Which London mayoral candidate does most to make cycling mainstream?
Senior Lecturer In Transport, University of Westminster
April 27, 2016 1.21pm BST
In London, cycling is starting to be seen as a key part of the solution to the city’s looming transport problems. We simply can’t go on in the old way – if we don’t cut car use, the city will choke and traffic will grind to a halt. With nearly 10,000 Londoners killed each year by air pollution, clean modes of transport such as cycling will be vital to creating a more liveable city. What’s more, London is experiencing unprecedented population growth, so unless we can get more people on their bikes, we’ll see strained public transport systems and worsening congestion.
The city desperately needs a mayor who will bring cycling into the mainstream, rather than considering it a fringe form of transport. The main thing people say stops them taking up cycling is their unwillingness to mix with motor traffic. So, can the candidates who are currently leading the polls commit to the changes we need? I took a look at the manifestos of Labour’s Sadiq Khan and the Conservatives’ Zac Goldsmith, to find out.
If London is truly to become a city of mass cycling, the next mayor will need to invest in a dense network of direct routes, which entail little or no mixing with motor traffic. This network would be comprised of three key elements: protected tracks on busy roads; routes through parks and other green spaces; and quieter streets with little motor traffic. In London, these have been called cycle superhighways, greenways and quietways respectively.
if delays to motorists harm “business competitiveness”, isn’t the same true for delays to pedestrians and cyclists?
….cycling infrastructure features prominently, with promises to increase spending and build more separated routes on main roads.
Mention is made of completing and extending “town-centre improvement plans” (mini-Hollands).
Zac Goldsmith…. leaves the cycling pledges to the fourth section, on air pollution.
What about new bike routes? It needs “community consent”, implying that – unlike some other major schemes Goldsmith proposes – usual consultation processes are not enough. If “residents’ fears about congestion are borne out”, cycle superhighway schemes could be scrapped.
Caroline Pidgeon… 3% of TfL’s budget to be spent on cycling.
Sian Berry…. manifesto shows the strongest grasp of the scale of change needed
Whoever wins, I suspectcontinued pressure from Londoners, businesses, health organisations and others will be needed to ensure that cycling is seen as a core part of London’s future – not just something for “cyclists”.