Blackfriars Bridge Debate - A Waterloo Moment?
It’s hundreds of miles away, but things that happen in That London have ramifications here.
Blackfriars Bridge is one of the major commuting routes into The City - at peak hours more cyclist cross it than the combined total of taxis, private cars or busses. During recent roadworks, the speed limit has been reduced from 30mph to 20mph, creating better equality between bikes and motorised traffic.
But now those roadworks are complete, they want to raise the speed limit again to 30mph - probably so that people can drive a little quicker to the next set of red traffic lights. London’s cyclists are not happy, and a couple of weeks ago staged a flash mobbing of the road to try & get their point across:
So the issue made it to the London Assembly for debate . . . where the Conservative Members walked out, making the meeting inquorate, and effectively scuppering any chance of bringing pressure to bear on Boris “Bike” Johnson to get Transport For London (TfL) to do something about this madness.
Their reasons for this walkout are somewhat arcane, and to do with the Conservative’s feeling of injustice that the other parties are ganging up on them and excluding them from chairing any major scrutiny committees. This may or may not be a real injustice, but the fact remains that a number of conservative members of the assembly chose party politics over cyclists’ perceived safety.
These are the sorts of moments that create history - or the start of historical events at least. The question is, are London’s cyclists, and would-be cyclists, willing to mobilise and persuade enough of their friends to take action at the ballot box at the next election so as to make support of a genuinely cycling-friendly city an issue on which elections are won or lost?