Boris blames BlackBerry and iPod users for London road injuries


The Mayor said people using hand held devices who are not paying attention to the road should take blame for an increasing number of injuries.


By Emma Phippen

Boris Johnson is blaming BlackBerry and iPod using walkers for the increasing number of injuries on London’s roads. 

At last week’s Mayor’s Questions Green Party Councillor Jenny Jones asked Mr Johnson why he is doing nothing to address the fact that 151 more children were hurt on London’s roads last year than the year before.

The Mayor said that part of the problem is people using hand held devices such as BlackBerrys, who are not paying attention to the road.

He said: “It is crazy to cycle with earphones in. I wouldn’t do it myself and I would certainly advise others not to either.”

Conservative Councillor Richard Barnes added to the criticism of London’s travellers by saying that parents who refuse to stick to 20mph speed limits outside school are also partly to blame.   

Cllr Jones claimed that 1,200 children were hurt last year and that the Mayor has, nonetheless, halved the road safety budget in the past three years. 

Mr Johnson explained that he cannot tackle the problem effectively as he does not know the reasons for the increasing number of pedestrian injuries.

He said that this is under investigation.

Mr Johnson, was, however, determined to remind everyone that the number of serious injuries is actually coming down. 

He said: “London overall is doing extremely well.”

This was based on his claim that since 2000 there has been a 53 percent decline in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads.

He also argued that there has been a 15 percent increase in the number of bicycle journeys made in the last year and that, therefore, the fall in serious injuries shows they are, in fact, doing well. 

Unfortunately, things are not so rosy in Richmond where there has been a 25 percent increase in pedestrian accidents in one year.

Cllr Chris Harrison, Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “This borough traditionally has a low rate of road accidents.

“We work with all primary schools through our Junior Safety Officer Programme and last week trained 80 children to give safety advice to their friends.

“This instils into them from an early age the need to be safe while out and about.

“We have also just installed electronic speed awareness signs on roads where we know there is a speeding problem, to remind drivers to slow down.”

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