On 4th March 2015, popular Channel4 TV presenter Jon Snow interviewed Nicola Branch of Stop Killing Cyclists, a co-organiser of Monday’s protest, vigil and die-in at Westminster City Hall. (Video is embedded below).
I want protected cycleways which is slightly different [to segregated cycleways]. I want the model they have in Holland [The Netherlands].
Also in the studio was Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA). In January, Mr McNamara stated on BBC London radio that his organisation is against the “Crossrail for Bikes” Cycle Superhighways across central London:
“We’re against it, lots of businesses are against it. We are considering a Judicial Review against the scheme in conjunction with Canary Wharf and others.”
Last night, Mr McNamara stated that he and his LTDA members are in favour of segregated cycleways but not money being spent on building them:
We are all for segregated cycling lanes, my members want segregated cycling [but] The Mayor is spending £1bn of money he hasn’t got in London on cycling, we questioned that.”
The fundamental problem is [that] London is the greatest city on the planet - you cannot implement a system in London identical to the one in Amsterdam - systems that work there won’t work in London, we haven’t got the road space for one…
Andrew D Smith, a speaker at Monday’s protest, stated today,
When LTDA say they want “segregated lanes” they mean the maze of disconnected fragments on back streets that don’t go anywhere, disappear at junctions so few people want to use them. The moment there’s a proposal for protected lanes that go somewhere useful - like Victoria Embankment or Elephant to Kings Cross, the LTDA fight it tooth and nail.
Campaigning group CyclingWorks.London has stated that over 170 London employers support the Cycle Superhighways scheme.
Jon Klaff, a member of Stop Killing Cyclists, commented on Facebook that, “Steve needs to go to Amsterdam when he comments on lack of road space. He might notice the big, wet things in the middle called ‘canals’. Amsterdam has less space than London. Then he brings up New York, a city that is on the verge of being redesigned around the bike. Basically, he has no facts and lots of opinions.”
Donnachadh McCarthy, co-founder of Stop Killing Cyclists told BBC News on Monday at the protest,
Westminster Council has spent ZERO on protected cycle lanes over the last 5 years; And what we want is 10% of the budget spent on protecting people cycling to work and school. We are not asking for more money to be spent on transport - we asking for 10% of the existing budget to be spent on cycling.
Nicola concluded the interview with an invitation,
I would like Steve to come cycling with me but I think Steve is too scared to come cycling with me - many people are too scared to go cycling.
Later in the evening, Nicola tweeted that her invitation had been accepted,
Steve agreed to cycle round Elephant & Castle [with] a hand shake & witnessed by @kemenzerem [Keme Nzerem, Correspondent, Channel 4 News]
Steve McNamara confirmed in an article published in the LTDA’s trade magazine ‘Taxi’, that: “the LTDA has already instructed its lawyers to prepare the grounds for a legal challenge by judicial review.”
The London Cycling Campaign stated on 29 January 2015: “the LTDA (represented by Bob Oddy) and the Canary Wharf Group (Peter Anderson) – sit on the TfL Board, which must ratify [the Cycle Superhighway’s] funding. Indeed, the Canary Wharf Group PLC already has form– being behind a damaging and inaccurate behind-the-scenes briefing against the superhighway proposals.”
In the same issue of ‘Taxi’, the LTDA reaffirmed its policies which include: ‘a complete ban on pedicabs‘; and, ‘taxi access to all bus lanes‘. Ed.Note: people who choose to cycle are permitted to do so in many of London’s bus lanes.
Jon Snow is also president of CTC, and has promoted their Space4Cycling campaign.
You can watch the full interview here (it was preceded by Keme Nzerem’s report): Nicola Branch debates with LTDA on Channel 4