Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Tory London mayoral candidate plans to end Sadiq Khan’s “attack on drivers” by switching off red lights

The Conservative hopeful also said he’ll put an end to segregated bike lanes, 20mph speed limits, ULEZ, and closed streets

Dan Korski, one of the candidates for the London mayor elections from the Conservative Party, has vowed to end Sadiq Khan’s “attack on drivers” by unveiling a milieu of radical traffic changes, such as switching off red lights and ending segregated bike lanes, 20mph speed limits, ULEZ and low traffic neighbourhoods.

With motorists and other people criticising Khan’s divisive policies to prioritise dealing with the capital’s deteriorating air quality and climate change, the Tory hopeful has announced a radical shake-up of London’s roads should he be elected in next year’s mayoral elections in May.

In an exclusive interview with The Sun, Korski said that he would explore switching off red lights between 10pm and 7am. Instead, amber flashing lights managed by sensors would “ease the flow of traffic”, and make sure that drivers are not forced to wait at deserted junctions.

The former No.10 aide also said that he would allow motorists and cyclists to share lanes on routes where bike segregation has caused annoying congestion, as well as scrapping 20mph limits where there's no obvious reason for the restriction.

The mayoral hopeful also wants to dramatically reduce traffic control measures including no right turns and closed streets, where they don't command local support.

> TfL to address safety concerns over drivers ignoring red lights at Bow Roundabout

Korski told The Sun: “Sadiq Khan's transport policies, to London voters, appear irrational. Above all, it's hard to see how they help the environment.

“They're driving motorists around the bend and, most counterintuitively, turning some people against environmentalism. All my changes will be made with community input.”

Korski, along with some other frontrunners from the Conservative party, has already sworn to put an end to Khan’s ULEZ expansion due in August. Another candidate, Paul Scully, said that that he will “turn off all those new cameras” on his first day, if he were to get elected.

> Suella Braverman criticised by cycling campaign group for “avoiding public scrutiny” over speeding offence

Amsterdam’s traffic light experiments

Although Korski’s plan sounds outlandish and stems out of aiding drivers cutting down their journey times as much as possible, the cycling-friendly Netherlands tried switching off red lights — not just to help drivers, but cyclists.

Until 2016, one of the Dutch capital’s busiest intersections at Sarphatistraat-Alexanderplein was controlled by traffic lights, with cyclists, the predominant users in Amsterdam as in a lot of Dutch cities, had longer wait times.

01 Afternoon traffic in Amsterdam (Photo credit- Copenhagenize Design Co)
Afternoon traffic in Amsterdam (Photo credit- Copenhagenize Design Co)

However in that case, the test was part of a larger mobility strategy across the city to make more room for cyclists and pedestrians, meaning limiting access and space for private vehicles. The new setup forced people to engage with their surroundings: Instead of relying on traffic lights, they now relied on their own abilities and the cues of others.

Over the period of a year, it was seen that cyclists had become more aware of their surroundings and of other road users. In less than two weeks, the evolution was already observed on Alexanderplein.

> Cyclists in Paris allowed to ignore red traffic lights

Delay times were reduced and safety remained unaffected, showing that regulation can lead to responsible and alert road users. It was so successful that the pilot was extended and a few months later the lights were completely removed, and even led to the junction’s redesign.

However, in February this year, Amsterdam cyclists were greeted with traffic signs asking them to not jump red lights by showing a counter of how many cyclists waited at the red light and nudging them to do the same.

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

Add new comment

105 comments

Avatar
eburtthebike | 9 months ago
5 likes

My theory that the tories are deliberately trying to lose as badly as possible, in the biggest landslide ever seen in the UK, would appear to be gaining credence.

Avatar
brooksby replied to eburtthebike | 9 months ago
3 likes

I think they'll prefer being in opposition now - they can spread all sorts of sh!t misinformation, and nobody will (or will even pretend to) hold them to account. 

And they can still blame everything on Labour (as they do now... remind me, who has been in power for the last thirteen years?).

Avatar
Off the back | 9 months ago
11 likes

Hold on, A lot of these initiatives were not Khan's but Boris Johnson's ideas. The push for more cycling infrastructure started with Ken Livingstone but Boris was the one who poured the most money into it. 

So to now have a Conservative candidate try and undo everything their last mayor did seems a bit backward. 

He also needs to remind himself that the city and the nation have ever stricter CO2 and health targets they need to hit. Creating a situation where youre allowing more of the thing that youre trying to combat is crazy. 

