So there I was, sauntering along Tavistock Place WC1 at 10.35 am yesterday. I was heading west and about to cross at the junction with Herbrand Street, when I was cut up by two black cab drivers. They were travelling east and turning right off Tavistock Place into Herbrand Street. They should have waited for a pedestrian who was about to cross, but black cab drivers (many of them) are as contemptuous of pedestrians as they are of cyclists. I managed to jot down the number of the second cab driver: 30179. He should be taken off the roads until he learns how to drive. I don’t doubt this yob is as contemptuous of cyclists as he is of pedestrians.
A couple of minutes later I reach the junction with Bedford Way. The male driver of M888 BOW turned into it from Tavistock Place, chatting on a handheld mobile phone.
A little later, I return on foot along Tavistock Place, at 11 a.m. There’s a DHL driver, a white male, at the wheel of a yellow LGV. He’s steering with one hand while holding a London A-Z in the other, which he’s looking at. Reg. FJ55 KUG. This reckless driver made me think of how Emma Foa died.
The moral is that Greater London is crammed with dangerous drivers, whose reckless risk-taking constantly threatens the lives of cyclists and pedestrians. They are very easy to identify and could very easily be taken off the roads. But there is no political will to do so, from either the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police (“Working to perpetuate London's walkers' and cyclists' exposure to risk”) or the Mayor or the Greater London Assembly or the Government.
The London Traffic Report 2007 shows that taxis carry just 2.9% of commuters on the roads in the morning peak and just 0.6% of all commuters in central London. Yet taxis are allowed to take up a huge and disproportionate amount of the road space, including being given access to the bus lanes. Why is this?