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Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone, Brian Paddick and Jenny Jones to go head-to-head three days ahead of election

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans is teaming up with The Times newspaper, which in February launched its Cities Fit For Cycling campaign, to hold a debate later this month on cycle safety involving the four main candidates in London’s mayoral elections. The debate, involving the Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Labour’s Ken Livingstone, the Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick and Jenny Jones of the Green Party, takes place in Westminster on Monday 30 April.

That's just three days ahead of the election on 3 May and two days after the London Cycling Campaign’s Big Ride, which calls for safer streets for cyclists. The holding of the debate reflects the fact that the safety of cyclists has moved up the political agenda in recent months, not just in London, where it had been clear since late last year that it would be a key issue in the election, but also nationally, particularly since The Times unveiled its campaign.

Sustrans supporters and Times readers will be able to apply online for tickets for the free event which will take place from 2pm to 3.30pm in Westminster. Sustrans has told its supporters in London to watch out for an email about the event in the coming days, while you can also apply for tickets via The Times website.

Carl Pittam, Sustrans' England Director, said: "In cities like Copenhagen cycling is the norm for everyone, from commuters to mums doing the school run.

"Cycling in our capital is more popular than ever but more than half of us still find our roads too scary to cycle on.

"Roads that are safe for cycling are also safer for pedestrians, children and drivers – and are more pleasant for all Londoners to enjoy.

"Creating safe streets for cycling and walking must be top of our Mayor's to-do list."

James Harding, Editor of The Times, who will be chairing the debate, added: "Cities must build an infrastructure fit for cyclists. Britain's cities and streets must change.

"Cycling should be not just a healthy and quick way to get around but also a pleasure. At the moment, those who ride have too much to fear."

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.