Never under-estimate the political clout of London’s cyclists, especially when there’s an election on the horizon.
As potential candidates jockey for position in the run up to the election, due to be held in May 2012, cycling seems high on the agenda.
Potential Labour candidate Oona King – herself a keen cyclist – says private gyms should provide showers for “hot and sticky” cyclists if their own company does not have facilities.
According to the East London Advertiser the former MP believes the move would encourage more commuters to cycle into work and make life more pleasant for their colleagues.
At the end of August Ms King set out her vision for cycling in the capital – including a target for 20% of all journeys in London being made by bike by 2025. To achieve this, she said, many more commuters will have to start cycling and this is more likely to happen if they knew they could get a shower once they got to work.
Ms King also said she would expand the Barclay’s cycle hire scheme to outer London and enable it to be paid for by Oyster card.
Other commitments from Ms King include:
- plans for a cyclists' 'tube map', showing the fastest routes across the capital
- more and longer cycle superhighway routes
- discounts for cycle helmets for Cycle Hire scheme users
- fighting to open up cycle lanes in all of London's parks
- quadrupling the number of cycle parking spaces across London, with a particular focus on major shopping and transport hubs
Ms King has a fight on her hands. Even if she beats Ken Livingstone to the Labour nomination she’ll have to convince London’s cyclists that she cares more about cycling than Boris Johnson does.
And thanks to Boris’s support for the cycle hire and superhighway schemes, not to mention his many pronouncements on the subject of cycling and his tendency to be photographed while on his bike, that could be a very hard sell.