Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Khan triples cycle tracks, calls cycling a social justice issue

London mayor tells cycling is a social justice issue, criticises 'bad councils' and calls on Londoners to lobby politicians...

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today announced he’s tripled protected cycle tracks in the city during his four years in the job. Khan told he believes cycling is a social justice issue and urged people to press politicians for protected routes.

In 2016 there were 50km of protected cycle tracks in London, mostly installed under former mayor, Boris Johnson. Prior to his election Khan pledged he would triple that number, both completed and in construction, by the end of his first term, counting routes in both directions, and his team are now claiming they have met that target, with 112km further protected routes completed or in progress, taking the total to 162km.

Not all the routes are completed yet, however, some were begun under the last mayoralty, and two boroughs alone account for a third of new cycle tracks, but campaigners say they are positive about progress. Khan told this morning he was “chuffed”.

Khan told “When I became Mayor, if you laid out, back-to-back, the amount of protected space [in London], you could cycle from Leicester Square to Luton. Now you could cycle from Leicester Square to New Street station in Birmingham."

“It's also benefiting pedestrians, improving the air quality, reducing congestion, making people more active. I mean, it's a win, win, win, win”.

Khan says cycling a "social justice issue"

He admits progress is patchy, and pointed the finger at “really bad councils” like Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea. London’s 32 councils run 95% of London’s roads, and Khan said he would continue to work with a “coalition of the willing”, boroughs like Enfield and Waltham Forest who, together, account for almost 40km, or a third, of the total new routes, as well as boroughs like Lambeth and Southwark.

Tripling segregation list.PNG

List of claimed increase in cycle routes in London 2016-2020. Source: Mayor of London

He described cycling and walking as a social justice issue and urged people to lobby their local councils to “do the right thing”.

“If you look at which parts of London has the worst quality air, which parts of London are people suffering the worst consequences of the climate emergency, which parts of London are there people who lack the confidence to cycle, it's the poorest parts of London,” he said.

“I think it's fantastic that many of us who are middle class are confident cyclists. But the reality is there are many parts of London, where people who have never ridden a bike before lack that confidence.”

He described cycling as “empowering”, but also important for health.

“We've got a big issue with more and more Londoners who are obese or overweight and inactive; this makes them active but also helps the NHS and so there aren't many downsides, but there are lots and lots of upsides”.

Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea “putting up roadblocks”

Khan says if re-elected he will continue to work with willing boroughs, but says the city needs people power to fill in the gaps. 

“I'm calling upon Londoners to use people power to lobby these councils do the right thing. In the meantime, I'll continue to work with a coalition of the willing, but wouldn't be nice if, rather than councils like Westminster and K&C [Kensington and Chelsea] putting roadblocks up they worked with us to have more protected space.”

Khan’s mayoralty has increased the cycling budget by 40%, introduced a star rating scheme for lorries and tackled some of London’s worst junctions, with mixed results. However, some still see progress as too slow. From Monday all Transport for London controlled routes in the Congestion Charge zone will have a 20mph speed limit.

Some of the routes being counted were funded by the previous administration, under Boris Johnson, while others are not yet complete. Work is currently underway on Cycleway 4, a 10km route between Tower Bridge and Greenwich, while work started on Cycleway 9 in December, 15km between Brentford and Olympia in West London. Cycleway 34 is 6km between Acton and Wood Lane, and there are new routes around Tottenham Court Road. 

Decarbonisation of London transport by 2030?

The London Cycling Campaign is soon to call for total decarbonisation of London transport by 2030 – just ten years’ time, a goal Khan has also set himself, if he is re-elected.  

The London Cycling Campaign’s (LCC) Simon Munk said the charity is “broadly very satisfied and happy” with progress, but warned many of the city’s Safer Junctions are not safe enough, even after revamp work has taken place.

This morning LCC CEO, Ashok Sinha, said the focus must now be on creating a network across London, and on rapidly decarbonising the city’s transport network.  

Update: this article was updated on 28th February to clarify the pledge made by Sadiq Khan ahead of his election in 2016, to triple miles of protected routes, including those in construction, and counting both directions in the total.

Add new comment


NZ Vegan Rider | 4 years ago

Sadiq Khan - cycling a "social justice issue" what about FGM, treatment of women, hatred of others, terrorism etc all from Islam. They're "social justice issue"s too but no word or action on them apart from the minimum.

matthewn5 replied to NZ Vegan Rider | 4 years ago

Please take your far right hate speech somewhere else. It's not welcome here

NZ Vegan Rider replied to matthewn5 | 4 years ago

If you don't want to acknowledge the truth and try to negate those who do it's your problem - not mine.

Philh68 replied to NZ Vegan Rider | 4 years ago

You were recently suggesting that a woman dealing with depression should just have a child instead of cycling around the world to raise awareness, you’re in no position to lecture anybody on the rights of women. If this is how you amuse yourself, you need a new hobby.

MrGear replied to NZ Vegan Rider | 4 years ago

What have cycle lanes got to do with Islam?

If you have started down this track because Sadiq is from a Muslim background, then that's a bit racist. Just so you know.

Avatar | 4 years ago

Is this true?

Because I remember reading an article by Peter Walker in The Guardian (if I recall correctly), stating that up to 2019, Sadiq Khan had added something like 60 metres to cycle lanes in London.

Were those figures wrong, or has he just gone a bit mental and done nothing else but build cycle lanes in the year since?

matthewn5 replied to | 4 years ago

I think those figures were wrong.

NZ Vegan Rider replied to matthewn5 | 4 years ago

Instead of just "think" they are show us the correct ones.

matthewn5 replied to NZ Vegan Rider | 4 years ago
1 like

Here are the correct figures.

Rich_cb replied to matthewn5 | 4 years ago

About 35km of that was started within 6 months of Khan taking office.

Given the length of time it takes to get these things approved and funded did Khan actually have anything to do with those sections or is he simply taking credit for his predecessor's work?

Philh68 replied to Rich_cb | 4 years ago

Depends who is claiming credit, Khan the mayor or Khan the citizen. If he is claiming credit as mayor then it is credit to the office, not the person and as the office of mayor exists before and after the life of any one person, then the person in the role of mayor is irrelevant.

Rich_cb replied to Philh68 | 4 years ago

As this is part of Khan's re-election bid it's quite obviously an attempt to claim personal credit rather than credit for the office of mayor.

Rich_cb replied to | 4 years ago

It depends how you count them I suppose.

Using Khan's system you get a far higher number than if you look at completed cycle lanes that were initiated whilst he was in office.

Taking credit both for work started and funded by your predecessor and for work not yet completed seems a bit disingenuous.

It also seems Khan is taking credit for existing networks which he has simply rebranded.

Overall looks like his claims are basically a lie.

The classic 'different metrics' political trick.

Latest Comments