Labour politicians have accused the current Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, of ‘shameless publicity seeking and dangerous inaction’ after it was revealed that the borough had failed to submit a single proposal to the Transport for London consultation on a new ‘London cycling grid’.
Other borough’s such as neighbouring Hackney were praised by the London Cycling Campaign for their work developing networks of quiet routes in the area. By contrast the LCC described Tower Hamlets’ failure to put forward a single proposal as “unacceptable” given that “the poor state of cycle routes in that borough is a long standing problem that needs to be confronted” and said that “safe links are desperately needed.”
It was also revealed that Rahman failed to win any funding from a £100m ‘mini-Holland’ programme to improve cycle infrastructure whilst nearby Newham and Waltham Forest were both highly praised for the quality of their proposals.
Labour have labelled cycle safety a ‘major issue’ accusing the mayor of “disingenuously using the tragic deaths of cyclists on our roads as a PR stunt.” They argue that whilst other boroughs have been putting forward detailed plans to help protect cyclists, the Mayor has ignored the problem other than a brief photo-op handing out hi-visibility vests in the aftermath of high profile cycling accidents.
Last year Rahman came in for heavy criticism after a new cycle lane in the borough was branded “London’s worst bike lane” and “a dangerous waste of money” by cycling campaigners. His supporters also recently voted against Labour’s proposal which committed the council to support LCC safer lorries pledge to take steps to minimise the risk to cyclists from lorries.
Labour’s spokesperson for Community Safety, Cllr John Pierce, said:
“The recent deaths on our roads were an absolute tragedy but what is almost as tragic is that Lutfur Rahman has seems to have completely ignored the problem.
“Thousands of cyclists use Tower Hamlets’ roads every day and their safety is a major issue. Whilst other boroughs have been working on serious plans to protect cyclists, it seems Lutfur Rahman seems to be disingenuously using the tragic deaths of cyclists on our roads as a PR stunt.
“Normally that wouldn’t surprise me for this Mayor but when lives have been lost this kind of shameless publicity seeking and dangerous inaction is an insult to everyone who cycles in our borough
Labour candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:
“This is a poor performance by Lutfur Rahman. He goes through the motions but shows no real concern about the people who have lost their lives, or been seriously injured, on our roads. Perhaps he has spent too much time bring driven around to know what our streets are like.”