Conservative London Assembly members avert Blackfriars debate

‘Watershed’ cycle safety debate scotched by walk out

A move to keep the 20mph speed limit on Blackfriars Bridge, London, has been scuppered after a walk out by Conservative members of the Greater London Council, reports The Guardian.

The 20mph speed limit is currently in place as a temporary measure during building work and is set to return to 30mph later this year. The ten London Assembly walked out before a debate could take place on the proposal could take place.

While the walk out meant the Blackfriars speed limit couldn’t be discussed, cycle advocates – particularly the London Cycling Campaign – said the debate on the Blackfriars speed limit marked a ‘watershed’. The LCC said: "The vote is about no less than the future direction of London’s transport policy.

"On one side, there are those of us that say our city is best served by encouraging sustainable and healthy modes of transport, such as walking and cycling. On the other side, there are those who want to perpetuate road designs that favour motor vehicles to the detriment of the comfort and safety of everyone else.

"Increasing the speed limit at Blackfriars to 30mph only makes sense if you worship the false god of ever-increasing car use.

Putting the limit up to 30mph willl increase danger for cyclists and, to no small degree, the thousands of pedestrians who walk through this area every day."

The reaction to the walk out has stirred up an angry reaction from cycle bloggers, with Cyclists in the City saying the move marks ‘London Conservatives declaration of war on pedestrians and cyclists’.

Conservative Andrew Boff dismissed the notion. He told The Guardian: “the walkout was nothing to do with the issues in the motion, or because we aren’t interested in engaging in the issues. We walked out because of the stitch up between the other parties who have chosen to exclude the Conservatives from chairing any of the mayoral scrutiny committees."

"Everyone else is saying that we walked out because we were frightened of debating the 20mph limit, well that’s absolutely ridiculous because we’re not."

Personally Boff revealed he thought the 20mph limit was "probably the right thing for that bridge" and added that Conservatives were "not in favour of introducing a 20mph limit across London".

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