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Londoners happy to re-allocate road space, accept slowdown in motor traffic

In a slap in the face for the "old men in limos" running a whispering campaign against London's planned North-South and East-West Cycle Superhighways, a YouGov poll has shown overwhelming support for the project among Londoners even if it means removing general traffic lanes or slowing motor traffic.

The poll, conducted by YouGov on behalf of CyclingWorks.London, a group coordinating business responses to the cycling proposals, asked a representative sample of 1002 Londoners for their opinion on the cycleways, dubbed 'CrossRail for Bikes'.

The most controversial aspects of the plan have been the reallocation of road space to cycleways, and the potential for the new facilities to slow down motor traffic. Those two possibilities have been leapt on by opponents of improved cycling facilities in London who have anonymously briefed against them.

But it turns out ordinary Londoners are far less bothered about this than those who want to be able to whizz from Canary Wharf to their flats and clubs in West London.

Asked if they back the new routes even if they took away traffic lanes from motor vehicles, 64 per cent of Londoners supported the plans and 24 per cent were against. Exclude “don’t knows” and it's figures are 73 per cent in favour and 27 per cent against.

Asked if they back the new routes even if this meant journeys by motor vehicles took longer, 51 per cent of Londoners agreed and 26 per cent disagreed. That's roughly 2;1 in favour even if it slows down motor traffic.

The key advantage of the proposed cycleways is that they will be separated from motor traffic. As well as making it physically harder for people cycling to be hit by cars, buses and trucks, separated lanes make people feel safer, so it's far more likely they will be used.

The poll found that only 10 per cent of Londoners say a painted cycle lane would make them feel much safer and 23 per cent say it would make them feel a little safer, versus a total of 51 per cent who say it would not make them safer.

By contrast, 74 per cent say a physically segregated lane would make them feel safer.

Only 7 percent of Londoners drive into central London once a week or more, the poll found, and 71 per cent never drive in central London. The vast majority of journeys to, from and within central London are made by public transport or bike.

Chris Kenyon, from CyclingWorks.London, said: “Most of the people who took part in this poll are not regular cyclists. Londoners have demonstrated that they understand more people cycling is better for everyone because it means less pressure on the bus, less pressure on the Tube and more pleasant streets at the heart of what is a globally competitive city.”

Business support for the cycleways has continued to build in recent weeks. More than 100 London businesses have indicated their support including RBS, Unilever, Deloitte, Orange, Land Securities, Allen & Overy and CEMEX.

Chris Kenyon, from CyclingWorks.London, said: “The overwhelming support for the new Cycle Superhighways is clear, both from businesses and the people of London.”

“A powerful company and some lobbyists have recently used back-door attempts to stop these cycling plans. It is now clear that those lobbying against these transformative plans are out of step with both the business community and the public.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

12 comments

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OldRidgeback [2826 posts] 3 years ago
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Since the congestion charge was introduced 10 years ago, there has been a 9% drop in motor vehicle journeys in London, plus a 20% drop in journey times by motor vehicle with average speeds increasing from 8.5mph in central London to 20mph. At the same time, the numbers of those commuting by bicycle have tripled.

Perhaps if those complaining about cyclists slowing down motor vehicles were availed of the facts, they might view things differently. more cycling = fewer motor vehicles journeys = shorter queues at junctions = less pollution = shorter motor vehicle journey times = higher average motor vehicle speeds.

Note too that the over all road fatality rate in London has dropped faster than elsewhere in the UK also.

In other words, cyclists and cycling facilities are good for drivers.

Avatar
OldRidgeback [2826 posts] 3 years ago
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Since the congestion charge was introduced 10 years ago, there has been a 9% drop in motor vehicle journeys in London, plus a 20% drop in journey times by motor vehicle with average speeds increasing from 8.5mph in central London to 20mph. At the same time, the numbers of those commuting by bicycle have tripled.

Perhaps if those complaining about cyclists slowing down motor vehicles were availed of the facts, they might view things differently. more cycling = fewer motor vehicles journeys = shorter queues at junctions = less pollution = shorter motor vehicle journey times = higher average motor vehicle speeds.

Note too that the over all road fatality rate in London has dropped faster than elsewhere in the UK also.

In other words, cyclists and cycling facilities are good for drivers.

Avatar
OldRidgeback [2826 posts] 3 years ago
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Since the congestion charge was introduced 10 years ago, there has been a 9% drop in motor vehicle journeys in London, plus a 20% drop in journey times by motor vehicle with average speeds increasing from 8.5mph in central London to 20mph. At the same time, the numbers of those commuting by bicycle have tripled.

