City Hall Tories accused of jeopardising cyclists’ safety

City Hall Tories were accused of "playing games" with cyclists' safety today after walking out of a meeting on maintaining the 20mph speed limit on Blackfriars Bridge.

Tory members of the London Assembly were accused of “playing games” with cyclists’ safety today after walking out of a meeting on maintaining the 20mph speed limit on Blackfriars Bridge – making the meeting inquorate. Labour’s John Biggs, who represents the City of London said it was “absolutely outrageous” the Tories “couldn’t even be bothered” to debate the proposals.

He said:

“It is absolutely outrageous that Conservative members of the London Assembly cannot even be bothered to debate this very important issue. Only last week there was another accident on the bridge.

“Conservative members should not play games where the safety of vulnerable Londoners is concerned.”

Val Shawcross, who represents Southwark, the constituency at the bridge’s southern end, added:

“The motion was simply focused on cyclists’ concerns about safety on London’s road crossings and it’s unbelievable that the members of the Conservative group apparently found the issue unworthy of debate.”

The cross-party motion from Green mayoral candidate Jenny Jones demands the retention of the temporary 20mph speed limit on the bridge, pointing out the Corporation of London is considering imposing a 20mph limit on all roads within the Square Mile.

It says:

“We ask the Mayor to reconsider his rejection of a 20mph limit on Blackfriars Bridge, in the interests of the safety of all its users.”

Seven years ago, two cyclists were killed on the bridge within 15 months.

Earlier today, the Standard reported the plea of a doctor seriously injured on the bridge not to raise the speed limit:

Dr Clare Gerada, who has been cycling in London for 30 years, said she would never use the bridge again after suffering multiple fractures when she was caught between two vans as she tried to turn right from the bridge into Queen Victoria Street last Wednesday morning.

In a video message recorded for the London Cycling Campaign, the Kennington GP and chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: “I tend not to use Blackfriars Bridge. I don’t like it because traffic seems to be much faster on that bridge. I hate the junction. I always have to do a right to go into the City. It’s a really difficult job.

“I felt very exposed. I thought, ‘I have now got two fairly high-sided vehicles and I’m trapped between the two.’ The next thing I knew, the van on the right had swerved into me, and I’m on the ground.

“I wouldn’t recommend any cyclist to use Blackfriars bridge at all. It is a horrible junction. I will never use Blackfriars bridge again.”

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