Missing Million Cyclists

By Craigie_B Last edited 115 months ago
Missing Million Cyclists
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This morning every Londoner was extolled to get on their bike.

Mayor Boris launched a Summer Cycling campaign, which involved having his picture taken with, er, lots of bikes.

He revealed research from Transport for London that showed that while 1 in 3 of us has access to a bike (we hope this means 'owning' one - and does not include the thieving numbskulls who 'gain access' to your bike and then sell it on Brick Lane), but only half of these have actually used a bike in the last twelve months. So that's 1.1 million people that could cycle, but don't.

He also announced that Sky Sport would replace Hovis as the corporate sponsor for this year's London Freewheel event on 21 September. Sky Sport seems a more appropriate/sexy fit, tieing in with a sports news brand ("excitement!" "look at that goal/wicket/result/etc!" "wow!") rather than a bread loaf brand ("knowt taken out!" "knead that flour!"). The event comes just after the Tour of Britain takes over our city, bringing back memories of the hugely successful Tour De France here last year.

Now then - we keenly support any moves to increase 2-wheel travel around the capital, but the priority must be to see increased investment in cycle routes to make this a good, safe and attractive alternative for those who have yet to switch to their trusty steed. The last we heard, the funds for this investment were dependent on income derived from former Mayor Ken's planned CO2 charge - so will this investment still be made? A research document, the odd free sponsored event and a photo opp at the London Eye might all be nice but they don't make a great substitute for improved cycle routes.

In the mean time, sign up at www.londonfreewheel.com as it should be fun. Just don't get the event confused with the Naked Bike Ride or you might get arrested.

Image from Greater London Authority

Last Updated 21 July 2008

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Why do we need to waste money with investment in cycle lanes? So we can see miles more numbskull facilities that end just at the point where they might be useful (e.g. junctions, roundabouts, pinchpoints and bottlenecks), with lamp-posts, trees or bins in the middle of them, with cars parked across them or shared with pedestrians so that neither peds nor bikers like them.

There are hundreds of miles of facilities for cyclists in every borough of London. They're called roads.

What we actually need is for an investment for all road users to be more accomodating and tolerant to all the others. We need drivers to be more mindful of others, we need cyclists to obey the rules, we need pedestrians to be aware that jaywalking is unpredictable and not a right.

Cycling in London is easier now than it was 15 years ago but wasting money on useless facilities just so TfL or the boroughs can say "we've installed <x> miles of cycle paths" without a thought to quality or utility is just money wasted.

We Brits might be world beaters at track cycling, but France and Spain lead the world at real road cycling. I wonder why? Is it because they have cycle paths all over the place? No. It's because on French and Spanish roads cyclists are given their due and treated equally and with respect.

Improved cycle routes is not an endpoint of itself. Improved attitudes to cyclists as part of an increased tolerance for other people is the real goal.