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Cycle group's silence over bus lane evidence

Published: 15 December 2009

Its purpose is to represent cyclists’ interests. So you might expect the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) would be quick to tell the pedal-powered fraternity that a pioneering trial has seen their collisions with other road users fall 40%.

But not, apparently, when the other road users are motorcyclists and the trial is of sharing London’s bus lanes with us.

Weeks after the drop in collisions was revealed in a study of the trial’s first four months, LCC had yet to mention it on its website. 

Since the day the trial began on January 5, the website has appealed for complaints about it in a campaign called Bus Lane Watch. It asks cyclists to ‘register objections’ and ‘report incidents,’ and tells them: ‘Have your voice heard’ by filling in an online survey by Transport for London (TfL), the capital’s transport authority.

But the failure to mention the study – also by TfL and the first real evidence of the success or failure of the trial – seems to indicate LCC is not watching too closely after all. Without it, any views expressed are likely to be uninformed.  

More than two weeks after the report was released, LCC’s latest comment on the subject cited a cyclist’s fatal collision with a motorcyclist in October, claiming: ‘Even though this fatality didn't take place in a bus lane, it shows how vulnerable cyclists can be.’

LCC’s communications director, Mike Cavenett, refused to enter into dialogue when we telephoned – as he has done all year.

In an email the group pointed to a passage in TfL’s study which says the period covered is too short to draw conclusions. The statement added: ‘LCC agrees with TfL when it says in the report that drawing conclusions from the data at this stage is not possible.’

Following our enquiry – and after we posted a link to the report on LCC’s Facebook page - the group finally put the report on its site, linked to a story headlined: ‘TfL says motorbikes in bus lanes report allows "no meaningful comparison".’ But the story made no mention of the fact collisions have fallen.  

Asked why it had taken so long, Cavenett emailed: 'News stories often take a while to appear on the LCC website because we are a small charity not a multi-million pound publisher.' The group's income is £1.01 million according to the Charity Commission. LCC's website says it's the 'largest urban cycling organisation in the world'. The group’s Facebook page says it’s the ‘largest environmental advocacy group in the capital’.

The TfL report compares collisions during the first four months of the trial to the same period the previous year and shows those between cyclists and motorcyclists fell from five to three.

We revealed last week how national cycling group CTC was shown a draft of the report and asked for comments weeks before motorcycle groups were allowed to see it. TfL blamed “administrative error”.

Download the report at www.motorcyclenews.com/report

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