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Cautious welcome for Mayor’s first draft of cycling map from campaigners

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has published a map of quiet backstreet cycle routes connecting all areas of inner London with a view to collecting feedback from the public.

“Cycle streets” closed to other traffic, new routes by parks and sixty miles of backstreet “Quietways” are part of the proposed Grid.

Many of the new Quietway routes will run parallel to Tube lines or bus routes, with a “Circle Line Quietway” and a “Victoria Line Quietway” among the routes published today.

A number of Superhighway and other main-road routes will also form part of the Grid, most fully or semi-separated from traffic (with solid kerbs or traffic wands) where they run on busy roads.

Mr Johnson has also promised intimidating and difficult junctions will be improved, and a study will be launched into traffic restrictions on one very busy main road corridor where there is no room for segregation and no Quietway alternative.

According to the London assembly: “The proposed Quietway routes are aimed at those who would like to cycle now, but are put off by having to do it on busy roads.

“The long-term purpose is to broaden the demographic mix, and change the culture, of London cycling.”

Mr Johnson said: “We are creating a new network of routes for a new kind of cyclist: routes for people who want to cycle slowly, in their ordinary clothes, away from most of the traffic. These are your secret cycling passages through London, taking you everywhere you need to go, directly and easily, using routes you might never know existed until we showed you.

“The Central London Grid will, I hope, de-Lycrafy the bicycle, reduce the testosterone levels of cycling, and move towards a continental-style cycling culture, where cycling is normal.”

The cycling commissioner for London, Andrew Gilligan, said: “This is a promising start, but it is a first draft and we are looking forward to the views and ideas of the cycling community, residents, local business and anyone with an interest. Further changes will then be made in discussions with our partners in the boroughs.”

The London Cycling Campaign has welcomed Mayor Boris Johnson's draft proposal for a Central London Grid, but has warned that to be effective the routes must provide safe and convenient passage through junctions, along with cycling conditions throughout that are suitable for all ages and abilities.

LCC Chief Executive Ashok Sinha said, "We strongly welcome the Mayor's assertion that increasing cycling in Zone One benefits all Londoners through reduced traffic congestion, reduced crowding on public transport, and less noise and pollution.

"We're delighted the Mayor's stated aim is that the Grid will be suitable for everyone to cycle, including more women and children, who are currently massively underrepresented among London's cycling population, often because of fears over safety.

"However, we emphasise that to be effective, the Grid must provide genuinely safe and convenient conditions throughout, particularly at junctions, with routes that have either protected lanes or low motor traffic volumes and speeds."

To download various maps of the cycle grid click here.

To comment on these proposals, contact your local authority or email TfL with any general comments by 14 February 2014 to grid [at] tfl.gov.uk

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.