London’s next mayor needs to triple protected cycle infrastructure in the capital to around 120 miles over the next four years, introduce a Mini Holland in each of its 33 boroughs, and take radical action on lethal lorries, the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) says.
The LCC is asking all mayoral candidates ahead of May’s London elections to agree to these three demands as part of its Sign for Cycling campaign, which it says will help make a better city for everyone, not just cyclists.
In an exclusive interview with road.cc the LCC’s Chief Executive, Ashok Sinha, says rapid population growth and air pollution cannot be ignored and any politician who fails to take action on lorries faces a political fight. He says "ordinary Londoners" have called for safer streets ahead of previous elections, and this time that voice needs to be even bigger.
Triple London’s protected bike infrastructure…
Sinha told road.cc: “We want the next mayor to triple the amount of space for cycling that we currently have. There will be a total of 38 miles of protected Cycle Superhighway in London by the start of the next mayor’s term, and that’s more or less been achieved over the last two years. We’re saying triple that, but do it consistently throughout the next mayoralty.”
He adds this is something Londoners support.
“10,000 people turned out for the LCC’s Big Ride [in 2012], 42,000 signed the petition [calling for Dutch standard cycle facilities in London]. Nobody could turn around and say it was just a bunch of self-interested whingers, this was about ordinary Londoners saying ‘I do want to cycle as part of everyday life, that doesn’t make me some sort of sandal wearing freak, this is something I want to do, I want to do it with my kids, and it’s not safe enough’.”
Sinha says it is vital London’s main roads are made safe for cycling, including junctions, where most collisions occur, and though he’s “very pleased” with the standard of the new Cycle Superhighways, it’s not time for complacency.
“There’s still a lot to be fought for, because we cannot assume that this level of implementation is going to be there for every future section of the cycle superhighway programme.
“We haven’t got yet to the place where TfL (Transport for London) is routinely, each time it develops a road, or place, delivering the standard of safety for cycling and walking [we want to see]. That’s not happening as a matter of routine.”
Tackle dangerous lorries…
LCC says TfL should only be giving contracts to companies using direct vision lorries, where the cab of the vehicle is lowered to road height, as in a refuse lorry or bus, reducing the vehicle’s blind spots. Lorries are still a major source of danger for Londoners, with seven of the eight cycling fatalities in London in 2015 following a collision with an HGV.
“I don’t think it’s sustainable for any politician who wants to be mayor of London to say they’re not going to do everything they possibly can to reduce death toll the rate of serious injury from lorries," says Sinha. "I don’t think it would be politically possible, there’d be a political fight, certainly with us".
“That doesn’t mean we stop believing in a rush hour lorry ban, but the game changer for us is dealing with the danger at the point of source. There isn’t much of a substitute for being able to see all the way round.”
Mini Hollands in every borough…
London’s 33 boroughs still control 95% of London’s roads, and though Sinha notes “that’s where the greatest potential for heat and friction on the ground to occur” lies, a Mini Holland in each borough, especially in outer London, has the greatest potential to get more short journeys on foot and bike.
Making London more liveable for everyone...
In London's 2012 elections all Mayoral candidates signed up to the LCC’s Love London, Go Dutch campaign. Will they sign this time?
He says: “I’ve got to think they will. We’re not making it easy for them, that’s not our job, we’ve got to make sure this momentum is continued in an upwards pathway of safe and attractive conditions for cycling and that’s what we want to see continue.”
“It’s about making London more liveable for everyone, and I think that is the way forward. It’s very important that as cycling campaigners we campaign for better cycling but we’re not a narrow interest group - we’re campaigning for London to be better in a whole range of ways by enabling more people cycle as we do.”
The LCC’s Sign For Cycling Campaign is asking people to sign up asking each London Mayoral candidate to agree to its three demands.