London’s former Cycling Commissioner has sent a message to the capital’s new mayor that “time is your enemy and your opponents’ friend” where building cycling infrastructure is concerned.
At the London Cycling Awards Andrew Gilligan, who received a special award for his "outstanding contribution to cycling in London", said he would keep campaigning for a better city, even if new mayor, Sadiq Khan, doesn’t keep him on at City Hall.
At the Awards ceremony, at Spin LDN on Friday, the London Cycling Campaign’s (LCC) CEO, Ashok Sinha, highlighted Khan’s explicit reference to his commitment to treble cycling infrastructure amid rumours the Westway Cycle Superhighway could be scrapped. Sinha gave an enthused speech praising the “fantastic organisation”, its staff and supporters.
In a brief speech Gilligan highlighted the huge popularity of the new Cycle Superhighways, and sent a three point message to Sadiq Khan on the importance of continuing the programme.
He said: “Already there are more people using the East-West Cycle Superhighway in rush hour than there are vehicles. It’s already making a case and showing objections to be unfounded, but don’t underestimate for a moment just how difficult it has been.”
He said Khan will need political advisors to “drive the agenda”, adding “though TfL have been great, occasionally they need the odd bit of chivvying along”.
“You can’t expect a scheme to get completely unanimous support, all of them got majority support, but there will always be objections to these schemes.”
“Three - time is your enemy and it is your opponents’ friend.”
Gilligan has said in the past the process of getting approval for the Cycle Superhighways was “a pretty big fight”, and he was among those who doubted at times it would happen. He encouraged LCC supporters to keep going, and said he will keep “campaigning for a better city”, whether he is given the City Hall post or not.
At a pre-election cycling hustings, which road.cc reported on, Khan said he would create a post of “cycling and walking commissioner”.
In his speech at the London Cycling Awards ceremony, Sinha pointed out how far London has come from the early Cycle Superhighways that were little more than blue paint, and said “we are changing this city and we are doing it together”. He thanked “all the volunteers that go out on a wet Tuesday evening and engage with the public and say ‘we are making London better for you’.”
He said: “We can’t do it by ourselves, we need more support, we need more partnerships”.
“Without membership we can’t do anything; the more members we have the more reach we have, the more clout we have”.
Chris Boardman also attended, and though he wasn’t up for an award and didn’t speak at the event, he praised to road.cc the dedication of those who volunteer their time to campaign for cycling.
Among award winners were Brixton Cycles, who won the Best Bike Shop category for the second time, and Brothers on Bikes (Community Project of the Year), an Ilford-based initiative to encourage more men from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh to cycle. Mason x Hunt 4Season wheelset won the Best Product award, while Mercedes-Benz won pro-cycling business of the year award for its Econic lorry, which eliminates the blind spots involved in the majority of lorry-cyclist fatalities. CLOCS, a construction industry-led scheme to embed pedestrian and cycling safety standards, won the Best Cycling Project award. Camden’s Tavistock Place bike lane trial won the Best Borough Infrastructure Scheme, while the East-West Cycle Superhighway (aka Cycle Crossrail) won the best big infrastructure scheme. Cllr Clyde Loakes won Cycling Champion of the year for the way he “fought tirelessly” to ensure the controversial Waltham Forest Mini Holland scheme was built with the local community’s support.