Oh dear. The already low expectations of our new transport secretary sank further yesterday when, in an interview with the Evening Standard, Philip Hammond said that cycling in London appeared to be extremely dangerous and he would not contemplate it even though he lives barely a couple of miles away from the Department.
Hammond says he drives a Jaguar which is the ‘Greenest’ in its range but the good news is that at least he never watches his namesake Richard on Top Gear. He said that he had longed to be Transport Secretary every time he had been stuck in a traffic jam in order to sort out congestion problems, but admitted that its not as ‘straightforward’ as he imagined. Oh really.
Moreover, he also revealed that he is not keen on Shank’s Pony either since he found the ten minute walk between his office and Parliament ‘a hoof’. He confessed: ‘I’ve never actually cycled in London .I’d have to take a deep breath. I think you need to know what you are doing to cycle in London. Cyclists need to be more aware of the risks around them. It frightens me to death when I see them pull out around other cyclists, completely unaware there is a car behind. Maybe they need wing mirrors”.Despite his lack of experience of cycling in London he was not convinced of the logic of Advanced Stop Lines for cyclists, but reckoned separating cyclists from the traffic as much as possible was the way forward.. Well, Phil, jump on your bike and come for a ride with me around the West End on a busy Friday evening and I will show you how its done and why any facilities for cyclists are a great boon. And, no, we do not need to be separated from the traffic, car drivers must recognise the needs of more vulnerable road users.