Cycling has grown by 14 per cent in London since Boris Johnson became Mayor, but as we reported yesterday Boris wants more people on bikes and today he unveiled his plans for just how he is going to do that over the coming year. The Mayor intends spending £116m on cycling in the capital in the coming year with an emphasis on increasing safety, cutting bike crime, and as we reported yesterday boosting cycling in the outer London Boroughs.
The emphasis on boosting cycle safety will focus on reducing the number of cycle casualties on London's roads in particular those caused by collisions involving HGVs, Increasing the levels of cycle parking provision and doing more to tackle cycle theft – tow things that go hand in hand are also high on the list of the Mayor's spending priorities. On the issue of crime it will be interesting to see if the London Cycling Campaign's calls for a dedicated cycle theft police squad will bear fruit. There will be fun too with a big schedule of cycling events including the return of the Mayor's Skyride.
Announcing his latest round of cycling intitiatives and spending plans at the Look Mum No Hands Cycling Cafe this morning, Mayor Johnson said:
“I am determined to transform London into a city that cycles and where hundreds of thousands enjoy the elixir of using two wheels to get around the capital. Our cycling revolution is rapidly gathering pace, but there’s still huge potential to increase the number of journeys that Londoners make by bike and today we’re setting out exactly how we’re going to do that.
“With the launch this summer of the London Cycle Hire scheme, Cycle Superhighways and a fit-to-burst schedule of cycling events, there has never been a better time to give pedal power a punt. I urge everyone to sign up and take part in this June’s London Cycle Challenge.”
July will be a big month for Boris and cycling in London, when both of his flagship cycling initiatives go live. On the 19th the first two of his much touted Cycle Superhighways will officially open, running from Merton to the City, and Barking to Tower Gateway; and then on the 31st the London Cycle Hire Scheme will go live.
Before that though Londoners will again get the chance to take part in the London Cycle Challenge, in which companies and their employees across the capital compete to log their cycle mileage, as we reported earlier this week similar schemes are also running in Edinburgh and Oxford, London hosted its first Cycle Challenge last year.
For Londoners who fancy something a little less competitive the Mayor also announced a schedule of hundred of free led rides throughout the capital during the summer, no mention of whether this will include the resurrection of last year's Bike Tubes, but we'll keep you posted on that. To find out more about led rides and to access free maps and other useful information go to the cycling section of the TfL website.
Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor of London’s transport advisor, said: “There is huge potential to increase the popularity of cycling in the capital and that is why City Hall, our partner organisations and many others are working incredibly hard on plans that we hope will make London the biggest and best cycling city in the world. It’s an ambitious target, but the wheels are turning, and the cycling revolution is under way.”
David Brown, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: “Cycling offers the ultimate cheap, fast and flexible way to get around London while improving your health at the same time. The Cycle Hire scheme and Cycle Superhighways arrive in the Capital in July, but in the meantime there’s plenty for cyclists of all ages and abilities to enjoy.”
The issue of cycle safety has proved a tricky one for the mayor, he faced strong criticism for his decision to close the Metropolitan Police's Commercial Vehicle Education Unit, which was specifically tasked with cutting the number of cyclist/HGV incidents. Mr Johnson was effectively forced to reverse that decision earlier this year in response to a terrible run of HGV cycling casualties, including one on the day he announced his new Cycle Safety Plan, coupled with pressure from both cycling and road haulage organisations.
The Mayor also got first hand experience of the HGV problem when he, and his transport adviser Kulveer Ranger, and the then Transport Minister Lord Adonis were involved in near miss with a skip lorry when out scouting a prospective cycle superhighway route on their bikes last spring.
In all the Mayor set out 10 priorities for cycling are:
16 organisations across the capital have also agreed to sign up to the Mayor’s ten priorities for cycling in the capital. They include the Freight Transport Association, the Metropolitan Police, NHS London and the London Cycling campaign. The list in full is:
Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM)
NLA - the centre for London's built environment
Metropolitan Police Service
London Cycling Campaign
City of London Police
Freight Transport Association
Princes Foundation for the Built Environment
You can find out more about the plans for London's cycling revolution here www.tfl.gov.uk/cyclingrevolution
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.