|Some of London's Mayoral candidates in the press|
As I've said recently, I feel Boris really over-promised in his first Mayoralty. Lots of blue paint, lots of PR, lots of 'manning-up' and 'keeping your wits about you' as you darted through massive, scary road junctions. That all changed in his second term and we're seeing the results of that change in policy only now. The Embankment cycle highway is only a few months off finishing; Oval junction is unrecognisably safer; CS2 now leads out east (although needs improving) and there are plans all over London (with the exception of Kensington & Chelsea who have adopted a do-nothing approach).
|A new cycle highway in action in London|
It's really interesting seeing how the various Mayoral candidates are responding to this.
|London voters in the City of London|
So far so good.
But the people I really find interesting in all this are Labour's Sadiq Khan and Conservative Zac Goldsmith.
I don't think I'd cast myself as a natural Sadiq supporter. But his campaign is really grabbing my attention. I didn't originally think it would. In the past, Sadiq had appeared on the odd bicycle in photo shoots for Lambeth Cyclists but that was about it. More recently, he's been going gangbusters to woo the cycling vote. Sadiq's cycling plan commits to continue investing in the cycle highways, in safer junctions and in 20mph zones as well as the Quietway programme. He's appeared pedalling about with Chris Boardman and told him he wants to "make London a byword for cycling".
Before he was selected as the Conservative candidate, Zac Goldsmith was full of promise. He told the Stop Killing Cyclists that more cycling was part of his plan to stop our city from "grinding to a standstill" and to reduce air pollution. He also promised to commit to cycling in his manifesto.
And since then?
|Does Zac Goldsmith think this is 'enough' cyclists|
or will he rip this up?
He told LBC radio that he would let electric cars into the bus lanes and that within two to three years there would be "no point having bus lanes". I mean, seriously? If you're a bus user or a cyclist, this sounds like hell.
And then he told LBC he would judge London's new cycle highways on the "impact on emergency services, the basis of traffic flow, on the basis of how many cyclists use them". If the cycle highways are being used, he'd be obliged to promote them, he said. Well what on earth does that mean? Does that mean that if Mayor Zac decides motor traffic flow is more important, he'll rip up the cycle highways? How many cyclists does he want using the cycle highways before he decides to rip them up? Because what he said to LBC is "if the evidence showed that [the cycle highways] didn’t work then you’d have no choice but to rip them up." Maybe he's just being reasonable but it all feels very flip-flopping. It feels quite definitely bad, though, when you think that Zac has also refused to commit to more cycle highways, he's talked a lot about promoting more "Quietways" down back streets.
I didn't expect to be thinking of voting for Sadiq. I'm still not sure if I will. But, unless Zac Goldsmith changes his tune on cycling (and on buses, to be honest), he's completely lost my attention.
Oh, by the way, try and remember to vote please. It does make a difference :-)