City Hall incumbent, Boris Johnson, failed to attend this week’s London Mayoral hustings (organised by the Fawcett Society) at the London School of Economics; he evidently considered the Evening
Boris Standard’s readers’ panel to be of far greater importance than a hustings entitled What About Women In London?
The sole female Conservative Assembly Member, Victoria Borwick, was Boris’s stand-in, and her comments on cyclist safety in London caused outrage and shock amongst the audience.
In response to an audience question about a number of junctions on the TfL road network which have seen recent cyclist deaths, Borwick replied [73:10]:
Well, certainly, let’s go to the bicycling first. You’re quite right, TfL are going back to re-examine a number of junctions, regrettably, after some deaths, and every death in London is one too many.
But you know, on the other side, as I wobble along on my “Boris” bike, I take care and I have to say to all of you [gasps of shock, jeers from the audience and cries of "Shame!" from both audience and other members of the panel] I don’t go on the inside of lorries because I know how dangerous it is and we know – I mean, frankly, we’ve all seen these terrible deaths of people squashed and it is really horrible and I’m very pleased…[interruption]
Brian Paddick: So it’s their fault, is it, the cyclists’ fault?
Victoria Borwick: No, and I’m saying to you that it is absolutely horrible and we all need to take care, we all need to respect each other on the road. I know that riding a bike is dangerous, therefore, we need to make the roads safer and we need to look at what we can do in order…I know this is going to be unpopular but we do have to respect each other out there.
In the same week that 10,000 cyclists turned out to campaign for safer streets for cycling, telling Londoners that riding a bike is dangerous and attempting to shift blame for cyclist fatalities to the victims merely proves that Boris Johnson’s superficial Cycling Revolution has been a huge con trick and any cyclist wishing for a truly cycle-friendly London would do well to cast their vote elsewhere on 3 May.
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