Sadiq Khan, Labour’s candidate for the London mayoral election on 5 May, has said that he does not allow his two teenage daughters to cycle in the capital over fears of a lack of safety.
Khan met British Cycling policy advisor and former Olympic and world champion Chris Boardman, along with Liberal Democrat candidate Caroline Pidgeon, on Monday to discuss plans to improve cycling safety in London.
Eight cyclists died as a result of vehicle collisions in the capital last year, the joint lowest figure in 30 years, but Khan said a lot remained to be done to encourage Londoners to choose the bike over other forms of transport.
Khan told the Evening Standard: “One injury, one fatality is one too many. Speaking as a parent, I don’t feel confident allowing my daughters to cycle on the roads. That is the key test for me. If I, as a parent, don’t feel safe for my children, then I’m sure many Londoners won’t either.”
He also pledged to “increase the amount that is currently being spent” on cycling and committed to building more cycle superhighways.
“What is clear to me is that we need to make it easier and safer for people to cycle around London,” Khan said. “I want to accelerate the progress we have made over the last few years. That means rolling out cycle superhighways but learning the lessons from the previous generation.”
He added: “The ambition is to make sure that you can cycle around London in an easy and safe way. That means more cycle superhighways. That means thinking about quietways. We need to make sure we don’t cause the same upheaval that was caused by the first generation of cycle superhighways.”
Chris Boardman, who has been a vocal supporter of additional government funding for cycling over the last few years, plans to meet all mayoral candidates to speak them about their plans to promote cycling in London.
“Having a mayoral system is both an opportunity and a real danger,” Boardman said. “It does depend on individuals and characters.
“They can get an awful lot done or they can choose to not do so, to undo even what has already gone before. It’s important for me that we hear that the mayoral candidates have a proper solution for improving the life of people in London.
“I think what Boris has done is unprecedented in the country. Love him or hate him, he is the only politician in the UK that says: ‘Right, I am going to put proper funding behind this. The best part of £1 billion – and I’m going to do that for 10 years.’”