The Mayor’s office has clarified comments made by Sadiq Khan, and confirmed that segregated cycle routes will continue to be built. During a recent appearance on the LBC radio station, the Mayor of London appeared to imply there would be greater focus on Quietways over segregated cycle routes in the future, but it seems those comments may have been misinterpreted.
“With the best of intentions, you can inadvertently cause additional problems, so the construction of a permanent segregated cycle lane in itself causes pollution. I’ve got no powers over construction. What I can do though is learn the lessons from previous constructions of segregated superhighways.
“We’ve got to make sure that we divert cyclists to quiet roads so they’re not breathing in poisonous fumes, but also it leads to less congestion and you’re absolutely right, we’ve got to learn the lessons from the mistakes of the past.”
While some construed his words as flagging an intention to move away from segregated cycle infrastructure, a spokesperson said Khan had been focusing only on the construction phase, not the cycle lane itself.
“He was saying that badly planned, badly coordinated construction can cause congestion – like all big schemes – that was his point.
“During large construction projects, we do sometimes divert cyclists, temporarily, onto quieter routes. This was done whilst Tower Bridge was closed, and is in place whilst Tooley Street is closed in one direction due to construction at London Bridge Station.”
On Quietways, the spokesperson said: “What Sadiq meant was that – we should still encourage cyclists to use quiet roads, so there are options for people not comfortable cycling on a polluted main road, where a segregated cycle lane doesn’t yet exist.
“We are making quiet roads more attractive for cycling, through our existing Quietways and mini-Hollands programmes, including in places where segregated cycle lanes don’t currently exist. A mixture of new, safe cycle routes both on main roads and quieter roads is required to create a comprehensive cycling network. That’s why we are spending record amounts to build cycle superhighway routes, on main roads, segregating cyclists from traffic, in addition to developing other schemes.”
A London Cycling Campaign spokesperson commented: “We’re glad the Mayor has clarified his interview on LBC and remains committed to improving cycling in London at a rapid pace by introducing more main protected cycle tracks on main roads, as well as routes on quiet streets too. We look forward to him fulfilling his pledge to the public to triple the mileage of protected space on main roads in his Mayoral term.”
Additional reporting by Laura Laker.