Boris Johnson protesters 'scaring cyclists' claim withdrawn

Boris Johnson addressing City Hall
Image caption Mr Johnson announced plans to improve 33 junctions in the capital

Comments due to be made by London's mayor about cycling protesters "scaring" people away from using bikes were withdrawn.

In an early draft speech, Boris Johnson was set to say: "Of course I accept that people want to create pressure for action to get more Londoners cycling.

"But the risk is that the association of cycling with death... may be scaring people away."

At a City Hall event, he instead announced improvements to junctions.

Mr Johnson was due to make the speech at a cycling and haulage event, according to information circulated to the media.

Instead he said: "There is now a growing chorus of voices who say that the cycling revolution has been going too fast and that we should somehow get all these cyclists off the roads, and people look at me in an accusing way.

'Shrinking ambition'

"This analysis grossly exaggerates my messianic abilities. I am a passionate cyclist, but I am not some kind of Pied Pedaller.

"People go by bike because they love to go by bike.

"We must make cycling even safer and wherever accidents take place, we must respond.

"We must see what could have been done to prevent them, we must immediately work out what we can do to stop them happening again, and we must address people's fears, well-founded or otherwise."

He also announced 33 London junctions would be improved and he reaffirmed his £913m commitment to improving cycle safety.

Mr Johnson said the police's Operation Safeway, set up to improve road awareness, had in the past few weeks led to 755 cyclists and 1,392 motorists being fined for offences such jumping lights in London.

He also pointed out the number of cyclist deaths is the same as at this point last year, and lower than the year before.

But London Assembly Green Party member Darren Johnson said: "Over two years ago, the mayor promised to urgently overhaul 500 of the capital's most treacherous junctions, but what we are now seeing is the mayor's ambition shrinking as cycle casualties are rising."

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