Sustrans and The Times to host cycle safety debate involving London mayoral candidates later this month

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

by Simon_MacMichael   April 4, 2012  

The Times Cities Fit For Cycling logo

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."

5 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

You could be forgiven for thinking that London is the only city in the UK where people cycle.

Manglier's picture

posted by Manglier [69 posts]
5th April 2012 - 8:51

0 Likes

As annoying as it is (much like anything London-centric), it sets a precedent for the rest of the country. Although I suspect that it'll be a few decades before anyone in the west midlands takes any notice of vehicles that don't have four wheels.

G-bitch's picture

posted by G-bitch [309 posts]
5th April 2012 - 9:16

4 Likes

even though there significant change in attention to cycling in our neck of the woods (Israel, and specifically Tel Aviv) to have cycling (safety) in a political debate is yet to witnessed

posted by giladj [7 posts]
5th April 2012 - 9:27

2 Likes

Confused

Manglier wrote:
You could be forgiven for thinking that London is the only city in the UK where people cycle.

Kaya Burgess of The Times tweeted this last night (@kayaburgess):

"Calling cyclists in LIVERPOOL and SALFORD. What #cyclesafe changes would you want from an elected mayor? Email cyclesafe@thetimes.co.uk

London does generate a lot of news, partly because it's the biggest city in the UK, also because it's the capital which in itself gives stories a higher profile, rightly or wrongly. And one in eight of the UK population lives there.

It's something Tony and I regularly discuss, and we do try to get stories up from across the UK, but the fact is that many of the bigger stories are from London; it could be that cycle campaigners etc there are particularly good at getting issues talked about and raising their profile.

In this specific instance, getting four mayoral candidates to sit down three days before an election to run a city of 8 million people and talk specifically about cycling is certainly news.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8163 posts]
5th April 2012 - 9:28

1 Like

Actually, if you include its suburbs, London's population is around 13 million, making it the 18th largest city in the world. Using these figures about 2 out of every 9 UK residents lives in London. No other UK city is in the top 100 cities in the world by population. The London-centric media focus does not fully reflect either its effect on the UK economy or its population if you ask me.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2211 posts]
5th April 2012 - 10:07

0 Likes