Spending on cycling in London is set to increase provided that Labour’s Sadiq Khan, who is poised to succeed Boris Johnson as mayor following yesterdays poll, keeps his pre-election promise.
The MP for Tooting, who supported the London Cycling Campaign’s Sign for Cycling pledges before his closest rival Zac Goldsmith did likewise, has a 9 percentage point lead with the count almost complete.
He is expected to be announced as the city’s new mayor this evening. So what does his election mean for the capital’s cyclists?
For a start, the 45-year-old has promised to “make London a byword for cycling,” saying at last week’s hustings hosted by LCC and The Times that he wanted it to have a global reputation on a par with Amsterdam, Copenhagen or Berlin.”
He also sees cycling as having a vital role to play not only in helping the city cope with its growing population, but also in addressing the issue of air pollution, which he describes as a “moral imperative.”
Khan said: “In a city where 10,000 people each year are dying because of air pollution the environmental and health benefits are clear, it is also a matter of economic sustainability; the tube and the bus network can’t take the strain as the city continues to grow, cycling should be not just an easy but obvious choice.”
He has pledged to treble the extent of segregated infrastructure for the capital’s bike riders, and has also said he supports the proposed cycling and walking bridge across the Thames from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf.
In his manifesto, he said he would “continue the Cycle Superhighway programme, with a focus on segregated provision,” and “look at what’s working best from the existing schemes and make sure we deliver the best, safest road cycling network possible.”
He has also said he will encourage more boroughs to roll out ‘Mini Holland’ schemes to favour cycling and walking, with Waltham Forest, Kingston and Enfield all granted around £30 million in 2013 to transform their town centres.
“I am committed to ensuring that every London borough that wishes to do so, and can produce a viable, high quality plan, has a fair opportunity to benefit from a Mini-Holland style scheme,” Khan said.
Safer lorries are also on the agenda, with the mayor-in-waiting supporting direct vision cabs that afford drivers a clearer view of what is around them to minimise blind spots.
He said: “I will promote safer, cleaner lorries. I will work with the boroughs and using City Hall procurement to set new safety standards, work to make sure City Hall and TfL contracts specify ‘direct-vision’ lorries, and use planning and other powers available to me, so that the safest lorry types become the norm on London’s streets as soon as possible.”
To help increase spend on cycling, Khan has said that he will make improvements to efficiency at Transport for London.
When Khan gave his backing to Sign for Cycling, LCC chief executive Ashok Sinha said: “Mr Khan’s pledges are just the sort of continuation of momentum from the present Mayor’s historic cycling programme that London needs.
“The London Cycling Campaign will make sure Mr Khan is held to properly to account for these promises, if elected, as well as assist him in the implementation.”
Khan has four years to make good on his promises, but one clear signal of his intentions would be if he appoints a successor as cycling commissioner to Andrew Gilligan, who has been credited with doing much of the work in pushing through Johnson’s Cycling Vision.
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.