You’ve got to hand it to Boris he comes up with some cracking ideas.
It is just a shame he doesn’t think them through. His latest wheeze to run a cable-car from the Greenwich peninsular to the Royal Dock.
Only he wants it completed in time for the 2012 Olympics.
[H]is Boris bike scheme, borrowed it must be said from Paris, must have exceeded every expectation, with what seems every Londoner hiring a Boris bike – and that’s the problem. Encouraging people to abandon their cars in favour of cycling has led to an enormous rise in the number of bikes on London’s roads.
I categorize cyclists much the same as drivers – The Good; The Bad; and The Mad.
The majority fall into The Good category, but just the sheer numbers of them on London’s road, particularly in the evening rush hour, makes it impossible for them to maintain their correct positioning on the road to stay safe.
The Bad – many Boris Bike users fall into this category, clueless due to inexperience on how best to protect themselves from others on the road and their responsibilities vis-à-vis other road users. Mayoral candidate for the Green Party Jenny Jones would seem to fall into this category with her view that “taxi drivers find cyclists very challenging”, and adding “that there is a perception among taxi drivers that cyclists break the law a lot”.
A minority of cyclists have positioned themselves firmly in The Mad camp, jumping red lights; refusing to give way to pedestrians at crossings; and the Lycra Louts abusing all other road users.
To give an indication on how small is this number, The City of London Police statistics for the last three years found 66 per cent of pedestrians injured in incidents with vehicles were to blame for their own injuries and just 3 per cent were cyclists found to be at fault.
Now, I would suggest, is the time for Boris to address the problems of large numbers of cyclists on London’s roads. As with Boris Bikes ALL bikes entering the capital should be licensed with each bike carrying a small identifying number, that way The Mad minority might be encouraged to ride responsibly, and if not, it would give a means to identifying law breaking individuals that can be fined as are all other road users.
Along with the registration a simple compulsory low cost third party liability insurance scheme, giving protection for cyclists from any claims made against them.
The quid pro quo for the expanding cycling fraternity is that monies collected in fines and registration must be used to build safe cycle lanes, adequately protected from motorists. A good example of these safe cycle lanes can be found around the Bloomsbury area and are used by UCL students.
Bringing in these measures, would I believe, allow all road users to get on better.