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 69.

    The law requires me to have a roadworthy car, insurance and a licence to drive. I must be identifiable, safe, not distracted by a phone & certainly not under the influence of anything.

    Yet they expect me to be held responsible if they overtake me on the inside through a red light at 40mph with an ipod in their ears in the dark with no lights ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    perhaps if he got his offices out policing and getting the dangerous drivers , rather than letting camera raise revenues we would have better outcomes ,

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    Cycle in London, I wouldn't even want to visit London! Give me the open spaces of the North any day where you can cycle in relative safety breathing in the fresh court air, now it's muck spreading time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    @13 "Roads are for cars, buses, vans and lorries"

    Also cyclists and horses.

    There are exceptions, motorways for example.

    Maybe if there was a national cycle path network covering the whole country you may have a point. As there is not, you don't have a point.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    16. oldmaggie Cyclists in London tend to be members of LCC or CTC. Membership gives £10m of public liability insurance, so cyclists typically are insured. As you know the VED (which I presume is what you meant by road tax which doesn’t exist) is based on emissions, and cycles are zero emission vehicles so they are exempt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    I'm a bit bored with the road tax argument. Some cars don't pay this anyway. My wife and I cycle several times a week and both drive. Most drivers and cyclists are sensible/respectful, some aren't.

    Trying to make it a cars versus bikes issue is just bigotry. We have a safety issue, but take bikes off London roads and there would be chaos. Cars with one person in a city don't make sense to me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    Many accidents involving cyclists are caused by their utter disregard for anything driving or walking around them. As a pedestrian I am sick of them weaving in and out of traffic (idiocy), running reds lights if they can't get through then resorting to pavements. The day they ban bicycles from the roads will be a joyous one!

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    I cycle in London, I'm about to head out in on my Brompton now and yes it's very dangerous. The problem is a lack of respect from all road users to each other - the police should have clamped down on bad driving and bad cycling years ago before it got to this. I get so angry sometimes I have to stop fellow cyclists because the stuff I see them do reflects badly on all of us as do bad car drivers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    I wouldn't cycle in London

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    When it comes to health and safety we are all responsible for our own safety and those around us. cyclists have to ride responsibly and drivers have drive in the same manner. Nobody purposely runs into a cyclist or anyone else but mistakes are made, we are all human after all.
    Everybody must take more care and treat all other road users with respect. Roads are dangerous take more care.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    The man's an idiot. Cycling fatalities for this calendar year won't be out of the ordinary. The medium term trend is for fatalities to hold steady or decline despite the ever increasing number of journeys. Cycling in London is not particularly dangerous. The recent spike in fatalities was preceded by a much lower than average fatality rate over an extended period, which went unreported of course.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    I don't know whether I'm surprised to see the offensive quantity of victim-blaming on this comments page (these things attract people who like conflict), but on a point of fact: there is no such thing as 'Road Tax'. We all pay for roads out of general taxation - and if the millions who cycle attempted to drive or use the tubes, you'd have to stay at home. It's not a fad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    Once again the car v' cyclist arguments start.

    I own both like many so it frustrates me to read idiotic comments from both drivers and cyclists, but lets be fair its people who have never been on a bicycle ever or not for a long long time that make up the hate brigade.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    I was in Stockholm a few months ago and bikes are everywhere. It was just like London but without the Attitude.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    Is this how it felt to be a minority before we evolved?

    I cycle a lot and drive a lot.

    I've seen some really stupid driving out there and I've seen some really stupid cycling.

    I have a brain so I know that generalising based on a few observations is stupid. i.e. all Motorists are a menace is offensive to most and plainly wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    Bernard Hogan-Howe -> 'traffic too busy on the city's roads.'

    I wonder why that might be.

    No points for guessing the correct answer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    After WW2 cycle tracks were built but cyclists refused to use them saying it was driving them off the roads. So UK roads and streets have sadly developed without a thought for cycling. Tokens like blue paint on roads that nobody understands, and the crazy idea of putting cyclists right across the road at urban traffic lights are all that have been done. We need a complete rethink and re-build.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    OK, I fully accept that cyclists are vulnerable and will come off worst in a collision with any other road vehicle.
    However, can we convince them or educate them sufficiently to realise that pedestrians are in exactly the same position with respect to bikes?
    I have heard much about cyclists jumping red lights "for their own safety", sorry but your actions endanger me as I attempt to cross roads

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    What's wrong with the bus or the tube?!

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    well the safety issue yes... but also cos he gets a chauffeur-driven car


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