Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Cycle Superhighways? That's the way to do it, Boris

The Lithuanians never got on very well with the Russians, but it seems they have saved a few useful tips from their former occupiers on how to deal with "troublemakers". This from Vilnius, via The Guardian's Moscow correspondent:

"What should the city do about drivers who think that they are above the law? It seems that a tank is the best solution."
The get-tough approach earned praise for Zuokas, who has been better known for his involvement in a bribery scandal while serving two terms as mayor until 2007. Vilnius voters re-elected him in April. 
Zuokas had cycle lanes installed throughout the capital during his first term as mayor. 
"Mayor Zuokas wanted his message to be loud and clear that the city will not tolerate brazen and disrespectful behaviour by drivers who disobey parking rules," said his spokeswoman, Irma Juskenaite. 
"The mayor hopes that he will not have to repeat his performance to have drivers heed his message, although he says that he is prepared to do so," she added, with a smile. 
The mayor cleans up the mess of crushed glass at the end of the video, before riding away on a bike.



There would seem to be some parallels between Zuockas and Boris Johnson. Both are cycling mayors, trying, to some extent, to introduced cycling infrastructure into an old capital city, both needing personally to distract attention from old scandals, both lovers of publicity and the photo-opportunity. But the big difference would seem to be that Zuockas actually understands that you cannot have parking in cycle lanes, and is willing to get rid of it. Johnson seemingly has not yet progressed to even such a simple level of understanding of cycle infrastructure – as shown by the Cycle Superhighways with parking bays painted in them. With this in mind, it seems unlikely we will be seeing this scene replicated in London any time soon.

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