London Cycling Campaign (LCC) says that this week’s Tube strike demonstrates that the capital’s roads need to be safer for people who want to cycle in the city but are too scared to do so.
In an opinion piece written for the London Evening Standard, the organisation’s chief executive, Ashok Sinha, says that surveys show that tens “tens of thousands of Londoners want to use their bikes as an alternative way to commute,” but most are deterred from doing so “because they find our streets too dangerous to cycle.”
He adds: “Many more want to cycle regularly for all sorts of everyday trips but daren’t ride alongside heavy lorries or around fast-moving cars and vans.”
Sinha urges that London’s streets be “redesigned to the highest international standards. They need to be made safe and inviting enough for Londoners of all ages and abilities to choose to cycle for everyday journeys, to work or to school, safe in the knowledge that they have the protection they deserve.”
He points out that “no-one thinks twice about using public transport or a taxi because of a fear of being seriously injured or killed. Why should they have to do so when thinking about cycling?”
After outlining the benefits of cycling in issues such as tackling obesity and air pollution, Sinha calls on candidates standing in the London council elections on May 22 to support LCC’s Space for Cycling campaign, launched earlier this month, saying, “councils are in charge of 95 per cent of London’s roads — not the Mayor or Transport for London — so those who run them have a responsibility to make them safer.”
His appeal follows a survey run by LCC on Twitter and Facebook over the weekend which found that almost three in four respondents who do not regularly cycle, 73 per cent, said that they would be more likely to ride a bike to work during the Tube strike if "there was less danger from motor traffic."
One third of the 205 respondents said that "large/unsafe/intimidating junctions" were the main reason they felt unsafe, with other factors mentioned including "Fast motor traffic" (19.5%), "The threat from lorries" (15.5%) and "Car/vans and taxis rat-running through residential streets" (13%).
There was near universal support for the statement that local councils should do more to make cycling safer, at 96 per cent, with 3 per cent unsure and just 1 per cent agreeing that councils are currently doing enough to make the streets safe and inviting for everyone to cycle.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.