Met Commissioner 'would not cycle' in London

Bernard Hogan-Howe Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said he would not cycle in London due to the vulnerability of cyclists

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The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has revealed he would not cycle in London, following six fatalities in the city within two weeks.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said cyclists were too vulnerable and traffic too busy on the city's roads.

He said: "If you get it wrong, or the driver gets it wrong, the person that's going to pay is the cyclist."

The Mayor of London's office said Boris Johnson had committed £1bn to improving cycle safety in the city.

Mr Hogan-Howe was speaking to BBC London 94.9 after six cyclists were killed in a period of two weeks on London's roads.

Police operation

He said: "Of course some people don't have the choice, economically.

"If you've got someone who can't afford to take a car into the congestion zone, if they did, you can't park it anyway.

"I understand why they take the choice, [but] it wouldn't be mine."

In a statement released later, Sir Bernard added: "I was expressing a personal view as a non-cyclist and I would like to clarify my position.

Health benefits

"There is no doubt that despite the growth of cycling in London, it has got safer and its cost effectiveness and health benefits make it an attractive option for many people."

The number of cyclists killed in crashes in London so far this year stands at 14, the same as the figure for the whole of 2012.

Over the next week more than 2,000 police officers will be deployed in an operation to try to make the roads safer.

The House of Commons Transport Committee is also to hold an oral evidence session on cycle safety on December 2 to "stimulate debate".

Committee chairman Louise Ellman said the deaths this year had raised the issue of restricting lorries, and the behaviour of drivers and cyclists.

Fatal cycle crashes The map shows when and where the fatal crashes took place

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  • rate this

    Comment number 429.

    Traffic signage, traffic lights and lane discipline apply to all road users. If drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists obey the rules, queue behind each other at lights (cyclists & motorcyclists) and do not overtake each other in urban areas because their vehicle can go faster than the other (this applies to drivers, motor cyclists and cyclists) their would be fewer cyclist and motorcyclist deaths.

  • rate this

    Comment number 428.


    Do you know if "riding furiously" is still on the statute books? I think it may be. But has anyone actually been prosecuted since the war? (Isn't it the same offence that can be brought against horse riders?)

    Is there any offence that can be committed by pedestrians who collide with a bike, car or other pedestrians while being unaware of their surroundings or even running?

  • rate this

    Comment number 427.

    I take my chopper in to work at least once a week. Even if it is to impress the ladies and make the men envious.

  • rate this

    Comment number 426.

    ..the large vehicle turns left and cannot see the cyclist who has pulled up alongside. The obvious safety measure is to cycle behind the vehicle instead

    Yeah except they pull alongside you, then a few yards later turn left. as soon as their cab has passed some of them either forget you exist or that there's a long lorry attached to the back of the cab

  • rate this

    Comment number 425.

    I still have a bike - and I used to ride in London about a decade ago and three things have happened since first I am older, second there is more traffic and third my current bike folds and is worn out.

    I rode extensively as a child (a long time ago) - but ex-wife 'persuaded' me to give my good lightweight bike to her younger brother a while back - she didn't like me riding - too risky!

  • rate this

    Comment number 424.

    I'd like to cycle but I know I would not be able to resist the use of an iPod while using it. I can't even manage that when walking more than a mile. I think cycling is a more than valid form of transport but there needs to be done to make sure it's safe and efficient, and simply fining/charging drivers for often irrelevant or petty things isn't the answer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 423.

    419 True Brit:

    'most bicycle users on the road today do not observe highway code and drive dangerously in particular over taking cars on the pavement side'.

    That is not dangerous driving and doesn't fall foul of the Highway Code. You are allowed to pass on the left if traffic on the right is moving slower than you. It is far safer than going outside and potentially on the other side of the road!

  • rate this

    Comment number 422.

    I last rode a bike in London in my early teens and wouldn't get on a bike now - too many idiots on the road. Until we have proper bike paths such as in Amsterdam WITH cyclist right of way, cycling will never be safe, superhighways for bikes are inadequate. Get on your bike? Not interested in being another Govt statistic.

  • rate this

    Comment number 421.

    Media hype.

