Boris Johnson: Safety has improved for London cyclists

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Media captionBoris Johnson: "One death is one too many"

Boris Johnson says he will not be deflected from encouraging more people to cycle, as riding a bike in London is "safer than in previous years".

He said he "bitterly, bitterly regretted" the recent deaths but added that statistically the number of fatalities had decreased.

The mayor said from 2008-12 there were 68 deaths while in the five-year period 2003-07 the figure was 82.

But Baroness Jenny Jones said serious injuries had gone up.

The London Assembly Green Party member said in 2008 the killed or seriously injured (KSI) rate for cyclists was one for every 400,000 cycling trips, while in 2011 this figure had come down to one in every 364,000 trips.

Transport for London is investing £1bn in infrastructure to improve cycling in London. This includes expanding Cycle Superhighway 2 (CS2), a segregated route for cyclists, across the city.

At Mayor's Question Time, Lady Jones demanded the mayor to "apologise to the families of those who have been killed and seriously injured on the road because of these flawed cycle policies".

The mayor replied, calling for her to apologise for "continued scaremongering about cycling".

'Boris bashing'

The debate follows the deaths of six cyclists on the capital's roads in the past two weeks.

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Media captionChris Boardman: "64% of the deaths we see each year on the roads involve HGVs"

Chris Boardman, Olympic gold medallist and British Cycling's policy adviser, has called for more action to protect cyclists from lorries but said he did not want to join in with "Boris bashing".

"Boris is the only person who had the guts to do something about cycling in London," Mr Boardman said.

But he said he was "disappointed" that Mr Johnson had not acted on a "verbal promise" he made to him in March to look at restricting the movements of heavy vehicles during peak hours.

Speaking to the Assembly, Mr Johnson said: "What is difficult is to imagine that we could somehow ban them all together from London roads when they are needed for construction - they are needed to keep the economy going.

"What you can do is make them much safer - I will certainly look, I don't want to rule it out.

"We are going to look at all the options."

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