Carlton Reid11:43am EDT
|1,525 views|May 16, 2020,
Celebrity news reporter Adam Boulton and controversial actor Laurence Fox are not fans of London’s plan to ban cars on some its busiest roads as the coronavirus lockdown is eased.
“Anyone who is in central London knows that bike riders are irresponsible and constantly break the laws on the roads,” stated Boulton to the London Mayor on Sky News on May 15.
And Fox tweeted, “I’d be happy to support a permanent lockdown of two wheeled road facists [sic] that run red lights at 25mph, nearly killing my loved ones.”
Neither are likely to be happy with how London’s roads could be transformed in the weeks and months ahead. Park Lane in the West End of London has already seen the overnight installation of a pop-up cycleway, and a statement from City Hall said there are now plans to “transform parts of central London into one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city in the world.”
“This,” continues City Hall’s statement, “is necessary to enable safe social distancing on public transport in London as lockdown restrictions are eased, and will help support increased walking and cycling and improve the city’s air quality.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan added: “If we want to make transport in London safe, and keep London globally competitive, then we have no choice but to rapidly repurpose London’s streets for people.”
This, admitted the Labour politician, “will mean a fundamental reimagining how we live our lives in this city.”
A fundamental reimagining that has irked commentators such as Boulton and Fox.
Boulton was challenged on Twitter to cite sources after he had told London’s Mayor on air that cyclists routinely flout the law but that motorists don’t. The Sky news reporter provided anecdotes rather than facts.
Responding to Boulton, the Metropolitan Police’s Superintendent Andy Cox wrote:
“We do enforce cycling offences including breaching red lights; riding on footpaths, no lights, though enforcement is proportionate to risk. [Motorists] pose a much greater risk of harm [than cyclists] hence more enforcement.”
Cox, who leads London’s road crime team, revealed that “extreme speeding enforcement” on lockdown’s quieter roads was “up 172% compared to same period in 2019.”
Starkly, he added: “In 2020, sadly 35 people have died in London in collisions; none as a consequence of a crash with a cyclist.”
According to statistics from the U.K.’s Department for Transport in 2018, 86% of those driving cars exceed the speed limit on 20mph roads during weekdays, and it’s even higher at weekends, with 91% flouting the law.