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Cycling and walking key to relieving Tube crush says Green Party leader

Natalie Bennett also wants 20mph zones across London and says she would cancel Garden Bridge

Natalie Bennett says cycling and walking are key for easing pressure on London’s overcrowded public transport network and combating the capital’s air pollution problem.

The Green Party leader told the London Evening Standard she is in favour of 20 mile per hour zones in a bid to cut road traffic casualties, particularly among vulnerable users such as people on bike or foot.

“We want to make it possible for walking and cycling to account for most short distance journeys, so fewer people will want or need to use the Tube,” said Ms Bennett, who is contesting the seat of Holborn and St Pancras in Thursday’s general election.

“We would achieve this through improving road conditions to make roads safer and more comfortable for cyclists, and investing at least £30 per head into walking and cycling every year,” she went on.

“This would reduce the pressure on the tube systems, create a healthier society and reduce emissions.”

Nick Clegg, as we reported yesterday also sees walking and cycling as having a vital role to play in relieving strain on the Underground at peak times, and like the Liberal Democrat leader, Ms Bennett wants to see more widespread 20 mile an hour zones.

She said: “The Green Party supports a 20mph speed limit in areas where people live, work and shop (and across inner London, as already done in the City, Islington and Camden), and bringing down the speed limit in other areas to reduce the number and severity of collisions and to encourage more walking and cycling.

“The Green council in Brighton & Hove introduced 20mph roads and saw a 19 per cent reduction in casualties on the road.

“We also support the ‘Space for Cycling’ campaign and want road design to appropriately prioritise the needs of pedestrians and cyclists.”

Ms Bennett was also asked what she would do if she were Boris Johnson for the day, replying that she would cancel the Garden Bridge – the project championed by actress Joanna Lumley and from which, if it is built, bicycles will be banned.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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squired | 8 years ago

Lets be honest here. A big reason for the massive jump in cyclist numbers in London is that an increasing number of people are effectively being forced away from public transport. It is unreliable, packed to the point of not being able to squeeze onto the first (and sometimes second or third) tube to arrive and expensive. If they doubled capacity and halved the price a huge number of cyclists would disappear overnight. Of course that won't happen, so rather than patting themselves on their backs about how many people are cycling they need to actually build the infrastructure needed for all these new (and often inexperienced) cyclists.

Brooess | 8 years ago

Um, London traffic is already under 20mph on average -c 12mph I believe.
And Londoners know cycling reduces pressure on the public transport system - that's why there's so many people cycling in London these days, it's easily the quickest and most reliable to get around town.
I think Boris knows it too - it's why he's building the superhighways - far far cheaper and quicker than expanding the capacity of the public transport network - and from a taxpayer's point of view I agree with him.
What we do need from our politicians is more Police arresting dangerous, abusive and aggressive drivers, proper prosecution of drivers who kill and injure and presumed liability.
The safer cycling becomes and is percived to be, the more it will become the preferred form of everyday transport for everyone

emishi55 | 8 years ago

Holborn and St Pancras is one constituency where the Greens have a chance.

The only opposition here is Labour, and their candidate Keir Starmer, will not even consider a presumed liability law, whereby cyclists involved in road collisions with larger vehicles are automatically considered to be not at fault (in civil law). Even more disappointing from someone with a supposed background in legal matters, were his comments at a recent climate change hustings in Camden, that such a change in the law could be applied to other areas of law.

He clearly is stuck for some reason (with the Michael Dugher, Hammond/Pickles 'ending the war on the motorist' line perhaps?
The UK is stuck with just four other European countries in not having such consideration for cyclists - Malta, Ireland, Romania and Cyprus being the others.

Natalie Bennett by contrast would introduce such a law as part of the best package of measures for cycling of any party in 2015.

(note - The Garden Bridge is to be funded largely by a company that ships coal).

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