Is Boris Johnson Chicken?
So yesterday in London another cyclist was killed. That makes fifteen so far this year, and it happened on the same roundabout, on the same Cycling Superhighway as the fourteenth - just three weeks ago.
The London Cycling Campaign (LCC) is calling for the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson to immediately have this roundabout re-designed. But Boris doesn’t seem to understand - despite his apparent bumbling approach to, well, pretty much everything, he IS an experienced and confident cyclist. So talking about another one of London’s killer junctions earlier in the week, he said,
The problem is that most people don’t / can’t / won’t keep their wits about them. Transport for most is just a means to an end. Most people (the 98% of people who don’t regularly cycle in the UK) don’t enjoy having to make their journeys to work / the shops / to pick their kids up from school / wherever in a state of heightened awareness that’s usually only found in small mammals in the presence of large, fast-moving, efficient predators.
People can claim that if cyclists just paid the same care and attention as motorists (which I think is what Boris is trying to do about the Elephant & Castle), all would be well with the world. But that’s not the case - motorists are always getting into minor scrapes, prangs and fender-benders. Encased in a couple of tons of armour these are largely irrelevant to the drivers themselves. A bit of touch-up paint here, a little filler there and the occasional insurance claim is all the damage done.
Involve a pedestrian or someone riding a bike in one of these minor prangs though, and an accident can quickly become a tragedy.
The LCC is pressing for Boris to actually do something about these horrors, but I’m not sure he’s yet minded to listen. With the Olympics to focus on, and the prospect of a monumental U-turn (please use your mirrors first) on huge chunks of transport policy, I can see Boris striding to the 2012 Mayoral elections with his fingers firmly in his ears on this.
2012 Mayor elections - just six months away?
So how’s about this for the LCC. On the assumption that the Mayor isn’t going to listen, this issue needs to become one that impacts directly on the election. One of my favourite TV series is The West Wing. One episode features as a political stunt someone turning up to an opponent’s rally dressed in a chicken costume.
The thing is, Boris would probably just about get away with being photographed shaking hands with a chicken. So instead of a chicken, let’s make it someone dressed as the Grim Reaper. Riding a Boris bike. And let’s have them turn up at every single election campaign event that Boris attends.
No need to shout, or EVEN TO SPEAK IN CAPITAL LETTERS at Boris’ events. Just turn up, stand at the back, and hold the scythe in quiet dignity. I think people will get the message.