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Three cheers. The High Court has put a stop to CS11, the proposed cycle superhighway from Portland Place in central London to Swiss Cottage. A bad idea for many reasons.
The Mayor’s grand strategy is just a grand dream. By 2041 will 80 per cent of all trips in London be made on foot by cycle or by using public transport with death and serious injury from all road collisions eliminated? This is the vision of Sustrans, the national cycling charity and cycling lobby based in Bristol, that London and many other local authorities have been encouraged to use to outsource their road planning. Within it, there is no anticipation of the next great revolution after I ‘phones, autonomous electric vehicles. There’s a naïve belief that part of a superhighway is better than none even though it leaves cyclists vulnerable to accidents and toxic fumes where there are gaps. Their modelling so far as I can judge from their flawed work in Newcastle is based more on hope than legitimate expectation.
Underpinning it there is the mistaken belief held by many that cyclists have an equal right to the road. In fact, there is a hierarchy of entitlement. Emergency vehicles are first. Delivery vehicles next. We need them increasingly for buying on-line! Buses are next for public transport. Taxis and cars next. Last cyclists. In London they represent only 2% of those who use the roads and they pay no tax. They are not required to carry third party insurance. They often ignore the Highway Code without penalty. Their accidents increasingly burden A & E. The most they should claim is fair play to secure their safety. It will never be guaranteed by 2041 or by 2141.There will always be the unguarded moment.
The Mayor’s grand strategy should be, first and foremost, to provide tens of thousands of fast chargers for electric vehicles to help remove diesel and petrol cars that line our streets because their owners have no garages that can accommodate chargers for them. This will be the fastest way to remove pollution from our streets.