Writer and broadcaster Janet Street-Porter publishes rant against increasing cycling infrastructure in London

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Janet Street-Porter has attacked the increase in cycle infrastructure in London, saying that she has “finally had enough of Boris Johnson – the man who has brought a wonderful city to its knees in the name of cycling”.

Writer and broadcaster Street-Porter used her column in the Independent to set out her strong opinion that London’s Cycle SuperHighway’s are “Boris’s Follies” and that they are causing “gridlock” in London and increasing, rather than reducing, pollution.

Street-Porter also accuses cyclists of being treated as “closer to God or a higher power”.

“Walking in London, one of my favourite pastimes, is now a vile activity as the level of pollution from traffic fumes has soared,” wrote Street-Porter, who was formerly president of the Ramblers’ Association.

“Soon, pedestrians will be following their counterparts in Tokyo, wearing anti-smog masks. Building cycle lanes has not deterred car use. It means that traffic has to fit into a much smaller space and so it is reduced to a crawl.”

London_SuperHighway_commute

“Why should cyclists get preferential treatment over pedestrians?” Street-Porter continued. “What about the young, the elderly and the disabled who may not want or be able to cycle and who cannot use public transport? By championing bikes to such a ludicrous level, as his ‘legacy’ project, Boris is as blinkered as the car lobby and lorry drivers.”

Street-Porter then tries to point out that cycling does not have the same amount of regulation as other forms of transport (although she doesn’t mention walking), saying: “There’s not even a legal requirement for bikes to undergo MOTs.

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“Millions and millions of pounds is being spent on a totally unregulated activity, and anyone who has been in the city of London in the evening can witness the insanity of completely inexperienced cyclists wobbling around without any head protection or knowledge of the Highway Code.”

“You can rent a bike and potentially kill pedestrians or other road users, with no checks whatsoever.”

Former world and Olympic champion Chris Boardman dismissed Street-Porter’s article, saying via his Twitter account: “This what you have to do when you don’t have logic, evidence or a moral case to support what you want: shout and stamp”.

Johnson will end his term as Mayor of London in May, when the mayoral elections will appoint a new leader in City Hall. Cycling continues to be a key part of all of the candidates manifestos, with Labour’s Sadiq Khan pledging to increase spending on cycling in London.

  • UK_Urologist

    Janet Street Porter: hysteria. Nonsense upon stilts. Cycling can only be a good thing, get a life!

  • Ian Ellis

    “Soon, pedestrians will be following their counterparts in Tokyo, wearing anti-smog masks.” – obviously never been to Tokyo then! The “anti-smog” masks are to prevent offending others – the air quality is fine there!

  • bowwow rapha

    Janet decided to rant a bicycle because she’s ‘alf hooking idiot, always was!!

  • Walter Crunch

    Cycling, walking and transit are the future. Cars are the past. Cops should begin to issue single occupancy vehicles a $500 fine inside the city limits.

  • Walter Crunch

    Boom

  • davewrightson

    Horrible, hateful woman. She had a similar rant about motorbikes coming past her house at her occasional home in Yorkshire.

  • The Awakening

    There appears to be a ‘drip by drip’ campaign by ‘leading socialites’, using their media ‘witterings’ to attack cycling, cycling infrastructure building and cyclists. It usually goes along the lines of arguing for license plates for bikes, carrying ID (Alan Sugar), requiring cyclists to be paying a charge, followed by insults and ill informed opinions.

    IMHO, this is the latest nonsense from a ‘leading socialite’, who has ‘arrived’, have a platform and make loud noisy comments.

  • theplacidcasual

    Reform Goldie Lookin” Chain. Guns don’t kill people, cyclists do! Why not make some other ridiculous claims. Cyclists founded IS – Cycl-IS-ts? Cyclist are responsible for polar ice caps melting and rising sea levels? For example, I sit on the M60 everyday. They are wasting millions on upgrading it to a “Smart” Motorway to, presumably, get the extra lane during rush hour. Rush hour is, unfortunately, pretty much all day long. If some roads in Britain had 10-lanes they would still be jacked. People being forced to commute vast distances in order to have work and an increase in the number of cars on the road is to blame for congestion NOT cyclists.

  • gjh

    It think it might be Lance. His tyres, like his career, have gone really flat.

  • TonbridgeBlog

    I’m with Boardman on this one. JSP is just shouting and stamping and it doesn’t even sound like she believes her own drivel. It’s more like she’s just putting the opposite case for a debate on the issue. What she fails to point out is that pedestrians already have special treatment, having their own “lanes” and have had for over a hundred years in London. They’re called pavements!…

  • TonbridgeBlog

    I’m with Boardman on this one. JSP is just shouting and stamping and it doesn’t even sound like she believes her own drivel. It’s more like she’s just putting the opposite case for a debate on the issue. What she fails to point out is that pedestrians already have special treatment, having their own “lanes” and have had for over a hundred years in London. They’re called pavements!…

  • TrevorHoldsworth

    Anti-cyclist journalism. Cycling lanes are to protect cyclists and encourage others to adopt cycling. Pollution is in no way caused by cyclists.
    Look at the bigger picture:
    Too many cars using an outdated network, too many traffic jams, too much pollution. Here are a few ideas:
    1) Push motorists to adapt electric or hybrid cars in big cities everywhere in the world. Everyone knows that (petrol/diesel) fuel consumption goes up in traffic jams – well, so does pollution.
    2) Reduce public transport costs – London has separate season tickets for buses, underground, and trains. Take the French model: The Pass Navigo (for trains, trams, buses, RER and metro) costs me 70 euros a month, and my employer is obliged to subsidise me 35 euros (50%). So why would I take a car for my 35 km commute?
    3) Promote telecommute (I work from home one day a week), in theory this could create an immediate potential 20% drop in commuters.
    4) Build free mega carparks at strategic points with fast transport into and out of London.
    5) Carry out two surveys: ‘Why do people commute by car?’, and one ‘Why do people use bikes?’.