    The fatalities were caused by tipper trucks and buses. It is a scenario familiar to anyone who remembers the driving test Hazards video. At a junction the large vehicle turns left and cannot see the cyclist who has pulled up alongside. The obvious safety measure is to cycle behind the vehicle instead.

    The truth is that London roads are amongst the safest they've ever been.

  • rate this

    Comment number 420.

    416 Quo Vadis
    No, I live in the Fens - c**p roads with ditches on both sides but have several cars (including a 4x4 for winter and a kit-car for playing) - I have no problem parking, am civilised towards cyclists (unless MAMILs all over the road), and an overall nice person :) even if I say it myself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 419.

    I am a regular bicycle user and a driver for many years and sad to say that most bicycle users on the road today do not observe highway code and drive dangerously inparticlar over taking cars on the pavement side they also drive in the drivers blind spot in slow moving traffic. most have dark clothes and no lights and no headgear

  • rate this

    Comment number 418.

    It's odd how it is always car v cyclist. Yet most cyclist accidents involve HGVs, not cars. And most fatalities on London roads are pedestrians. Nobody seems to mention them. And so many cyclists who fume with righteous indignation at careless car driving see no inconsistency in their own reckless disregard toward even more vulnerable pedestrians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 417.

    I find it quite a sorry state of affairs that in these days of councils cutting their budgets and getting rid of homeless hostels, drug rehabilitation centres etc somehow money is still found for new cycle lanes and routes that wouldn't be needed if cyclists would follow the highway code and the occasional car driver would show a bit more attention.

  • rate this

    Comment number 416.

    Yes, Quo Vadis, they do this on the continent, with special traffic light for cyclists, but it costs too much to change things here, I fear... nagivatorjan, I could not agree with you more - unless you have a 'place in the country' as well, what's the point? We are talking Shephers Bush here..., purely a status symbol im most cases...

  • rate this

    Comment number 415.

    Sorry - should have linked to 301.
    Am cyclist and motorist and see the worst of both camps. Would like to see an overall improvement in attitudes from each side - doubt it'll happen overnight though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 414.

    412 Quo Vadis
    Many junctions have a box for cyclists so that they can get away first. The trouble is they wear out and too many drivers stop in them instead. I can't be bothered to look the fine up, but it's quite sizeable, but NO-ONE GETS PROSECUTED FOR IT.
    Good night, peeps!

  • rate this

    Comment number 413.

    further comment on 408

    He parked the car with great difficulty, having to reverse three times though it was an easy slot. This elderly guy needs to have his driving licence taken away from him as he clearly does not understand the highway code and thinks the universe evolves around him, and he clearly is not capable of carrying out basic car manoeuvres anymore!

  • rate this

    Comment number 412.

    Perhaps a simple solution would be to allow cyclists to proceed at junctions 15-20 seconds before general traffic is given a green light, as it seems that a high percentage of accidents happen at junctions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 411.

    408 Ursi
    Why does anyone need a 4x4 in London? Where I live we have a lot of countryside, so they come in handy, but you don't have that I London and I don't think there's any mud either. And if you can't reverse into a parking space, you shouldn't be on the road, As a 61-yr-old female, I find it a piece of cake.

  • rate this

    Comment number 410.

    You mean like motorists cocooned in their metal boxes with radios or mp3 players on full blast or using the phone or drinking coffee whilst they drive?


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    Battersea Power Station

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    "The lights went out and we knew water had got into the hull," said Iain Philpott, who was a 26-year-old fashion photographer, from Highbury, north London. "There were lots of screams and next thing, we were all in the water."


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    Marchioness The Marchioness collided with the dredger Bowbelle

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    as it happened
    • News, sport, travel, weather for Weds 20 August
    • More updates from 08:00 on Thursday
    • Listen to BBC London 94.9
    New temple opens 08:34:

    A £20m Hindu temple has opened in north west London, funded entirely by the local community.

    The exterior of the Shree Swaminarayan Siddhant Sajivan Mandal Temple in Kingsbury The Shree Swaminarayan Siddhant Sajivan Mandal Temple in Kingsbury opened on 19 August

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    08:00: Elaine Okyere BBC London News

    Good morning, I'll be bringing you all the latest news, sport, travel and weather from London today for BBC Local Live.

    You can also send your news, pictures and comments to



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