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Cyclists slam council's "biased survey" asking "how much of a nuisance and danger e-bikes" are to residents

Answers to the survey would "help us shape our strategy", the council claimed, but it was met with a barrage of critical replies — one saying it is "a disgrace that any council is wasting energy on this bilious nonsense"...

A London council has been accused of running the "most biased survey ever" and "completely wasting time" on an anti-cyclist "PR exercise", the backlash coming after the local authority shared a short online survey asking residents for their views on "how much of a nuisance and danger e-bikes and e-scooters" are.

Tower Hamlets Council is the London borough local authority controlled by controversial mayor Lutfur Rahman, now back for a second term following removal from his post in 2015 for election fraud offences, and who is outspoken in his opposition for low-traffic neighbourhood schemes.

> Anti-LTN candidate elected mayor despite five-year ban for "corrupt and illegal practices"

The council has asked for residents' views on e-bikes and e-scooters in a short five-question-long online survey seemingly accessible to anyone via Google Forms, the public's answers to which will "help us shape our strategy".

However, the survey has been accused of using leading questions, the title of it headlined, "Dangerous use of e-bikes and e-scooters consultation" and the introduction paragraph telling respondents the council "wants to understand how much of a nuisance and danger e-bikes and e-scooters are to our residents".

Tower Hamlets Council e-bike survey

The questions that follow include one asking: "Have you ever seen them being ridden dangerously near you, such as being ridden too fast, going through red lights, riding too close to pedestrians on a footpath etc?"

Another asking: "Have you ever been hit or injured by one, or nearly hit or injured by one?" The final question asks whether "you think the council should be doing more to crack down on dangerous e-bike and e-scooter users?"

"As biased as it can get"

The reaction to the survey online has seen the council come in for much criticism, cyclists and some residents branding the survey "an absolute joke" and accusing the local authority of "seeking a premeditated outcome".

One reply from a 'Cycling in London' social media account shared a graphic displaying hit-and-run statistics in London's boroughs (the information coming from a question posed to the London Assembly by Green Party member Caroline Russell), and showed that between January 2022 and November 2022 Tower Hamlets had 411 hit-and-run casualties, the second highest number of any London borough.

Another reply shared a news story from last August which reported how four pedestrians were seriously injured after a driver fleeing police officers smashed into the roadside of a Tower Hamlets street. 

Other residents and cyclists asked the council to run a similar consultation asking for views on the danger of other road users, such as drivers, one reply also saying the survey was "completely wasting time" as "you can already enforce against illegally modified e-bikes (big clue there) and against reckless riding?"

"Suggests this is just a PR exercise — surely not?" the cyclist asked, deploying more than a touch of sarcasm in that final question.

Tom Macdonald wrote: "Remind me of the road traffic collision and general crime statistics in your borough. Good to know you are prioritising the lives and health of those who live and work here."

"That is as biased as it can get. A disgrace that any council is wasting energy on this bilious nonsense," another reply told the council.

In response to a request for comment, Tower Hamlets Council said it had "heard anecdotally that there are issues with e-bike and e-scooters being ridden dangerously in the borough".

"This is a fact-finding survey, not a statutory consultation, to find out more information. We welcome people from Tower Hamlets to respond to the survey," a spokesperson continued.

In December, we reported that campaigners had raised £37,000 for a legal challenge to stop Tower Hamlets mayor Rahman from ripping out low-traffic neighbourhoods.

Lutfur Rahman (Image credit: Adamkash/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)

The pro-car Aspire party mayor was elected in 2022 having promised to rip out the active travel schemes in the borough and, last September, his council was accused of taking "the most extreme, undemocratic, and dangerous decision available" in voting to remove LTNs, despite a series of consultations showing that residents are in favour of retaining the traffic-calming measures.

Earlier in the year, police in the area had urged the local authority not to scrap a Liveable Streets scheme in the borough, the Met highlighting a big fall in anti-social behaviour-related crime.

In October 2022, children from Chisenhale Primary School in Bow took to the barricades in a scene worthy of Les Misérables, in a bid to prevent their 'School Street' — a scheme to prevent motorists from driving past schools at drop-off or pick-up times — being scrapped.

Chisenhale Primary 'School Street' protest (credit - Twitter, ChisenhaleRoad)

Dan is the news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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Wheelywheelygood | 2 months ago
1 like

Speaking as a person who has been hit many  times in my wheelchair on the pavement , and saw a bike going faster than the speed limit on the pavement forcing school kids to jump onto the road to get out of the way . Yes they do need insurance stuff tests mots and number plates 

brooksby replied to Wheelywheelygood | 2 months ago

I don't think that there is such a thing as a speed limit on a footway? And speed limits on roadways generally don't apply to pedal bicycles.

Other than that: cool story, bro  3

Rendel Harris replied to Wheelywheelygood | 2 months ago
Wheelywheelygood wrote:

Speaking as a person who has been hit many  times in my wheelchair on the pavement

Inspired by your constant repetition of this theme I've recently asked the four people I know who use wheelchairs if they've ever been hit by a cyclist on the pavement, or indeed anywhere else, and the answer from all of them has been no. I've also never seen a cyclist hit a wheelchair in 45 years of cycling around one of the largest cities in the world. Have you ever considered that maybe people are just out to get you?

perce replied to Wheelywheelygood | 2 months ago

Golly, tell me about it. Most days round here, mainly Tuesdays, it's like a scene from Mad Max. Although I must admit I've never seen the film. It's supposed to be good though. I've never seen Jaws either. I am insured and like you say, stuff tests, mot's and number plates. That's something we can agree on.

belugabob | 2 months ago

I hear that their next "survey" will include the question "when did you stop beating your wife?"

brooksby | 2 months ago

I reckon wheelywheelybike of this parish designs consultations for Tower Hamlets council… 

chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 2 months ago

When not busy editing Wikipedia.

eburtthebike | 2 months ago

"The council wants to understand how much of a nuisance and danger e-bikes and e-scooters are to our residents."

A lot less than an out-of-control, grossly biased, arrogant mayor.  Could the local cyclists not run their own survey to find out how much of a nuisance and danger people think he is?

Dz1 replied to eburtthebike | 2 months ago
1 like

Don't be Islamophobic.

brooksby replied to Dz1 | 2 months ago

Is that humour?

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