Janet Street-Porter has attacked the increase in cycle infrastructure in London, saying that she has “finally had enough of Boris Johnson – the man who has brought a wonderful city to its knees in the name of cycling”.
Writer and broadcaster Street-Porter used her column in the Independent to set out her strong opinion that London’s Cycle SuperHighway’s are “Boris’s Follies” and that they are causing “gridlock” in London and increasing, rather than reducing, pollution.
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Street-Porter also accuses cyclists of being treated as “closer to God or a higher power”.
“Walking in London, one of my favourite pastimes, is now a vile activity as the level of pollution from traffic fumes has soared,” wrote Street-Porter, who was formerly president of the Ramblers’ Association.
“Soon, pedestrians will be following their counterparts in Tokyo, wearing anti-smog masks. Building cycle lanes has not deterred car use. It means that traffic has to fit into a much smaller space and so it is reduced to a crawl.”
“Why should cyclists get preferential treatment over pedestrians?” Street-Porter continued. “What about the young, the elderly and the disabled who may not want or be able to cycle and who cannot use public transport? By championing bikes to such a ludicrous level, as his ‘legacy’ project, Boris is as blinkered as the car lobby and lorry drivers.”
Street-Porter then tries to point out that cycling does not have the same amount of regulation as other forms of transport (although she doesn’t mention walking), saying: “There’s not even a legal requirement for bikes to undergo MOTs.
“Millions and millions of pounds is being spent on a totally unregulated activity, and anyone who has been in the city of London in the evening can witness the insanity of completely inexperienced cyclists wobbling around without any head protection or knowledge of the Highway Code.”
“You can rent a bike and potentially kill pedestrians or other road users, with no checks whatsoever.”
Former world and Olympic champion Chris Boardman dismissed Street-Porter’s article, saying via his Twitter account: “This what you have to do when you don’t have logic, evidence or a moral case to support what you want: shout and stamp”.
Johnson will end his term as Mayor of London in May, when the mayoral elections will appoint a new leader in City Hall. Cycling continues to be a key part of all of the candidates manifestos, with Labour’s Sadiq Khan pledging to increase spending on cycling in London.