The Conservative Assembly members walkout is an outcome few could have predicted from the Blackfriars Bridge cycle safety discussion.
The discussion largely surrounds a 20mph limit that has been in place during construction work on the bridge. TfL, with the support of Mayor Boris Johnson, plan on removing the 20mph limit in favour of a 30mph limit. The reasoning being, traffic congestion would follow, if the limit is not raised.
There is a growing list of supporters for the 20mph limit. Not least of which is the City of London, which has recommended a 20mph limit on all of London’s central bridges. Support has also come from Labour, the Liberal-Democrats and the Greens. It seemed the only people standing in the way of a certain victory for cyclists and pedestrians are the Conservative Assembly Members.
The supporters of the 20mph have presented a compelling argument. On a bridge where the number of cyclists and pedestrians already outweighs the number of motorists, it seems completely illogical to raise the speed limit. From the perspective of a cyclist, it is not only less pleasant to cycle next to high moving traffic but also more difficult for anyone wishing to change lanes.
Whilst experienced cyclists may scoff at this notion, it is not the experienced cyclists that need to be encouraged to use their bicycle as a way of getting around. As the author of the Crap Walthamstow blog put it:
So what’s next?
Emails from Local London Assembly members, John Briggs and Valerie Shawcross, indicate that this will again be raised at the next Transport for London Committee meeting. With increasing attention on the issue it is highly unlikely it will just slide.
The walkout is reported to not be in relation relation to this motion, but instead over a debate of the number of Conservative chairs of committees as well as some off-hand comments by Ken Livingstone regarding a Conservative member.
The indicators are that the 20mph limit motion will eventually pass.