Wednesday 8 March 2017 08.15 GMT
Under its first two mayors, London became important for the whole country as a leader in cycling. But Will Norman, Sadiq Khan’s new walking and cycling commissioner, starts work with the capital’s cyclists in a gloomy mood. Not just because of the deaths of three cyclists – and two pedestrians – in a single week last month, but because of the last 10 months’ stagnation in what was previously Britain’s most active programme to promote the bike.
I ran that programme for Khan’s predecessor, Boris Johnson, so perhaps I’m biased. But the figures aren’t biased. Over eight years, cycling increased by 53%. Not bad: but on the new central London segregated superhighways, which we opened in May, we saw the same percentage rise in six months.
Khan pledged during the election campaign to “accelerate” the cycling programme and “triple” the length of segregated lanes. On Norman’s first day, the mayor published a document, Healthy Streets for London, promising to make the streets less motor-dominated, better for cyclists and pedestrians, and used by more of them. But the new administration seems to be abandoning the very instruments which we proved bring that about.