adequate cycling infrastructure in the capital.
"Naturally when it all goes wrong the person everybody shoots at," said Boardman. "It’s not what he’s thinking, and he’s trying to do something."
Boardman, who has called on the UK government to have transportation planners move the issue of bicycle infrastructure up on the priority list – when designing new roads and intersections. In addition, he also shared the Mayor’s view that it was impossible to provide a completely segregated bicycle network inside the city.
"I said two years ago… we have a finite amount of road space. We are not starting from scratch and at some point you do have to choose. You can’t have it all: you can’t have segregated cycling and roads in London – there are buildings on each side
"You have to choose who gets priority and that’s where we are now."
Mike Cavenett of the London Cycling Campaign rejected the view there wasn’t enough space for segregated cycle tracks in the capital.
He said: "The space argument is rubbish. There’s a solution for every street in London to make it useable for motor traffic, pedestrians and bicycles."
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