Hi @mayoroflondon. So you’re a cyclist! I’m a cyclist too. But I’ve stopped cycling. Why? Because I don’t feel safe on London roads anymore. I think I’m quite good at cycling. That’s not a brag – it’s what I’ve deduced from the facts. In my old job, I’d cycle 30 miles a day, on busy roads. I didn’t find it a trial, though some areas weren’t great. On the whole, it was a good experience. But I got a new job and moved into a new flat on the other side of South London. Now cycling’s horrible. To get to work, I have to cycle over Elephant & Castle which is frankly terrifying. My pedestrian friends find the concept obscene, and my cyclist friends would rather push their bikes through the subways. We shouldn’t have to do that. Then I travel over Blackfriars Bridge. Since you ignored cyclists’ campaigning for a 20mph speed limit, it’s become a rat run. I work shifts, you see. So the Tories’ claim that cars wouldn’t travel over 20mph only works if you travel solely at rush hour. Then I have to battle through to King’s Cross, swerving to avoid taxis constantly. And at King’s Cross, there’s the most awful junction I’ve ever seen, that turns from two to five lanes of traffic. Five lanes of traffic? In the middle of a city? It’s rare that all vehicles know what they’re doing, so I have to constantly be on my guard for cars turning sharply where they shouldn’t. Once the lights go green at the turning for York Way it’s a free for all. I haven’t got enough fingers to count the illegal turns I’ve seen. Four cyclists in five years have been killed there. One would be too many. Four is ridiculous. When I finish work, and think of long slog home in the dark, with the dangerous turns, junctions and bridges, I never feel pleased I’ve cycled.
So I’ve stopped cycling. My incredibly experienced flatmate has too. It’s just so much easier to sit on a train, than it is to risk my life day in day out. It might sound melodramatic, but it really isn’t. I ended up in an ambulance, inhaling gas and air and having my jeans cut off two months ago, after a van that was parked in one of your Cycle Superhighways hit me in Clapham. I really like cycling, but your reluctance to make it safe or enjoyable has ruined that. It’s not enough for you to be photographed looking jolly on a bike. You also need to give a toss about cyclists’ safety. You said in one of your books (you write an awful lot of books. Amazing you have time, what with being a full-time Mayor, and having a column in the Telegraph) that “Every successful bicycle journey should be counted as a triumph over [death]“. It certainly feels as though that’s the case in London.