Major law firm chief tells road.cc "silent majority" of businesses support cycle infrastructure as it helps cities attract the best employees...

The chair of a major law firm says cycling infrastructure helps businesses attract top talent in cities like London, and says a “silent majority” of companies support investment in decent cycling routes.

David Morley, Senior Partner of Allen & Overy, which employs 3,000 staff worldwide, a third of those in London, says the firm’s main assets are its employees and people friendly streets help make an attractive place for those employees to live.

Allen & Overy is among 40 businesses within British Cycling’s Choose Cycling network, with the aim of demonstrating business support for cycle infrastructure. Morley made the comments after the announcement of a YouGov poll showing 70% of people want to see protected cycle infrastructure on main roads.

Strong public support for more segregated cycle infrastructure according to poll

He told road.cc: “We are a people business, all our assets go up and down the lifts each day, so for us it’s about getting the best talent.

“We are competing globally, we are competing with the world’s best [companies] so we have got to get the top talent. We want to be in one of those places - and London is one of those places - that attracts people. Anything that attracts top talent is good for London, good for business; I think cycling’s one of those things, it makes the city a more attractive place to live and work.

He says the Choose Cycling network is a useful platform from which businesses can show the government what they want the UK’s towns and cities to look like. Allen & Overy, he adds, are among the “silent majority” that supports cycle infrastructure, and although the firm tries to encourage employees to cycle, he feels more would do so if the roads felt safe, particularly female employees.

He said: “We have been members [of the Choose Cycling network] for a while and I think it is one way in which best practice can be shared and the voice of business can be heard in the debate around cycling, the debate about facilities."

Allen & Overy was one of the Canary Wharf  businesses that countered complaints from London's second business district over the effect construction of the East-West Cycle Superhighway could have on traffic.

Morley said: “We put a submission to the consultation on the Cycle Superhighways because it’s important for policymakers to hear the voice of business. We want them to be making decisions that are good for people but good for business as well.

“I think it can be hard for policymakers to understand ‘what does business think about these issues?’ because they hear a lot about the disruption while the roads are being dug, up but I think there’s a bigger silent majority out there that are pro-cycling because it is good for their people and it’s good for their business."



Duncann [1120 posts] 1 year ago

Good to hear a big firm speaking out - if only more would do likewise.

Professionals are attracted to London for all sorts of reasons, and cycling is doubtless lower on the list than career prospects and the cultural offer. But the cost and unpleasantness of peak-time public transport is one of the things people like least (it put me off) and cycling offers an alternative. If it's also perceived as safe, enjoyable and normal - as the new superhighighways seem to be making it - then it's a plus to the city's ability to attract and retain workers (as well as keep them healthy and productive).

bikebot [2119 posts] 1 year ago

Great to have the support.  Hopefully more businesses will speak up when the likes of Canary Wharf Group and London First claim to be representing them.

Paul M [363 posts] 1 year ago
bikebot wrote:

Great to have the support.  Hopefully more businesses will speak up when the likes of Canary Wharf Group and London First claim to be representing them.

Yes, when London First opined on the two cycle superhighways a year or so ago, my firm, a major member of the organisation, had not been informed of the press release in advance, or consulted on it, so went back to them asking on what basis they were  claiming to represent their membership if they hadn't actually asked them their views first.

My firm then became one of the 160 companies to endorse the campaign of support for the two superhighways.

Subsequently Canary Wharf Group, apparently a client of ours, had a meeting with our chair of corporate social responsibility to demand why we had supported a campaign which we knew CWG to differ on. They were told, in a nutshell, that we prize our independence highly and don't permit our clients to tell us what to think.

Matt eaton [741 posts] 1 year ago

Good to read this and their perspective makes a lot of sense. It's not so much about cycling in its own right but more about the general street scene. If certainly rather live and work in a cycle friendly city like Amsterdam or Copenhagen than one of our car centric alternatives and my desire to cycle has very little to do with it.