Boris Johnson has been accused of "gross insensitivity" and "dodging responsibility" after suggesting that the deaths of five cyclists on the streets of London over the past nine days underlined the need for cyclists to obey the laws of the road (Guardian).
The mayor of London also appeared to shrug off calls for an urgent, independent review of cycling safety in the capital, arguing that if cyclists did not follow the rules "there’s no amount of traffic engineering that we invest in that is going to save people’s lives".
Mr Johnson’s remarks came hours after a man in his 30s became the 13th cyclist to die on London’s streets this year after he was hit by a bus in east London.
Discussing the deaths in a radio interview on Thursday morning, Boris Johnson said that, while there could be "no question of blame or finger-pointing", cyclists had a duty to obey the laws of the road and heed signals.
"Some of the cases that we’ve seen in the last few days really make your heart bleed because you can see that people have taken decisions that really did put their lives in danger," he told Nick Ferrari on LBC 97.3.
"You cannot blame the victim in these circumstances. But what you can say is that when people make decisions on the road that are very risky – jumping red lights, cycling across fast-moving traffic to get to somewhere in a way that is completely unexpected by the motorist and without looking to see what traffic is doing – it’s very difficult for the traffic engineers to second-guess that."
Transport for London said investigations into the incidents were still underway and that it was too early to say precisely what had happened.
The national cycling charity, the CTC, said the mayor was failing in his duty to cyclists and accused him of seeking scapegoats. "Boris Johnson’s attempt to deflect blame on to cyclists is grossly insensitive after five fatalities in nine days," said Roger Geffen, CTC’s campaigns and policy director.
The string of recent deaths prompted the former Labour transport secretary Andrew Adonis to call for action. "The mayor should appoint a rapid independent review of superhighways after the horror of all these cyclist deaths in London," he said.
Click here to read the full Guardian report.