Boris Johnson is haemorrhaging public support amid anger over the cycle lanes introduced during the pandemic, a poll reveals.
More than one in four people – 27 per cent – who voted Conservative in last year’s General Election say they will not do so next time due to the congestion and disruption caused in towns and cities across the country.
The survey of almost 11,000 drivers and cyclists will send shockwaves through Downing Street as it proceeds with a £2 billion green agenda to reduce car travel.
Ministers hope that putting in bike lanes and closing roads to cars will encourage more people to cycle to work.
But the survey found that only 14 per cent of motorists in favour of the new lanes are willing to leave their car at home and start cycling to work.
The online survey by motoring campaign group FairFuelUK was free to complete and open to all road users.
More than 2,000 people who answered the questions said they were cyclists.
The findings, which will make uncomfortable reading for No 10, revealed:
Council pays ‘gatekeeper’ in a van to monitor road barely a single cyclist uses
By Abul Taher and Michael Powell
Council chiefs who closed off a shopping street to traffic are now employing a gatekeeper – on what is thought to be £200 per day – to allow lorries and vans in.
In order to create a cycle lane, bollards were placed in the middle of the road last August to stop vehicles entering, even though delivery drivers still needed to get in to access dozens of shops.
Now a gatekeeper has been hired to move the bollards for deliveries to Baker Street, in Weybridge town centre, Surrey. He sits in a van near the shops, sometimes appearing to be dozing off.
When The Mail on Sunday monitored the road last Monday, we did not see the gatekeeper letting in or out any vans or lorries, and observed only two cyclists using the road in more than five hours.
The cost of the bike lane and the wage for the gatekeeper has come from the £250 million Emergency Active Travel Fund, set up by the Department for Transport to fund pop-up cycle lanes.
A spokesman for Surrey County Council said: ‘We have closed a narrow section of Baker Street for social distancing purposes to protect pedestrians and people on bikes. To support traders, a gatekeeper is in place to open the road when deliveries are made. This is a temporary scheme.’
Tory MP Craig Mackinlay said: ‘They should not be spending taxpayers’ money on this at all.’
Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuelUK Campaign, said: ‘Nowhere in the Tory Election manifesto was any mention of our already clogged urban roads being reduced in size for the benefit of so few.
‘The majority of road users, who contribute the fifth-largest income to the Treasury, have never been asked if dedicated cycle lanes should be built, eating into our roads.
‘Unless Boris Johnson recognises that the UK’s 37 million drivers should not be demonised any more, this £2 billion self-indulgent madness, under the dishonest guise of Covid emergency powers, will decimate his 80-seat majority.’
Conservative councillors across the country fear they will lose their seats in the local elections in May because of the backlash against the bike lanes.
Some Tory-run local authorities have ripped out the cycle lanes, including West Sussex County and Wandsworth and Kensington councils in London.
Sources say Tory council leaders have been sharing ‘incandescent’ messages on a WhatsApp group blaming No 10’s cycling tsar Andrew Gilligan for the row.
During a virtual meeting of London Conservative councillors in September, members from Hammersmith and Fulham said the policy risked shedding party votes.
One Tory councillor told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Covid is destroying the London economy, yet senior No 10 staff are spending all their time forcing these unpopular routes on to our already crowded roads.
‘If this continues we’re not going to be left with a single Tory-run council in Central London – it is bizarre.’