London Travelwatch are an organization that describes itself as "the voice of London's transport users." I think you can probably tell already where this post is going...
"We want to see the best journey experience possible for everyone travelling in and around London."
they enthuse. And they've launched a document called "Transport users priorities for the 2012-26 Mayoral term"
Let's take a quick look at what they have to say about cycling. Nothing at all. Or to put it another way, diddly squat, nul, nada. Oh, except in a section entitled "Enforcing the rules":
"The Mayor must publicise and enforce the rules if
Londoners are to travel with confidence."
Sounds good...but wait - what rules are to be enforced?
"Parking controls, bus lanes and other forms of traffic
management must be enforced consistently to
ensure that bus passengers are not delayed, and
that buses can pull up beside bus stops. Pavement
obstructions, cyclists ignoring red lights, passengers
with their feet on seats, dropping litter, and motorists
driving uninsured vehicles are all unacceptable forms
of behaviour which must be discouraged."
Ah, so they know cyclists exist. Interesting how they think that "parking controls" and "motorists driving uninsured vehicles" rank higher than, say, dangerous driving in respect of travelling with confidence. You can tell these people don't ride bikes. Personally, I don't care a whole lot if someone is uninsured as long as they don't hit me. Now it's true that uninsured drivers also tend to be dangerous drivers, but by no means all dangerous drivers are uninsured. The fact that there are so many uninsured drivers is testament to the fact that there is serious under-enforcement of traffic laws.
The document also has a section entitled "A road network fit for purpose".
"There must be no relaxation of the successful efforts
which have reduced road casualties through engineering,
enforcement and education.
Gyratory systems and some one-way streets are
problematic for all transport users and the Mayor
must speed up work to remove them."
No mention of the C-word here. OK, the last statement we can all agree on, but I'm not sure what these "successful efforts which have reduced road casualties" are. That sounds a bit like we just need to carry on doing more of the same. The same car-centric policies that have prioritised traffic flow over cyclist safety and led to increasing cyclist casualties since 2007.
So who exactly are London Travelwatch? Well, one of its board members says he " had a career in marketing in the motor industry... I am naturally keen to see that motorists get a fair share of resources". Only one, Tony Bennett, claims to cycle, describing himself as: "someone who uses public transport extensively, but also enjoys walking and cycling and makes many journeys by car".
Maybe London Travelwatch should change its slogan to "The voice of London's transport users. Except cyclists."