The Department of Transport has chosen an interesting way to prevent cyclists putting themselves at risk as well as breaking the law by riding against the flow of traffic on one-way streets - by changing the law so the problem no longer exists.
The pilot scheme is being launched in Kensington and Chelsea as part of the Department of Transport's Traffic Signs Review.
Transport Minister Sadiq Khan said, 'We want to make it easier for councils to encourage people to choose greener transport options - whether that is cycling, getting a lift in a car club or using an electric car. The pilot contra-flow cycling system will help to reduce journey times for cyclists while allowing them to travel safely and legally on the most convenient routes.'
We think the safety angle on this is questionable - making two-way travel on a one-way street legal doesn't automatically reduce the risk of accidents. The green argument also appears flawed - surely the contra-flow system wouldn't be the deciding factor in a commuter's transport decision? This seems like a quick-fix solution which doesn't address the long-term issues around cycling in the capital, including theft, lack of bike parking and even bicycles themselves. Removing the requirement to comply with the Highway Code doesn't do cyclists any favours.
Boris Johnson, undeterred by his near miss earlier in the year is ever keen to press on with initiatives to encourage cycling in the capital, Cycle Fridays being one of the latest. He also mooted plans to allow cyclists to turn left on red lights, a suggestion which was criticised as unrealistic and doing little to address the safety problem, not to mention adding fuel to the ongoing heated debate about red light jumping.
For more information on getting on your bike in London, visit TfL's dedicated cycling page at: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling/11598.aspx