Cycling and the City

The city of London is growing and so is the trend to cycle in the city. A quarter of rush hour traffic is now attributed to cyclists and it is no secret that cycling is a cheaper alternative to public transport or driving, better for the environment and for our health, and can help reduce congestion on London’s busy roads- or can it?

Alongside this increase in cyclists is the need for infrastructure to accommodate the growing number of people ditching the bus for the handle bars. Not enough space for the increasing number of cyclists leaves us with the same problem that we started with: too much traffic. This is a concern as this means that, in addition to pedestrians and cars, there are now too may bikes, with a third set of applicable rules. Cyclists have their own lanes, but this is not always the case and often impede traffic by going on to the pavement, or when they come onto road, bike users have been seen to cut corners, run red lights and cycle whilst on their phone, which can pose a danger to themselves and other road users. Bikes need adequate infrastructure to accommodate them.

Correspondingly, mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced the creation of a new cycle superhighway. This 2.5-mile superhighway is to stretch from Swiss Cottage to the West End next and work is expected to begin toward the end of 2017, autumn time, at which point the removal of the gyratory will start. This is part of Khan’s plans to invest around £770 million over the next five years in London’s cycling infrastructure. Included in future projects, are plans for a new cyclist and pedestrian bridge linking Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf, which was one of Khan’s predecessor, Boris Johnson’s, more controversial plans.  There are also plans to complete the cycle superhighway between Farringdon and Kings Cross and add a further three new cycle superhighways.

Likewise, Transport for London (TfL) wants to further encourage people to turn to cycling and has invested £190,000 to support 46 cycling groups, awarding the money to a variety of community cycling projects, in an attempt to promote safer cycling. This money is going out as part of the Cycling Grants London programme and is managed by the charity Groundwork London. The projects covered include bike hire schemes, guided rides, bike mechanics training and cycle training.