The City of London is to introduce a code of conduct for cycle tour groups operating within the Square Mile in a bid to avoid conflict between people participating in such tours and pedestrians on narrow lanes and streets in the financial district.
The code of conduct has been approved by the City Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee, and was drawn up in co-operation with the four main cycle tour operators that work in the area.
Under the code, cycle tour firms will be required to avoid busy, narrow lanes and streets where there is an alternative route that does not impinge upon the safety or enjoyment of people taking part in the rides.
Participants will be required to dismount on narrow streets that are congested with pedestrians at weekday lunchtimes from 12-2pm, and in the evening rush hour from 4-6.30pm, plus at other times when such streets are busy.
As we reported last month, the issue was raised with the committee by residents of the City London’s Farringdon Without ward, which at the time of the 2011 census was home to 1,099 people.
The ward, on the city’s western boundary and the largest in the Square Mile, includes the legal district of Inner and Middle Temple and Chancery Lane and, further north and to the east, Smithfield Market and St Bartholomew’s Hospital.
The Wardmote, which represents its residents, had claimed that there had been collisions between members of cycle tour groups and pedestrians, although it admitted that “such collisions have not been recorded.”
It added: “Cycle convoys are seen to travel at speed through narrow cobbled lanes and have been crossing busy roads at unsafe points with participants, including children, not wearing any safety protection.”
Alastair Moss, Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee, Alastair Moss, commented: “I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to work together with local tour companies to introduce a new cycle code of conduct.
“The Square Mile is a fantastic place for visitors, and becoming an even better place to cycle, but safety for pedestrians and cyclists is the top priority.
“This new code has safety at its core, and will enable cycle tour groups to still enjoy everything that the magnificent City of London has to offer.”
But in response, Jack Harris from Tally Ho, whose tours on three-speed Pashley bikes include City & Secrets and the London Gin Safari, said: “Speeding is certainly not a factor.
“In areas where there are many pedestrians, we are advocates of old-fashioned courtesy and common sense,” he added.
“We certainly uphold the Highway Code, but it must be noted that many pedestrians today hop between public transport in a zombified state, staring at a phone and ears covered with music.”
Following an 18-month trial, last year the City Corporation decided to make permanent a ban on vehicles other than buses and taxis at Bank Junction from 7am-7pm, Mondays to Fridays. The trial saw casualties among all road users halve at the busy junction.
Shortly before the trial was made permanent, it said that such schemes designed to protect vulnerable road users were “under threat due to the behaviour of a small minority of irresponsible cyclists” and that travelling over 10mph is simply not acceptable.”
The City Corporation said: “In terms of danger the biggest issue is that some cyclists travel too fast for the crowded environment we experience at peak times, and it must be expected that pedestrians may step out at any time.
“Attitudinal studies show that the majority of road users see cyclists as the biggest cause of concern.
“We are also seeing that collisions between pedestrians and cyclists are the cause of an increasing number of injuries, which is a priority to address since this type of collision tends to lead to two injuries, as both the pedestrian and cyclist are injured.
“Studies show that the vast majority of cyclists are responsible and polite, and we call on this silent majority to help us promote considerate cycling,” it added.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.