“We should on day one, act one, scene one, hold a competition to get rid of the bendy bus. They wipe out cyclists, there are many cyclists killed every year by them.”

If you have a mouthful of tea, like I just did, prepare to swallow it or risk an unfortunate monitor/tea interface.  Boris has clearly decided that he’s had enough of reality and what London really needs is for the Mayor to impersonate the Black Knight from the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Let’s remind ourselves of this classic clash between bloody reality and ego-driven fantasy:

Arthur: I have no quarrel with you, good Sir Knight, but I must cross this bridge.
Black Knight: Then you shall die.
Arthur: I command you as King of the Britons to stand aside!
Black Knight: I move for no man.
Arthur: So be it!

Arthur cuts off the Black Knight’s left arm.

Arthur: Now stand aside, worthy adversary.
Black Knight: ‘Tis but a scratch.
Arthur: A scratch? Your arm’s off!
Black Knight: No, it isn’t.
Arthur: Well, what’s that then?
Black Knight: I’ve had worse.
Arthur: You liar!
Black Knight: Come on you pansy!

Arthur cuts off the Black Knight’s right arm.
Arthur: Victory is mine! We thank thee Lord, that in thy mercy…

Black Knight: Come on then.
Arthur: What?
Black Knight: Have at you!
Arthur: You are indeed brave, Sir Knight, but the fight is mine.
Black Knight: Oh, had enough, eh?
Arthur: Look, you stupid bastard, you’ve got no arms left.
Black Knight: Yes I have.
Arthur: Look!
Black Knight: Just a flesh wound.
Arthur: Look, stop that.
Black Knight: Chicken! Chicken!
Arthur: Look, I’ll have your leg. Right!

Arthur cuts off the Black Knight’s leg.
Black Knight: Right, I’ll do you for that!
Arthur: You’ll what?
Black Knight: Come ‘ere!
Arthur: What are you going to do, bleed on me?
Black Knight: I’m invincible!
Arthur: You’re a loony.
Black Knight: The Black Knight always triumphs! Have at you! Come on then.

Arthur cuts off the Black Knight’s other leg.
Black Knight: All right; we’ll call it a draw.
Arthur: Come, Patsy.
Black Knight: Oh, oh, I see, running away then. You yellow bastard! Come back here and take what’s coming to you. I’ll bite your legs off!

This idle thought was prompted by Adam at Tory Troll, who has been reading the written Mayoral answers, apparently those sent out to AMs rather than those on the website, which doesn’t seem to be fully updated yet.  In short, there have been no cyclist fatalities from bendy buses and four incidents involving hospital treatment since the buses were introduced in 2002.  In a minute I’m going to search for all those hysterical bendy hating ultras who’ve told us about how dangerous these buses are, and laugh and laugh and laugh.  I think I’ll start with Gilligoon.

Boris, now apparently trying to pull the gum tree up by the roots while sitting in it, falls back on the ‘perception’ argument as deployed when it’s pointed out that crime is falling on the transport network.

The perception of safety is an important element in whether people decide to cycle or not.

Rubbish – if people’s perception of safety is based on the incorrect data you’ve allowed into the public domain from your campaign and friends in the press, you, Boris, have a moral duty to counteract this.  You got the job, now you have to accept the responsibility.  I have some suggestions for useful next steps:

  • Perhaps he would like to consider why, if bendies put off cyclists, bendy bus use and cycling rose together over the same time period?  Cycle use has seen a 91% rise since 2000, in fact, according to TfL figures from June.
  • Perhaps he would like to consider the part bad/motorist-friendly road design (such as the Parliament Square and Elephant & Castle roundabouts Kulveer Ranger is so fond of) play in people choosing to cycle or otherwise?
  • Perhaps he would care to note that not every road in London has a bendy bus going down it by any stretch, so the part they play in deterring cyclists is by definition constrained?
  • Perhaps he’d like to talk to London’s cycling groups, or even better, listen to them?
  • Perhaps he’d like to commission some analysis of what is really dangerous to cyclists?  Clue – the letters ‘H’, ‘G’ and ‘V’ feature in the answer.  Even the Standard worked this out.
  • Perhaps he’d like to consider not listening to clueless morons like Gilligan?
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