The London Cycling Campaign (LCC) is urging the capital’s cyclists to sign its ‘Love London, Go Dutch’ petition in support of its flagship initiative for 2012. The petition will be used to try and persuade candidates in the Mayoral elections on 3 May to adopt a policy of promoting similar cyclist and people-friendly streets to those found in the Netherlands, and LCC will also be organising a mass family ride for 28 April, just days before the election.
The campaign, which aims to “make our streets as safe and inviting for cycling and walking as they are in the Netherlands where 47% of journeys are made by bike and foot," was initially launched as ‘Go Dutch’ last year.
The organisation is calling on whoever is elected Mayor after May’s election to show their commitment to Love London, Go Dutch during their term of office from 2012-16 by:
- Implementing three flagship Go Dutch developments on major streets and/or locations
- Making sure all planned developments on main roads that they control are redesigned to Go Dutch key principles, especially junctions
- Ensure the Cycle Superhighway programme is completed to Go Dutch standards.
It adds: “Turning London into a city that's safe and inviting for cycling will take time, but it's imperative we start now.”
LCC, which has brought Brompton Bicycle and Bywater Recycling on board as sponsors of the initiative, which also has the support of the Dutch Embassy, has also produced computer generated images of how some locations in London – Parliament Square, Blackfriars and the Olympic Park – could look if its vision became reality, plus details of the proposals at each location.
For Parliament Square, LCC said it wanted to turn the location into “one of the world's premier destinations, not just an unpleasant and uninviting roundabout,” with proposals including removing traffic from two sides of the square to provide more space for cyclists and pedestrians. All three designs, including the one for Blackfriars unveiled last year, aim at providing a safe environment for those on foot or in the saddle.
LCC also published the headline results of a survey commissioned from YouGov that showed that half a million Londoners ride a bike at least once a week, but fears about sharing the road with fast-moving traffic was cited as the number-one deterrent to cycling.
One in two Londoners polled – 51 per cent – said that the next Mayor could take steps to encourage them to cycle more, and 78 per cent of those respondents said that safe and convenient bike lanes throughout London or safer junctions or roundabouts were their top concerns.
LCC chief executive Ashok Sinha commented: "There's a real danger London will be left behind by other global cities such as New York, Paris and Amsterdam if the next Mayor doesn't look beyond outdated solutions that always favour motor traffic over cyclists and pedestrians.
“We’re calling on the next Mayor to provide safe and convenient bike lanes on main roads, safer passage for cyclists and pedestrians across roundabouts and junctions, and more people-friendly streets where people work, shop and live,” he added.
Among those to have signed the Love London, Go Dutch petition to date are the TV presenter Lauren Laverne, the band Franz Ferdinand, writer Alain de Botton and designer Stephen Bayley.
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.