London Cycling Campaign says that nearly 5,000 emails were sent to local election candidates yesterday on the opening day of its Space for Cycling campaign.
The initiative, which LCC says is the first of its kind ever launched by a campaign group, enables people to use an online mapping tool to see what changes are being called for in the ward they live in and contact their local candidates.
Those hoped-for improvements were compiled – one for each of the city’s 624 wards – by feedback from volunteers as well as a survey of 4,500 people living in London.
According to LCC, around 200 candidates have already said they will support local Space for Cycling measures – equivalent to a little over 3 per cent of the 6,000 who are standing.
With more than six weeks to go until polling day on 22 May, however, there is plenty of time for the campaign to build momentum.
Next week it will also be rolled out nationally by LCC and CTC to cities including Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield to lobby local authorities and call for Space or Cycling.
LCC chief executive Ashok Sinha commented: “We're delighted with the fantastic response to our Space for Cycling campaign from Londoners, who've been making sure local politicians and would-be politicians hear the message that action must be taken to make our neighbourhoods safer for people of ages and abilities to cycle."
"We urge all our supporters to tell their family and friends about our hyperlocal Space for Cycling campaign, and to share our action website via Facebook and Twitter."
LCC highlighted the media coverage the launch received, including here on road.cc as well as on trade website BikeBiz, and LCC trustee Mustafa Arif appearing on ITV’s London Tonight to explain the aims and benefits of the campaign to its audience.
Sinha also wrote a guest article for the Guardian’s Bike Blog in which he said one of the goals of the campaign was to provide safer roads not only for existing cyclists, but also those who would like to do so but are too afraid.
The campaign was devised after six cyclists were killed in London in the space of a fortnight last November, and is being supported by the Bicycle Association of GB, Evans Cycles, and the Dutch National Embassy.
Each of the 624 ward-specific improvements being sought tie in with one of the campaign’s six key themes, which are:
1. Protected space on mains roads and at junctions
2. Removal of through motor traffic
3. 20mph speed limits
4. Safe cycle routes to schools
5. Cycle-friendly town centres
6. Cycle routes through parks and green spaces.
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.