Unite, Britain’s biggest union, which represents London’s bus and taxi drivers, is calling on Boris Johnson to take urgent action to stop the tragic loss of life on the streets of the capital.
The union is urging the Mayor to invest, as a matter of urgency, in safe and effective cycle routes, separated from other road users to reduce the practice of cyclists using the capital’s congested bus lanes.
The number of cyclists on London’s streets has trebled in recent years, but the Mayor’s infrastructure strategy and spending policy is nowhere near enough to cope with the influx and is wholly inadequate.
James Mitchell, Unite executive member for passenger services, said: Our thoughts are with the families of the 13 cyclists who have lost their lives this year. Every death is a terrible tragedy made worse by the Mayor’s apparent failure to take the safety of cyclists seriously.
“Our bus driver members have been deeply affected by the tragic loss of life on our roads, and recognise the vulnerability of cyclists vying for space on London’s increasingly busy roads.
"Boris Johnson’s spending policy for cyclists is lagging behind reality. The Mayor and his cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan have a lot to answer for, following their deeply inappropriate and insensitive comments. Their blasé remarks show utter contempt for the health and safety of all road users.
Jim Kelly, Unite taxi representative, said: “Unite’s bus and taxi driver members report that in many places the Mayor’s blue Cycle Super Highways are not fit for purpose – a bit of blue paint is simply not enough to keep cyclists safe.
“Urgent action is needed to develop a safe cycling network that takes cyclists away from the capital’s busiest and most congested thoroughfares. An example of good practice can be found in Cable Street East London, where cyclists have a route segregated from traffic - a safe alternative to the busy Commercial Road.”
Unite is calling for a stronger commitment to provide adequate resources and a speedy response to address the very serious health and safety issues on London’s roads then we have had so far from the Mayor and his cycling commissioner.
For further information contact Jim Kelly, Unite chair of the London cab committee on 07929 008 758 or Chantal Chegrinec, Unite communications officer, on 07774 146 777
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.