Following a flagship campaign by cyclists, Labour councillors last night instructed Council officers to draw up plans to improve cycling infrastructure across the borough.
Despite virtually every councillor pledging to support the London Cycling Campaign’s ‘Space for Cycling’ initiative during the recent election, Tower Hamlets First (THF) councillors refused to back the plan to implement their promises.
Cabinet members Rabina Khan and Oliur Rahman, both of whom pledged their support for the scheme during the election, gave scathing speeches sweepingly accusing cyclists of putting pedestrians in danger and knocking over small children.
Notwithstanding the THF objections, the Council as a whole voted to support Labour councillor Rachel Blake’s call for action. While councillors said the Space for Cycling Campaign was incredibly welcome they recognised that some of the ideas would be more challenging than others and instructed Council officers to work with councillors and cyclists to develop the plans and, in some limited cases, propose alternative actions which would achieve the aims in a different, potentially more effective manner.
Officers will now bring a feasibility report to a Council meeting later this year for agreement though questions remain about whether THF Mayor Lutfur Rahman will agree to let the schemes go ahead after his Cabinets unexplained attacks on cyclists.
Labour Councillor for Bow East, Rachel Blake, said:
“Nearly all the Tower Hamlets councillors signed up to support the Space for Cycling campaign during the election and people will rightly expect us to follow through on our promises.
“The Tower Hamlets First response to our proposals was as bizarre as it was disappointing given they all made promises to voters to support cycling. The proposals were agreed at Full Council, I really hope the Mayor will listen and decide to act.
“Cycling is a great way to get around but too often badly designed roads and paths make it incredibly unsafe. This project should help to make those routes safer and encourage more people to take up cycling.”