Boris Johnson is just not bothered about cyclists using Henlys Corner

Below is a transcript from the London Assembly Plenary session on 20 June 2012.

Andrew Dismore (AM):  Mr Mayor, I hope that cycling safety is also a cause for concern for you.  In light of your exchange with Assembly Member Boff at Mayor’s Question Time on 23 May, how many of the 16 cyclists who were killed inLondon last year would you say died because of their own fault?

Boris Johnson (Chair of Transport for London):  I think, if I may say so, that every cycling fatality is a tragedy.  We try to look at the circumstances surrounding all of them.  I am fairly certain that TfL does a pretty detailed analysis of what we think went wrong in each case.  I do not want to get into discussions of whose fault tragedies are, except to say it is obviously vital that we on our side do everything we can through investment in the road network, through interventions, through mitigations, to reduce the risk.  Symmetrically, it is important that cyclists do everything they can to make sure they are not putting themselves in harm’s way.

Andrew Dismore (AM):  In light of that, do you accept the findings of the TfL study in 2010 that showed that, for accidents involving cyclists, motorists were responsible for three times as many as were the cyclists themselves, bearing in mind your suggestion at the last Mayor’s Question Time that cyclists were largely responsible through road infractions?

Boris Johnson (Chair of Transport for London):  I do not want to get into bandying of statistics, Andrew, accept to say that most motorists and most cyclists will accept that there will be occasions when there is at least shared responsibility, and it is vital that both sides of the equation obey the rules of the road and understand that there are going to be difficult moments; there are going to be areas, spaces, where space is going to be contested between motorists and cyclists, and it is particularly vital then that everybody obeys the rules of the road.  We can do absolutely everything in our power to improve the road network, to invest in traffic lights and do the things that we are trying to do now with 500 junctions and roundabouts, but there is also an obligation I think, most fair-minded people say there is an obligation on cyclists to minimise the risks to them by obeying the rules.

Andrew Dismore (AM):  All right, OK, well I do not think I want to dispute that, but I think if I accepted, and from what you say, that it is part of your responsibility too to make sure that cyclists are kept safe and this blame-the-cyclist routine is something of a smokescreen to divert attention from that responsibility.  I will give you a specific example:  Henly’s Corner. I am sure you are familiar with it because you visited it during the election and with a great fanfare you claimed credit for the remodelling of the junction, but in fact it is a lot more dangerous for cyclists going on north/south and vice versa.  So could I put this to you: will you visit Henly’s Corner again, this time with me and local cyclists, so we can show you why exactly it has got worse and what needs changing, and will you therefore consider changing it in light of their representations?

Boris Johnson (Chair of Transport for London):  Before I accept an invitation to make a visit with you, Andrew, no matter how exciting I may find that prospect, and how attractive and altogether convivial, I am sure it would be, can I first get some detail on what is happening at Henly’s Corner?  My impression of Henly’s Corner, I have to say, was that it had been greatly improved because of a very substantial investment that we made.  I am —

Andrew Dismore (AM):  It has been improved for motorists, there is no doubt it is a lot easier if you are a driver, but I have been there with the cyclists and I can see exactly what the problem is, they have been overlooked, and I would urge you to go back and have a look with me and the cyclists to see that.  The key point here is the cyclists have become very concerned about your approach as expressed in your exchanges at the last Mayor’s Question Time in May, so will you make it clear, will you apologise to those cyclists who have been offended by your suggestion that it is primarily them who are responsible for road accidents in cyclists?

Boris Johnson (Chair of Transport for London):  I think —


Darren Johnson (Deputy Chair in the Chair):  Assembly Member Cleverly, if you want to intervene then put your hand up rather than constant heckling.  Thank you.

Boris Johnson (Chair of Transport for London):  I do not think it is my job to apologise to everybody to whom I cause offence the whole time.  I think it would be a non-stop itinerary of apology.  I offend everybody in one way or the other.  I have to restrict my apologies a bit here, Andrew.  What I do think – and I stick to my guns and I am going to say it again – is that I love cycling. I cycle every day. I came by bike here, and did anybody not cycle to work today?  Who did not cycle to work?  Wow, what is wrong with you people?  It is a beautiful day.  What are you doing?  Why are you not on your bicycles, you are absolutely out of your minds.



Andrew Dismore

Will the Mayor review the layout of Henly’s Corner to improve safety for cyclists?

Written answer from the Chair and the Commissioner

Major improvements to the highway layout at Henly’s Corner were completed in December 2011, including new facilities for cyclists and pedestrians, whilst also providing better conditions for the movement of traffic on the A1 and A406. 

The scheme provides signal controlled pedestrian and cyclist crossing facilities on all arms of the junction and has reinstated the off-carriageway cycle path on the south side of the A406, allowing safe movement of cyclists along and across the North Circular. The pre- and post-implementation Road Safety Audits have not raised any significant cycle safety issues that have not been addressed and I therefore do not at this stage propose to ask TfL to review the layout of this new junction.