The Conservative mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey has come under fire after posting a bizarre video in which Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are compared to the biggest cycling race in the world, the Tour de France.
Sadiq Khan has imposed LTNS on residents without proper consultation or consideration for the traffic and pollution they would cause.
As Mayor, I'll hand back control to residents to decide what type of road they want to live on.
I'll scrap any unwanted LTNs within 100 days. pic.twitter.com/cNICLwZFlp
— Shaun Bailey (@ShaunBaileyUK) April 23, 2021
The video, released as part of his election campaign, features a London cab driver telling Bailey, who wants to scrap any 'unwanted' LTNs within 100 days if he is elected, 'We're not living in the Tour de France, London is a business city'.
The driver then claims LTNs have no upside, cause more pollution, and make disabled people's lives even more difficult.
Posting on Twitter, Bailey wrote: "Sadiq Khan has imposed LTNs on residents without proper consultation or consideration for the traffic and pollution they would cause.
"As Mayor, I'll hand back control to residents to decide what type of road they want to live on.
"I'll scrap any unwanted LTNs within 100 days."
Commentators pointed out that the responsibility for LTNs actually rests with councils and therefore Bailey would be unable to follow up on his promises.
In the video, Bailey is being driven around the streets of the capital by a disgruntled cab driver.
Footage of professional cyclists racing down the Champs-Élysées is mixed with a monologue from the driver on the perceived problems of LTNs.
The cabbie says: "We're not living in the Tour de France. We're living in a working city where there are people with different needs.
"I'm not sure where any of the upside of any of this is.
"Basically, a lot of vehicles, myself included, would have been able to cut through some of these backstreets to miss out the traffic jam and get our clients and passengers to their destination quicker, and cheaper.
"But because all these backstreets have been closed off for these LTNs, we just sit in a traffic jam."
That's why we're doing the LTNs lol pic.twitter.com/ZAZ9W90Ftt
— m̶a̶i̶d̶s̶t̶o̶n̶e̶onbike (@maidstoneonbike) April 24, 2021
As Twitter users pointed out however: "What Shaun calls ‘back streets’ are actually known as ‘your streets’."
In the video, Bailey says: "They've been put in too quickly, they haven't spoken to local people, and a lot of the time they're putting them in places where there's no traffic.
"What they're doing, they're pushing that small amount of traffic onto the main roads which are making even longer traffic jams and even more pollution."
The cab driver then goes further and claims that LTNs are responsible for delaying emergency service vehicles.
This is despite the fact that the only study of the issue found no delays.
Neither the London ambulance service (LAS) or London fire brigade (LFB) believe there is a problem; and attempts to prove a widespread issue fell apart on closer examination, the Guardian reports.
The LFB also keeps detailed data on response times and the stated reasons for any delays.
Studying more than 23,000 incidents in the borough of Waltham Forest between 2012 and 2020, the study found no evidence that LTNs, slowed crews.
Nonetheless, the cab driver continued: "London is a business city.
"The emergency services try to get to a call they've got the lights flashing, the sirens going, and they're stuck in a traffic jam, and there's no way out of it.
"People in wheelchairs are screwed. They're not being helped if you've got a cycle lane.
"If they want to get in a taxi along here I've got to get the wheelchair ramp out onto a cycle lane."
He then adds, however, 'cycle lanes are a great idea' before trying to assert that not enough people ride to work in the winter months.
"Look at this", he added, pointing to a road full of cars. "No one anywhere in London, and there's a traffic jam. That's why I've gone bald."
I know election broadcasts tend to be fact-light places, but this is particularly dreadful. Not even any attempt to engage with the evidence. And that’s not even getting into the fact that LTNs are decided by councils, not the mayor. https://t.co/KTklXosy1K
— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) April 24, 2021
Cycling commentator Ned Boulting, was also quick to respond to the inflammatory post asking if Bailey's team had thought to contact the Tour organisers before they used the footage.
Writing on Twitter, he said: "I’m assuming your team have acquired the correct licence for use of Tour de France footage.
"@LeTour is quite protective of its intellectual property. But you know that, because you’ll have paid them for this usage in a political campaign."
Khan and Bailey argue over who is responsible for problems surrounding low traffic neighbourhoods.
— BBC London (@BBCLondonNews) April 25, 2021