Sure there may be more electric cars but not enough to make a sizeable dent in the air pollution. And then that does little to help with the health of the citizens who commute. 

But then, when was the last time a tory made any sense? 

Avatar
OldRidgeback replied to Off the back | 9 months ago
5 likes

Yes, but in a post truth world, the Tories focus on populist claims.

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to Off the back | 9 months ago
4 likes
Off the back wrote:

But then, when was the last time a tory made any sense? 

Not in my lifetime, so at least 71 years.

Avatar
wycombewheeler replied to eburtthebike | 9 months ago
3 likes
eburtthebike wrote:
Off the back wrote:

But then, when was the last time a tory made any sense? 

Not in my lifetime, so at least 71 years.

this is clearly not true

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/05/john-major-nhs-risk-bre...

John Major is a tory

the following statement is hard to argue against "The NHS would be as safe as a pet hamster in the presence of a hungry python if Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith rose to power following Brexit, Sir John Major has said"

This occured within the last 71 years

Look also for any number of statements by Major about the Johnson [mis]administration.

Avatar
Robert Hardy replied to wycombewheeler | 9 months ago
4 likes

However a very long retired one, who no longer has to pretend for the 'bastards' he tried to lead.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Off the back | 9 months ago
5 likes

But he's a candidate though - his only job is to get elected, not to make sense, or make the world better! Indeed he doesn't even need to get in; his only job is to *get ahead*! Looking good to the powerful folks in / around the party by using "the right language" won't harm his career.

The sad part is that rhetoric of the "enough of this war on the hard-pressed motorist" kind is still seen as a vote-winner - and not just by the Conservatives...

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Off the back | 9 months ago
4 likes
Off the back wrote:

So to now have a Conservative candidate try and undo everything their last mayor did seems a bit backward. 

I thought that Conservatism was all about moving backwards and going back to a perceived golden age of Victorian standards.

Avatar
Robert Hardy replied to hawkinspeter | 9 months ago
2 likes

A man who should be rewarded with a strictly limited personal revocation of the Acts of Toleration, he should live in the reality of the past.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Robert Hardy | 9 months ago
5 likes
Robert Hardy wrote:

A man who should be rewarded with a strictly limited personal revocation of the Acts of Toleration, he should live in the reality of the past.

Well, I learned something today. I didn't know that Rees-Mogg was an enthusiastic Catholic, but with a quick search, I can see him describing abortion rights as a "cult of death" (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/rees-mogg-abortion-death-cult-b2235286.html).

Ironic really as I consider christianity to be a death cult as they make quite a big deal about the death of Jesus.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 9 months ago
7 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

...

Ironic really as I consider christianity to be a death cult as they make quite a big deal about the death of Jesus.

He got better though...

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to chrisonabike | 9 months ago
2 likes

Apparently some Spanish missionaries to mesoamerica were disturbed by the ready parallels the some locals drew between their indigenous cults of sacrifice and the newly introduced religion.

Avatar
grOg replied to hawkinspeter | 9 months ago
0 likes

Try and keep religion out of a cycling website comment section..

Avatar
Roulereo replied to hawkinspeter | 9 months ago
1 like

Say something ike that to a Muslim, I dare you...

Nah, didn't think so. 

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Roulereo | 9 months ago
5 likes
Roulereo wrote:

Say something ike that to a Muslim, I dare you...

Nah, didn't think so. 

Which Muslim politician goes around referring to abortion as a "cult of death"?

And besides, I'm not aware that Islam fixates heavily on the nature of Muhammad's death.

Avatar
jaymack replied to Off the back | 9 months ago
1 like

When was the last time a Tory made sense? Thursday, 1st May 1997

Avatar
grOg replied to jaymack | 9 months ago
0 likes

Try and keep politics out of a cycling website comment section..

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to grOg | 9 months ago
5 likes
grOg wrote:

Try and keep politics out of a cycling website comment section..

A rather odd statement, given that the government spend all our money on building more roads and a pittance on cycling.  The state of our roads and the dangers of cycling are the result of politics.

Avatar
ktache replied to grOg | 9 months ago
3 likes

You do realise that this is an article about the views of someone hoping to represent a political party in the mayoralty of the capital city of the UK, a position directly elected by the largest electorate in the country.

Views that are about cycle provision.

