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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The Cycles That Ate London

Lord Lawson tells the Lords that cycling has done more damage to London than anything since the Blitz.

It's true enough. My grandmother was a Londoner. And I remember her stories of her laying awake at night, whenever there was a "Cyclist's Moon", terrified that someone would wipe out her street with a new cycle lane.

She said the great thing about the Blackout was it completely eliminated red-light jumping by cyclists. But when, late one night, a bunch of cyclists came round and knocked her house down, she knew it was time to get my uncle evacuated to the countryside, where there were fewer bikes.

As my uncle waved from the train window at St Pancras, he remembered seeing, far off, the ARP wardens desperately trying to keep cycle helmets off the roof of St Paul's.

Seriously, Lord Lawson, among the things that have had a worse impact on London than cyclists are cars, lorries, 60s brutalist architects, the modern generation of planners who have made the Thames waterfront look like a playroom for a giant baby, the Subway sandwich chain, the people who put ads for prostitutes in phone boxes, acid rain, car parks, pigeons, rats, Margaret Thatcher, the Al Qaeda-inspired narcissists of 7/7, the IRA and the people who knocked the old Euston Station down.

If you want to see something causing more delays than cycle infrastructure, Lord Lawson, then why not go to Soho and Fitzrovia and see what Crossrail and endless gentrification and redevelopment are doing to traffic flows?

And if you really want to avoid cycles, why not do what my Nan did during the Blitz?

Go down the Tube.

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