In 2008, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson became a recognisable symbol across London. He carefully crafted an image of himself which, more often than not, included a trusted bicycle by his side. In the minds of Londoners it conveyed friendliness, at one with the people and emphasis on green credentials. However, after his four year stint at city hall has this all proven to be little more than political propaganda?
Boris slashed London Cycle Network funding in half, presided over a period of record air pollution in London narrowly missing a £300m EU fine and scrapped the western part of the congestion charging zone.
His two big projects to woo cyclists were the cycle superhighways and the cycle hire scheme. Whilst the cycle hire scheme is largely seen as a success, it was originally touted as being paid for entirely by sponsorship. The cycle superhighways meanwhile have drawn widespread criticism for being far too expensive and dramatically under delivering on safe route creation.
All of this, and far more, is covered extensively in a new polemical eBook just released. Written by Sonia Purnell, author of Just Boris, the 21 page eBook called Pedal Power is available on the Kindle.
Pedal Power chronicles Boris Johnson’s time in office. From the shedding of his petrolhead GQ motoring columnist credentials to his failings to respond to the tragic deaths of cyclists on London’s roads.
The eBook is littered with media-savy quotes from Boris such as “In 1904, twenty per cent of journeys were made by bicycle in London. I want to see a figure like that again.” and “I am determined to turn London into a cyclised city – a civilised city where people can ride their bikes safely and easily in a pleasant environment”. As most London cyclists will agree this is far from being delivered.
With Londoners taking to the polls there’s no doubt the Pedal Power eBook doesn’t come at a great time for Boris. The London Cycling Campaign recently conducted an indepth analysis of the candidates manifestos and their promises to cyclists. They concluded that Livingstone and Jenny Jones had the most to deliver for cyclists.
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