Perhaps if those complaining about cyclists slowing down motor vehicles were availed of the facts, they might view things differently. more cycling = fewer motor vehicles journeys = shorter queues at junctions = less pollution = shorter motor vehicle journey times = higher average motor vehicle speeds.

Note too that the over all road fatality rate in London has dropped faster than elsewhere in the UK also.

In other words, cyclists and cycling facilities are good for drivers.

Avatar
step-hent [726 posts] 3 years ago
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OldRidgeback wrote:

Since the congestion charge was introduced 10 years ago, there has been a 9% drop in motor vehicle journeys in London, plus a 20% drop in journey times by motor vehicle with average speeds increasing from 8.5mph in central London to 20mph. At the same time, the numbers of those commuting by bicycle have tripled.

Perhaps if those complaining about cyclists slowing down motor vehicles were availed of the facts, they might view things differently. more cycling = fewer motor vehicles journeys = shorter queues at junctions = less pollution = shorter motor vehicle journey times = higher average motor vehicle speeds.

Note too that the over all road fatality rate in London has dropped faster than elsewhere in the UK also.

In other words, cyclists and cycling facilities are good for drivers.

Exactly. We need more of this messaging. Talk of prioritizing cycling over motor vehicles makes people think that things will get worse for cars - whereas actually, it just ends up better for everyone. I think people find it difficult to believe that - so it needs to be hammered home with clear numbers and tacked on to all the press releases about new cycling infrastructure.

That said, this YouGov poll is very encouraging. We might actually be on the way to support for proper cycling infrastructure now!

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StoopidUserName [373 posts] 3 years ago
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The london evening standard picked it up and the normal daily mail style comments aside (used to be owned by the daily mail) it's quite a big thing.

After seemingly starting to go pro cycling for a while they have backtracked in recent months in order to get the click bait money...so this is at least welcome...

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pmanc [210 posts] 3 years ago
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I think drivers need to be made more aware of the harm private motor transport does to society; the external costs.

Not to criticise - I'm a driver - but to lessen that sense of entitlement. It needs pointing out that VED ("road tax") and fuel tax don't begin to compensate for the damage done; the lost life years and the loss of freedoms.

Perhaps this survey indicates that people are beginning to realise there are alternatives?

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allgearnoidea [58 posts] 3 years ago
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the UK as a whole needs to be taking a look at the Danes.  41

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koko56 [330 posts] 3 years ago
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This feels so refreshing.

I spent yesterday driving around in rush hour and I swear it's sadomasochistic to drive through rush hour, to an office, sit all day, drive back, through rush hour, not so bad if you actually have a physically demanding job bu the majority don't.

I get that there are realities, like lack of facilities etc, but man... it's socially accepted madness.

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bikebot [2119 posts] 3 years ago
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StoopidUserName wrote:

The london evening standard picked it up and the normal daily mail style comments aside (used to be owned by the daily mail) it's quite a big thing.

After seemingly starting to go pro cycling for a while they have backtracked in recent months in order to get the click bait money...so this is at least welcome...

I like the fact that they report on the revelation that the Canary Wharf Group was behind the recent anonymous lobbying document. A document that the Evening Standard itself fell for hook line and sinker in this story last month -

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/business-leaders-in-revolt-over...

Some of the comments section is actually quite funny. It's certainly a lot less one sided than the Daily Fail.

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bikebot [2119 posts] 3 years ago
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allgearnoidea wrote:

the UK as a whole needs to be taking a look at the Danes.  41

I've spent a little time working in Copenhagen, and I would agree. Many Danes really are worth looking at  3

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congokid [325 posts] 3 years ago
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StoopidUserName wrote:

The london evening standard ... the normal daily mail style comments aside (used to be owned by the daily mail)

I'm one of ones fighting the good fight (I should know better and have a bit of work to do but sometimes fish in a barrel are too difficult to ignore).

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ronin [279 posts] 3 years ago
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There is nothing new under the sun. It's just that some people know and some don't.

If you take a step back and imagine you are an alien looking at humans in their cars. It'd be really quite amusing. Traffic jams quite clearly don't work, but the feeble human mind cannot compute...actually they can, but the political magicians and high priests think it not important.

No where in the animal kingdom can you find such futile behavior.

Do I think that more bikes on the road are the answer? No. What we need is more cars, much, much more, until there is chaos. Then, and only then will the bike and other real measures be sought. I hope they get that cryogenic tech sorted soon. It'd be nice to come back in a couple of hundred years when they've really sorted out...I wonder what Dura Ace will look like by that time  1