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Boris Johnson hosts cycling summit with industry leaders

Mayor seeks to involve retailers and manufacturers in London's "year of cycling"...

Mayor of London Boris Johnson last week hosted a meeting at City Hall that brought together some of the UK’s leading bicycle manufacturers, distributors and retailers, with the agenda focusing on how the industry can contribute to what the his office described as “London’s cycling revolution.”

With 2010 designated a “year of cycling” in the city by the mayor, the meeting addressed issues such as how to increase safety and security, which were said to be factors often raised as reasons people decided not to take to their bicycles in London.

Mr Johnson and Transport for London (TfL) have pledged to invest £111 million in the capital’s cycling infrastructure this year, on initiatives including cycle superhighways and the London bike hire scheme.

Those present at the meeting included representatives of leading bicycle brands and retailers, with discussions focusing on how the public and private sectors might combine in areas such as getting more people to cycle, reducing bike crime and making the capital’s streets safer for cyclists.

They also addressed how the bicycle industry might involve itself in initiatives designed to mark the year of cycling.

Mr Johnson said: "In London we are striving towards a real cycling revolution, which will make the bicycle the mode of choice for thousands more Londoners - cutting congestion and pollution.

"To help us achieve this we want to harness the unique knowledge and assets of the cycling industry - pooling ideas and working together to make cycling safer and more secure. This is London's year of cycling, and I want to ensure that everything possible is done to break down the barriers that prevent people from taking up the cleanest, greenest, and often quickest means of getting around London."

During the past decade, there has been a 21% decline in the number of cyclists killed or injured on the capital’s roads, a significant reduction given that the number of people cycling in the city has more than doubled over the same period, according to the Mayor’s office. However, the aim is to reduce casualty rates further still, and a cycling safety plan has been drawn up by Mr Johnson and TfL to help bring that about.

Mr Johnson aims to achieve a 400% increase by 2025 in the number of cyclists in London by 2025 compared to year 2000 levels, which given the rise that has already been recorded over the past decade would entail numbers doubling again over the next 15 years. His office claims that more than half a million journeys are now undertaken by bicycle in London each day.

Last week, the Mayor’s office also announced that it was making
£300,000 funding available to a dozen local authorities in outer London – and therefore beyond the forthcoming bike hire zone – to help them become “cycling boroughs.”

The boroughs in question, which will each receive £25,000 to spend on cycling infrastructure, are Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Croydon, Ealing, Haringey, Havering, Hillingdon, Kingston, Merton and Redbridge.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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