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Mayor warning over London cycling protests

Mon, 09 Dec 2013 00:00:00 -0800

SAFETY protests sparked by the deaths of six cyclists on the streets of the capital risk scaring people off switching from cars to bikes altogether, London mayor Boris Johnson will warn today.

Mr Johnson will urge "more careful" language, suggesting pro-cycling campaigners could jeopardise the push to boost bike use by concentrating on recent fatalities when overall numbers were not up.

Mr Johnson - addressing a safety summit bringing together cycle and haulage groups - will hail a £913 million investment in safety measures but urge people not to expect instant results.

Despite the "awful month" of November, cycle deaths in London were the same as at this point last year and lower than the year before, he is expected to point out.

It is understood he will use the event - organised before the recent fatalities - to examine the case for a ban on HGVs on some London roads and set out deadlines for improvements to notorious junctions.

The mayor is expected to tell the event at City Hall: "I understand the anger and concern about this terrible spate of tragedies. I share it.

"But it shouldn't obscure the fact that the number of deaths per bike journey taken in London has more than halved in the last 10 years, to one death in every 15 million journeys.

"The number of cyclists killed in London this year was too many - but it is in fact precisely the same as it was at this point last year, and less than the year before."

He is expected to go on: "Of course I accept that people want to create pressure for action to get more Londoners cycling. But the risk is that the association of cycling with death may be doing the opposite. It may be scaring people away.”


By Joe Churcher, Press Association Chief Political Correspondent