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Boris Johnson webchat, TODAY, Mon 16 Apr, 11.30am-12.30pm(205 Posts)
In the run up to the London Mayoral elections in May, we're very pleased to announce that Boris Johnson will be joining us for a webchat on Monday 16th April from 11.30am to 12.30pm. In May 2008, Boris was elected the first Conservative Mayor of London. He was the MP for Henley-on-Thames from 2001 to 2007, and held the posts of Vice Chairman, Shadow Minister for the Arts and Shadow Minister of Higher Education.
Do please join us for the webchat. Boris is keen to hear your views and to answer your questions. As ever, if you can't make it, please post up your advance questions here.
good luck Boris! London needs a well educated Mayor with a good brain and a cheerful disposition. I think London runs better with you at the helm and will be devastated if corrupt Red Ken gets in. xx
Fabulous web chat
I like him. And I particularly liked how he responded to the Zombie and biscuit questions!
A lot has been debated and agreed about the need to encourage and promote cycling amongst Londoners. There has been broad agreement that more Londoners should be encouraged to take up cycling for commuting, for pleasure riding, and for health and fitness in addition to the environmental benefits of substituting motorized transportation for pedal power.
It has been particularly argued that young people should be introduced to, and supported in, taking up cycling from early childhood so that cycling becomes integral to their lifestyles as future adult Londoners.
Indeed, so many of Londons numerous and beautiful parks offer such fantastic opportunities for introducing to children the pleasures of cycling, and for helping them learn to ride safely and confidently in a minimal-hazard environment.
And yet, ironically, parents who would like their little children to learn to ride in a safe environment as in a London park are unable to take their children and their childrens bicycles on Londons buses and tubes to reach most of these otherwise-suitable parks.
Having just purchased bicycles for my two children, aged 5 and 8, so we may, as a family, go cycling in the various parks and trails in London on the approaching summer weekends, I realize now that even on weekends, bicycles are generally not allowed on the tube network, except on a handful of inconvenient segments that anyway do not let one reach all the parks; certainly the tube station near our home does not allow boarding with bicycles (unless foldable), so we cannot even get on the network from home with our children and their two-wheelers.
This prohibition is definitely some remnant, unfounded rule - there is no reason why a family with little children as mine must have to ride on the vehicular streets of London in order to get to a park where they want to ride their bicycles in safety.
Arguments are always made where there is no motivation to make a difference, and safety is a versatile, catch-phrase argument to use.
Yes, safety of passengers is a genuine concern, and I can assure you no one wants safety compromised. But it cannot be argued that safety is compromised in other underground networks around the world where bicycle carriage is permitted (such as in San Francisco area in California). Nevertheless, safety is a far greater and more legitimate a concern in crowded (such as weekday) transit than on weekends, when most carriages are empty, and families want to take childrens cycles to parks.
Furthermore, some double buggies, cellos, and suitcases that passengers travel with on the tube (to or from Heathrow, for example) even on weekdays should be as much a concern for safety as bicycles. Why is there no restriction on any of those? Some children's bikes are much smaller than some of these large suitcases and cello cases people travel with on the tube!!
Let's think this through: what happens if there is an emergency situation and there is a need to evacuate? Bikes, just as suitcases, will need to be left behind - no matter whether the access is by lift or escalator.
Considering all of this, can you then, use your office, if elected, to bring about changes to the Conditions of Carriage that will serve as reasonable solutions toward furthering bicycle usage in London? For instance:
Bicycles could be permitted only on weekends during certain ultra-non-peak hours (say before 9am, and between 4pm and 7pm)
Bicycles could be permitted only in the last and the first carriage of the train, which are boarded from the far end of the platforms
Bicycles could be permitted only at those tube stations that have an operating lift that the bicycles may be transported on
Bicycles could only be permitted on the tube when travelling as a family, not as adults unaccompanied by children
Buses could be fitted with bike racks as have been done in other cities with success (see pictures on the internet, from Seattle, USA, etc)
With these changes in rules, London will become much more cycle friendly to families, and we will be encouraging the internalization of a cycling culture in the next generations.
With these changes, my five year old, wishing to get across town to a park (where she'd want to ride her bike) would not need to ride her bike on the vehicular city roads all the way to the park because the safety of our roads is far from ideal for a child so young and inexperienced to ride on.
Please use your office to change the Conditions of Carriage to something more sensible and furthering of the good cause of family activities and cycle ridership.
Thank you in anticipation of a change for the better.
Erm... I think he's gone... And you might be a bit late with your
rant question... By about 2 days...
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