It’s not just the cyclist community that is opposed to it.
Now a local politician and a former London police officer are adding their voices to the chorus of critics slamming a road-safety blitz led by city hall and London police that also targets cyclists and pedestrians.
“Pedestrians and cyclists are often the victims and the most vulnerable road users, but the message from this seems to be that it is cyclists and pedestrians that are at fault and most culpable in road injuries, and I don’t think that’s true,” said Coun. Stephen Turner.
Steven Goodine, a retired police inspector who spent 30 years with London police, took to Twitter to express his discontent with the measure, which has sparked criticism among local cycling advocates since it was launched Monday.
“Intravenous drug users are vulnerable . . . so we should charge them? . . . No, we provide a safe place to ensure they are less vulnerable . . . same as bikes . . . provide a safe space!” Goodine wrote on Twitter.
These types of blitz should focus instead on targeting behaviours more likely to cause collisions, such as distracted driving and speeding, Turner added.
“It’s up to police to determine where the priorities lie, but I think those are consistent with where the higher risks are,” he said.
“I think this is backwards in the order of operation.”
The enforcement campaign is part of city hall’s road safety strategy Vision Zero, an initiative aimed at eliminating crash-related pedestrian and cyclist deaths and injuries.
In the last five years, there have been 371 pedestrian collisions and 193 cyclist crashes reported at or near signal intersections in the city, according to statistics collected by police.
Police said the goal of the blitz was “to address some of the most common motorist, pedestrian and cyclist violations,” adding all users have a role to play in road safety.
“While we’ve heard criticism in relation to the blitz itself, our priority continues to be on education and safety surrounding all road users,” said Const. Sandasha Bough, a London police spokesperson.
During the launch of the blitz, which wraps up Friday, police said they would be keeping an eye on dangerous behaviour from pedestrians and cyclists, especially around intersections.
Some of these behaviours include things like jaywalking, pedestrians who hang out on road medians or are distracted by their phones, and cyclists riding their bikes without proper equipment.
But for Rebecca Henderson, a Western PhD candidate researching London cycling, the blitz may reinforce negative attitudes and biases toward cyclists, whose No. 1 priority is personal safety.
“The opinions may be unspoken but public opinion can be indifferent to cycling or regard it as quirky or fringe, or possibly even hostile to it, that car travel is the norm, and cyclists are unpredictable or have a poor reputation,” said Henderson, who is also a member of city hall’s cycling advisory committee.
“People on bikes don’t want to ride near high traffic volume, high speeds or on broken pavement, and so they will take the lane to prioritize their personal safety.”
Final numbers on any tickets or warning issued to offenders won’t be available until next week, Bough said.
Date: September 21, 2019