As Transport Minister Norman Baker calls for more Londoners to walk and cycle to work during next year’s Olympics, cycling groups have highlighted the paucity of provision for riders wishing to get to the Games site itself by bike.
Modelling by Games organisers predicts that during the event, on August 3, 2012 there will be an extra three million trips on top of the 12 million trips on public transport which take place during an average London workday.
Norman Baker said: “It’s time to oil the creaking bike, dig out the walking boots, work out how to use the video conferencing equipment, and fire up the laptop gathering dust at the back of the cupboard.
“And of course Government has to play its part – at DfT we’ll be cutting our travel footprint by half during the Games, with similar initiatives across Whitehall. But all businesses need to play their part too – there’s plenty of help and advice out there so no excuse why we can’t reduce the amount we travel during the 17 days of the Games.”
But a BBC report highlights the difficulties facing anyone who wishes to travel to the Games themselves by bike. Cycling groups are critical of a Barclays Cycle Superhighway which terminates on what is described as a dangerous roundabout in Bow, some distance short of the Games site.
Transport for London have effectively said that their plans for the Superhighway have been held up by Newham Council.
"Our original proposal was for Route 2 to run all the way from Aldgate to Ilford,” a TfL spokesman said.
“However, the London Borough of Newham requested that we defer the section east of Bow Roundabout until after 2012 due to a number of projects planned in the Stratford area this year, including significant urban realm improvements as part of the Stratford High Street 2012 project. We hope to be able to resume construction of the remainder of the route after that time.''
Road.cc spoke to Newham Council which defended its decision not to extend the Cycle Superhighway at this time on the grounds of safety.
A Newham Council spokesman told us: "Cyclists’ safety is our number one priority - it's important that any solution has this at its heart. We are continuing discussions with TfL regarding the cycle superhighway and look forward to welcoming Kulveer Ranger, who has responsibility for cycling at the Greater London Authority, to Newham in the coming months to discuss the route in greater detail.
“We are keen to increase cycling across the borough and we hope to participate in the cycle hire scheme. Any future plans will be in line with Newham's existing highways design guidance and subject to future consultation with our residents."
So notwithstanding the borough's keeness to increase cycling in future, it appears that at present, cyclists' safety is a priority which Newham Council feels should be addressed by making its roads less attactive to cyclists in the hope that they will stay away until after the Games.