Avatar
Hirsute replied to grOg | 9 months ago
2 likes

This is a UK site, if you don't like it, stick to one in Australia or run your own website.

 

Because politics never has and never will have any impact on cycling and cycling provision.

Avatar
brooksby replied to Hirsute | 9 months ago
1 like
Hirsute wrote:

Because politics never has and never will have any impact on cycling and cycling provision.

Ooo - sarcasm!  Nice.

Avatar
belugabob | 9 months ago
1 like

There's a certain amount of merit in turning off some traffic lights - there's a major roundabout in Crawley, with traffic lights at every junction, and it's fairly slow going, at most times of day.
On several occasions, the lights failed, and the traffic just flowed - much like a lot of other roundabouts.
Nobody of influence seemed to notice, so the lights remain.

The contrary also applies - try turning right onto Westerham high street, approaching from Biggin Hill, and you could be in for a significant wait - traffic lights would help in this situation (especially as it's a bus route) but it hasn't happened.

Like so much in life, there needs to be a balanced approach, but folks seem to be too polarised and go straight for the all or nothing option.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to belugabob | 9 months ago
1 like
belugabob wrote:

... there's a major roundabout in Crawley, with traffic lights at every junction, ...
On several occasions, the lights failed, and the traffic just flowed - much like a lot of other roundabouts...

Sounds like an "improve it for everyone" approach is needed. (In your example maybe Turbo roundabouts combined with grade- separated cycle paths). But *nothing* changes unless you fix it for vulnerable road users because everyone keeps on driving.

Avatar
lesterama replied to chrisonabike | 9 months ago
1 like
chrisonatrike wrote:

Sounds like an "improve it for everyone" approach is needed. (In your example maybe Turbo roundabouts combined with grade- separated cycle paths). But *nothing* changes unless you fix it for vulnerable road users because everyone keeps on driving.

This

Avatar
belugabob replied to chrisonabike | 9 months ago
0 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:
belugabob wrote:

... there's a major roundabout in Crawley, with traffic lights at every junction, ...
On several occasions, the lights failed, and the traffic just flowed - much like a lot of other roundabouts...

Sounds like an "improve it for everyone" approach is needed. (In your example maybe Turbo roundabouts combined with grade- separated cycle paths). But *nothing* changes unless you fix it for vulnerable road users because everyone keeps on driving.

Definitely, as the roundabout in question is poorly provisioned for cyclists, when the traffic lights are working - crossing most of the arms of the roundabout, as a pedestrian or cyclist, involves three sets of toucan crossings.
My point was that lights are usually the source of delays, but I agree that Turbo roundabouts would be a better improvement for everybody.

Avatar
muhasib | 9 months ago
1 like

The last part of the article that was missed off did say:

a No10 spokesperson said: "As you would expect I don’t think this is something the Department for Transport are working on, given the impact it would have on traffic and road safety."

Is there even any sort of quality bar to announcing you're going to try and be the Conservative Mayoral candidate these days?

Interestingly as I dug in a bit more to the background of Mr Korski it turns out he was born in the bike friendly city of Copenhagen and moved to London in 1997. He also said last week in the Jewish Chronicle that he would " increase police numbers and to dedicate resources to solving crimes that were not seen as a priority at present.
“Laptops are stolen and police don’t care, bikes are taken all the time,”

So it looks like he's running on a ticket where we take our chances in deregulated traffic but at least our bikes won't possibly get nicked as often.

Avatar
Simon E replied to muhasib | 9 months ago
2 likes
muhasib wrote:

So it looks like he's running on a ticket where we take our chances in deregulated traffic but at least our bikes won't possibly get nicked as often.

It's just noise. Bikes and laptops will get nicked regardless. Just because he says this it doesn't mean he actually cares; and even if he does care he can't do much about it without spending vast sums of money (if he's able to).

And it seems he doesn't care about air pollution that " is the largest environmental risk to public health" [BMJ and many others], that the pollution - not just from exhaust fumes - road congestion and the deaths and injuries caused by RTCs all cost many millions and blight countless lives. He's just appealling to selfish instincts.

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to muhasib | 9 months ago
2 likes
muhasib wrote:

Is there even any sort of quality bar to announcing you're going to try and be the Conservative Mayoral candidate these days?

No.  Boris.

Avatar
Shades | 9 months ago
5 likes

Our local Tories tried a similar approach in the local elections; I think the term used post-election was 'wiped-out'.

Pages

Latest Comments