Archive for the 'cycling' Category

URGENT: Say ‘no’ to a cycling ban on Oxford Street

TLDR: TfL’s proposals to pedestrianise Oxford Street include no provision for cycling. This will create a serious, permanent hole in the cycling network in the West End. Decisively reject the plans by replying to the consultation with a firm ‘No’ and giving lack of provision for cycling as your reasoning.

I’d like to coin Mustafa’s first law of cycle routes: if there’s a Roman road from A to B, that’s where the cycle route should go.

The Romans did not just have the foresight to build roads that were direct, and with minimal gradients. Two millennia of urban development has grown up around them and they now form the contours and skeletons of towns and cities across the country. Today’s Oxford Street is a key stretch of the Via Trinobantina – the Roman road connecting Calleva Atrebatum in Hampshire to the settlement that grew into Colchester. Development throughout the centuries, since, has taken into account it being there. Look on any street map and Oxford Street is, quite clearly, the main East-West artery through the West End (and more broadly part of the main east-west route through London). Although private cars have been banned from much of Oxford Street since the 1970s it remains signposted as the A40, precisely because there is no decent parallel route.

TfL’s plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street make no allowance for maintaining this ancient, and irreplaceable thoroughfare for cycling. They are proposing to ban cycling with only a vague notion of a “parallel route” some time in the future. Even if such a route was possible, without large scale destruction of private property to refashion the West End of London, it is scandalous that cycling be banned from Oxford Street before such a route be built. It is totally at odds with promoting the growth of cycling to require cyclists to go, literally, round the houses. Moreover, it’s a ban that is likely to be flouted causing unnecessary conflict with pedestrians and making more progress difficult.

It’s therefore imperative that the scheme be stopped. Some cycling campaigners seem to be under the illusion that if they respond ‘Yes but…’ that somehow they may be able to salvage something – they are deluded. Campaigners are always expected to say “Yes but…” because we always want to push the boundaries of what’s possible. A “Yes but…” can easily be dismissed. The only way to send a powerful signal that we expect the scheme to change is to confidently, and clearly respond ‘No, not good enough”. And that’s what I urge anyone who cares about utility cycling in London to do.

Below is a screenshot of my response. Respond by midnight on 3rd January 2018.

 

Can you spare 30 mins for the Big Push? #SignForCycling

We’re now entering a critical period in the Sign for Cycling campaign. Can you spare 30 mins to help out at one of our ‘Big Push’ flyering sessions across Central London this week and next?
We’re less than 2 weeks away from the Sign for Cycling hustings to be co-hosted by LCC and The Times. We’ve had good success, so far, winning pledges from the Lib Dem, Green and Women’s Equality Party Candidates. However, the two men most likely to win have yet to commit and are making worrying statements  Make no mistake: the hard-won progress from our Love London, Go Dutch campaign in 2012 could grind to a halt – or even be reversed, if we don’t secure a full commitment from the next Mayor.
Whilst we’re making some headway in our discussions with the Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith campaigns we know that it’s volume of signatures that will sway them. The most efficient way for us to collect as many signatures as possible is to sell the campaign to ordinary people cycling on the streets. Social media is great, but I know from my own experience helping to flyer Tavistock Place this morning that we’re receiving a positive reception from many cyclists who have yet to otherwise be exposed to the campaign.
So please try to take half an hour out of your schedule over the next fortnight. If you can’t confirm in advance, no problem – just turn up and help.
If you can’t make any of the central London locations, you could still help us collect signatures in other ways. As examples, you could:
1) collect signatures from your neighbours or work colleagues - save the sign-up form on your smartphone or tablet to make this easier.
2) Working with your local LCC borough group to organise your own signature collection locally.
3) E-mailing 10 friends and family members to ask them to sign up at www.signforcycling.org

How dangerous really is cycling?

Here are some interesting statistics that came through my email today.

Risk relative to cycling: fatality rates per participant
Relative risk per participant
Less safe Airsports 450
  Climbing 137
  Motor sports 81
  Fishing 41
  Horse riding 29
  Swimming 7.0
  Athletics 5.7
  Football 4.9
  Tennis 4.2
  Cycling 1.0
Safer Golf 0.83
  Rambling 0.06 

Source: Lunch hour lecture on risks and benefits of active transport by Dr Jenny Mindell of UCL.

So there you go: cycling may not be as safe as playing golf, but it’s 41x safer than going fishing.

This is not to say that cycling safety is a non-issue. The (lack of) attractiveness and (perceived) danger associated with cycling is a major deterrent to more widespread cycle use in London. And far too many cyclists are unnecessarily getting hurt, but we must maintain some perspective.

Alert: Time to remind the Assembly Transport Committee of the Mayor of London’s promises on cycling

The Transport committee of the London Assembly will be quizzing the Deputy Mayor for Transport and the Transport Commissioner on how they will be meeting the Mayor’s transport promises at it’s meeting tomorrow (Thu 24 May).

The Mayor’s commitments, of course, include meeting the three key tests of the London Cycling Campaign’s “Love London, Go Dutch” campaign:
Three flagship walking and cycling schemes in accordance with ‘Go Dutch’ principles
‘Go Dutch’ principles applied to all roadworks and development schemes under the Mayor’s control
Superhighways completed to ‘Go Dutch’ principles.

Boris Johnson made additional commitments to cycling during the course of the election campaign:

  • Appointing a Cycling Commissioner (in response to a question at the Times/Sustrans hustings about putting a ‘cycling representative’ on the Board of Transport for London)
  • Being more assertive with Borough ‘recusants’ that get in the way of Superhighways (to the London Jewish Forum in regards to Barnet Council).
  • Appointing a cycling representative on the Mayor’s Roads Task Force (to British Cycling).
  • Expanding cycle hire as per Boris’ manifesto.
  • Lobbying central government to press for stronger sentencing in relation to road incidents involving cyclists (in response to a question at the Times/Sustrans hustings from someone whose brother was killed by motorist convicted of dangerous driving but only spent a couple of months in prison).

Readers of this email may wish to lobby their Assembly Members – particularly those who sit on the Transport Committee, on reminding them of the Mayor’s commitments to cycling.

A reminder, below of the relevant Assembly Members, and their constituencies.

Caroline Pidgeon (Chair) – Londonwide
Valerie Shawcross CBE (Deputy Chair) – Lambeth & Southwark
Jennette Arnold OBE – North East (Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest)
Victoria Borwick – Londonwide
Tom Copley – Londonwide
Andrew Dismore – Barnet & Camden
Roger Evans – Havering & Redbridge
Darren Johnson – Londonwide
Joanne McCartney – Enfield & Haringey
Steve O’Connell – Croydon & Sutton
Murad Qureshi – Londonwide
Richard Tracey – Merton & Wandsworth