Sadiq Khan's cycling tsar was punched by cyclist for defending Highway Code

·3-min read
Seb Dance, the Deputy Mayor of London for Transport
Seb Dance, the Deputy Mayor of London for Transport

Sadiq Khan's cycling tsar was punched by a cyclist for defending the Highway Code, The Telegraph can reveal.

The deputy mayor of London for transport, Seb Dance, revealed he was attacked while on his bike after a fellow cyclist ploughed through a “floating bus stop” without stopping for pedestrians at a zebra crossing.

It comes after a survey by The Telegraph found last week that such crossings, labelled "death traps" by campaigners, see just one in 10 cyclists stop to let pedestrians pass.

The Mayor of London has overseen a proliferation of Amsterdam-style floating bus stops, where busy cycle lanes are wedged between the pavement and a bus stop island, with a zebra crossing bridging the two.

A review has now been launched in response to the findings, despite him and Transport for London (TfL) having been repeatedly warned in recent years that the majority of cyclists refuse to stop or slow down.

But it has emerged that the man responsible for cycling in the capital experienced the dangers first-hand.

In a video shared with The Telegraph, Mr Dance told blindness campaigners: "I was cycling alongside a floating bus stop and there was someone like you waiting to cross.

"I stopped and two of my fellow cyclists didn't. I then caught up with them and remonstrated with them and I was punched in the face for my efforts."

The alleged attack, understood to have taken place last year by someone on a hire bike, was reported to the police and Mr Dance admitted cyclists flouting rules at crossings was "a big problem".

The Telegraph surveyed the behaviour of 397 cyclists while pedestrians were waiting at three crossings in central London. Just 33, or eight per cent, of cyclists gave way as the Highway Code requires, while 91.7 per cent did not.

Mr Khan admitted this week that "clearly more needs to be done" when asked at Mayor's Question Time by Emma Best, the Conservative health member, about the investigation.

More floating bus stops may be built

Revealing that a review has been launched by Mr Dance and TfL, Mr Khan said "we need to not just raise awareness, we need to try to ensure there is enforcement", though he refused to rule out more being built.

He said: "What we can't have is a situation where somebody is seriously hurt, or even worse, as a consequence of cyclists not following the Highway Code and running over somebody, so it’s really important we do this before, God forbid, that happens rather than afterwards."

Sarah Gayton, the shared space co-ordinator at the National Federation of the Blind of the UK, suggested it showed that cyclists need number plates, adding: "Unfortunately Seb was terribly punched in the face and it shows he is acutely aware of how floating bus stops put the person crossing in a very dangerous situation.

"But what has Seb done about it since then? The elephant in the room is that they are simply not working and we need an immediate halt on any more being built."

Mr Dance said: “I’m committed to making London a more inclusive city and regularly talk to Londoners about any road safety and accessibility concerns that they may have... I will continue to work to make all London as safe as possible for all road users.”