Cyclists are to blame for road deaths: TfL board member

Cyclists only have themselves to blame for fatal collisions on the roads, a member of Boris Johnson's transport board suggested today.

"I would say the biggest danger to London cyclists on the roads in London are actually themselves," Transport for London board member and chairman of the National Express Group, Sir John Armitt said this morning.

"The way in which many, many, many of them ride one is surprised that in fact the number of accidents is not far larger because it is an entirely different way of cycling to which you see in many other cities," Armitt, who is also Chairman of the National Express Group added

Armitt's comments came as he attempted to block Johnson's proposals to install a number of new segregated cycle lanes across London.

The new lanes have widespread public support. A YouGov poll conducted last year found that 64% backed the scheme with just 24% opposed.

However, Armitt said he did not take such polling seriously.

"The opinion polls are pretty valueless quite frankly because there is no explanation of who is actually responding.

"Without knowing where somebody is coming from when they respond to an opinion poll then it is pretty difficult to take on board the support or non-support for a scheme."

Armitt was joined by several other board members who raised opposition to the scheme including Canary Wharf finance director Peter Anderson and representatives from London's taxi trade. The board were urged to delay the scheme and hold further consultations and trials before going ahead. 

This was rejected by Johnson who said there had already been extensive consideration of the scheme. The meeting then took a dramatic turn as TfL commissioner Peter Hendy interrupted to say there had just been another collision between a cyclist and a coach.

There has been a significant rise in the number of cyclists on London's roads in recent years accompanied by a rise in serious injuries and fatalities.

This has been followed by a successful campaign by cyclists to persuade Johnson to install new segregated lanes and other measures to make the roads safer for cyclists.

However, the proposals have been opposed by a number of organisations in London. As revealed last year, this opposition has extended to the senior ranks of TfL itself.

However despite this opposition, Johnson's cycle superhighway plans were passed by the TfL board today. 

The London Taxi Driver's Association are currently considering taking the decision to a judicial review.