Initiatives linked to cycling have helped Hackney win an award as Transport Borough of the Year, the top accolade at the 11th annual London Transport Awards organised by Transport Times.
Several other prizes at the awards event, hosted by TV personality and former MP Giles Brandreth, went to bicycle-related projects, with Camden winning the Achievements in Cycling category for its remodelling of Royal College Street.
Ealing Council was highly commended in that category for its Biking Schools Programme, while the London Cycling Campaign won the Travel Information and Marketing award for its Love London Go Dutch campaign.
Transport Team/Partnership of the Year was won by Heathrow Airport’s commuter team in recognition of its work in getting employees to change the way they get to work, with a 10 per cent annual increase in cycle commuting and growth in membership of its car-share scheme.
Hackney was named Transport Borough of the Year as a result of having “enhanced their tradition for innovation in cycling with further advances in cycle parking and monitoring progress through cycle counters and apps.”
The awards organisers went on: “The range and breadth of the sustainable transport work undertaken in recent years indicates that there is a lot more to Hackney than simply cycling.
“And in addition to this the council have undoubtedly grasped the opportunity to work collaboratively with Public Health professionals and are increasingly working with them in relation to Smarter Travel, Play Streets, road safety and air quality initiatives.
Figures from the 2011 Census revealed last year that Hackney has the highest proportion of people commuting by bike of any London borough, with more people riding a bicycle to work than going there by car.
At the time, Trevor Parsons of the Hackney Cycling Campaign told the London Evening Standard that a mixture of “demographic and geographical factors” lay behind the growth in cycling there.
“It’s a flat borough and it’s within striking distance to areas where employment is reasonably good,” he explained, adding that population growth of 44,000 since 2001 had also helped as young people moved into the area.
He also said that work by the council to make roads more cyclist-friendly, such as the removal of the Shoreditch gyratory, and allowing cycling in all of the council’s parks, had played a role.
“Hackney is by no means perfect and there is still the feeling that the politicians do tread gingerly around the sensitivities of people who own cars. But I think we’re a lot better than somewhere like Newham, where car driving is seen as the thing to which people can aspire,” he added.
Speaking of its award, LCC's CEO Ashok Sinha said "We want to thank everyone who backed the campaign and all those who joined the 10,000 strong protest ride - without you there would not have been the Mayoral commitment, nor the funding, to deliver improved conditions for all the Londoners who want to cycle.
"We hope we can count on your support for our Space for Cycling campaign ahead of the 2014 local elections in May - together we can repeat the success we had with the Mayor with those who run London's boroughs."
Sir Peter Hendy, transport commissioner at Transport for London, said: “All of us who work in the transport industry can be proud of our role in keeping London working, growing and making life here better.
“Despite a tough Spending Round earlier this year, we are continuing to improve service provision and plan for the future of a city that is the economic engine of the entire country.
“The benefits of this across the nation and to our UK wide supply chain are central in supporting the country’s economic recovery.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.