  • TrevorHoldsworth

    Anti-cyclist journalism. Cycling lanes are to protect cyclists and encourage others to adopt cycling. Pollution is in no way caused by cyclists.
    Look at the bigger picture:
    Too many cars using an outdated network, too many traffic jams, too much pollution. Here are a few ideas:
    1) Push motorists to adapt electric or hybrid cars in big cities everywhere in the world. Everyone knows that (petrol/diesel) fuel consumption goes up in traffic jams – well, so does pollution.
    2) Reduce public transport costs – London has separate season tickets for buses, underground, and trains. Take the French model: The Pass Navigo (for trains, trams, buses, RER and metro) costs me 70 euros a month, and my employer is obliged to subsidise me 35 euros (50%). So why would I take a car for my 35 km commute?
    3) Promote telecommute (I work from home one day a week), in theory this could create an immediate potential 20% drop in commuters.
    4) Build free mega carparks at strategic points with fast transport into and out of London.
    5) Carry out two surveys: ‘Why do people commute by car?’, and one ‘Why do people use bikes?’.

  • Riggah

    The problem with ‘journalists’ of this kind is that they go off half-cocked basing their rants on their own feelings, emotions and prejudices.
    Objective research to seek out the facts doesn’t come into it.

  • Riggah

    The problem with ‘journalists’ of this kind is that they go off half-cocked basing their rants on their own feelings, emotions and prejudices.
    Objective research to seek out the facts doesn’t come into it.

  • Chris Williams

    Yep – noticed that also.
    As for JSP – she loves walking in the countryside – think she would not enjoy it so much if cars etc where passing her withing 1/2m at 60mph. Its what we have to put up with daily.

  • Chris Williams

    Yep – noticed that also.
    As for JSP – she loves walking in the countryside – think she would not enjoy it so much if cars etc where passing her withing 1/2m at 60mph. Its what we have to put up with daily.

  • JCD

    Ill informed, prejudiced crap by an irrelevant, foolish journalist struggling for column inches.

    There’s so much wrong with her article it is laughable. How anyone can look at the state of public health, congestion and air pollution in London and then vilify cycling is beyond me. It’s not cyclists who are creating social problems – motoring creates net externalities and the continued promotion of it by government is putting private benefit before social good.

  • JCD

    Ill informed, prejudiced crap by an irrelevant, foolish journalist struggling for column inches.

    There’s so much wrong with her article it is laughable. How anyone can look at the state of public health, congestion and air pollution in London and then vilify cycling is beyond me. It’s not cyclists who are creating social problems – motoring creates net externalities and the continued promotion of it by government is putting private benefit before social good.

  • Josh Tambini

    That’s because we are “closer to God or a higher power”

  • Josh Tambini

    That’s because we are “closer to God or a higher power”

  • grizzman

    Stick all the cyclists in those photos in cars and see how congested the roads are then…

  • mr6

    it’s because all the cars are driving on the wrong side of the road

  • Riggah

    “You can rent a bike and potentially kill pedestrians or other road users, with no checks whatsoever.”
    Forget ISIS and Al Qaeda, it’s CYCLISTS who are killing people!!! Just look at how many they’ve killed in the last few days …… erm, erm ……

  • David Simons

    Why would anyone respect her opinion?

  • nortonpdj

    “Building cycle lanes has not deterred car use. It means that traffic has to fit into a much smaller space and so it is reduced to a crawl”.
    So, Ms Street – Porter, the issue is not exclusively bicycles or cyclists, but car use and motorised traffic density. And the proportion of space reserved for pedestrians (known as pavements if memory serves…) is far from negligible.

  • Roland Lawrence

    no its time we gave her massive pedestrianised areas :v you know because shes demanded it.

  • Tim Ott-Jones

    Well said Chris Boardman…….

  • Preferential treatment over pedestrians!? Really! Don’t pedestrians have things called pathways all over the place. What more do you want? You don’t have to share these with cars. Chris Boardman is spot on! Also, it is change and some people struggle with change.

  • Rupert the Super Bear

    Cars, lorries and vans remain the real problem.

  • Roland Lawrence

    no she’s spot on. however shes drawn the wrong conclusions:

    * millions are spent on cycle lanes, billions are spent for cars. Example widening the M1 a bit for 50 miles is 3 billion quid.
    * traffic is getting slower. any extra capacity in the road network is always quickly used up by the simple fact people drive more and there are many many many more cars around. more needs to be done to shut off roads to cars. more bus lanes, dedicated cycle lanes like denmark. then only car journeys will be again for the essentials not just popping to the supermarket for a pack of smokes and a pizza.
    * roads are not freely accessible for the disabled. this is a whole different issue.

  • TrevorHoldsworth
  • Yulie Yandrews

    Trek owner needs to get some air in them tyres.