So many more people are commuting by bike in London

May 12, 2007

These past few weeks of good weather have encouraged a lot of bikes out of their winter hibernation.

You can’t help but noticed how many more squeaking chains, low saddles and under inflated tyres there are amongst these returning commuters.

I am also noticing one or two more shiny new bikes with their riders virtually glowing in crinkly new hi-viz jackets.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone announced a couple of weeks ago that the number of cycle journeys in London has increased by 6% in the year to March and are up 83% since 2000.

What makes this particularly good news is that despite the increase, the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured in this city has fallen by 28%.

Cycling in London is becoming safer because more people cycle.

It is as simple as that.

And the nice thing about cycling becoming safer is it encourages even more people to cycle.

London’s Evening Standard recently published a twelve point charter for safer cycling which Nic Price has detailed here.

  1. A real cycle network across London
  2. Better cycle lanes with proper segregation
  3. Enforcement of special advanced stop lines for cyclists
  4. HGVs to be fitted with special cyclist safety mirrors
  5. Compulsory cyclist awareness training for all bus drivers and new HGV drivers
  6. Make safe the Thames bridges: some of the most dangerous places for cyclists
  7. Cycle-friendly streets: fewer one-way systems which funnel cyclists into the middle of traffic
  8. More cycle parking across London
  9. A police crackdown on bike theft
  10. Campaign to urge the self employed to claim a 20p a mile cycling allowance against tax
  11. Better cycle-bus-rail coordination: adequate parking at all railway stations
  12. Cycle training for all schoolchildren and any adult who wants it

This looks like a decent list that will get more people riding but while I support it, I can’t see how the tax allowance is making cycling safer.


8 Responses to “So many more people are commuting by bike in London”

  1. […] London Mayor Ken Livingstone announced a couple of weeks ago that the number of cycle journeys in London have increased by 6% in the year to March and are up 83% since 2000. What makes this particularly good news is that despite this … …Sportzia More […]

  2. Karl McCracken Says:

    I’d actually make the last item on the list more of a priority – both in terms of teaching people how to be safe, but also to give them the confidence that cycling in traffic requires.

  3. telfie Says:

    It is one thing to make the bike tracks/lanes … it is then another to ensure that they are kept clean. I ride around Margate / Ramsgate / Canterbury and generally ride on the road. But in some places purely for safety (some would say better to ride the path all the time), I ride on the cycle paths. However, they are not cleaned and in some parts have mud and debris across them that makes it dangerous.

    You also get puntures when sharp rocks hide in the mud as I found the other day …

  4. Karl McCracken Says:

    Telfie I’ve got to agree with you. Round here there are lots of cycle tracks & lanes on roads. But for the most part, the tracks are secluded enough for the junior scroats to attempt Lambrini bottle juggling (with the inevitable comic results!)

    And as for the cycle lanes . . . these are generally a joke. Too narrow, right on the edge of the road (and so full of the sharps that get swept aside by the heavier traffic), usually poorly surfaced, etc, etc. My biggest moan in the long list is that they’re so often just token efforts. So they do strange things like stopping as you pass a junction (so you should give way to traffic joining from a T-junction), or being so short as to be meaningless – like this one that lasts for no more than 75m, encouraging cyclists to leave the road and go . . . back on.

  5. Andrew Lobb Says:

    Why will the tax break make cycling safer? Well, you said it yourself – the more cyclists that there are, the safer cycling will be.

  6. Give me an old cool bicycle, and I’ll ride around the city for days.

  7. The more cyclists out there the safer cycling will be? That seems counter intuitive. The more pedestrians on the road the less pedestrians will get hit by a car? I don’t know about that.

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