In December TfL shared their draft business plan including a commitment to spend £154 million per year on cycling over the next 5 years. The aim is to reach 1.5 million cycle journeys per day by 2025. We started up a discussion thread about this announcement on Talk London, to understand your views on the measures set out to be delivered with the investment. It’s been a lively discussion; we’ve received more than 900 comments so far.
We’ve been busy analysing all that you’ve said to make sure the relevant policy teams at City Hall understand your ideas and can identify trends.
There were two clear sides in the discussion, and you were roughly evenly split in your opinions as to whether or not the investment was a good thing.
Increased safety and better public health stood out as the main reasons for supporting the measures. Lots of you were confident that measures such as separate cycle lanes and cyclist/pedestrian only areas would make cycling more attractive to more people, particularly those who tend not to cycle at present. Lots of you think the increase in the number of people cycling will have long term public health benefits in two ways: firstly through increased physical activity, and secondly by reducing air pollution. Some of you felt that cycling was already on a journey of improvement in London and “changing for the better”. However, lots of you in outer London felt you’d missed out on investment so far, with areas like Bromley having little cycling infrastructure.
For those who disagreed with the planned investment, lots of you suggested that building more cycle lanes tends to “force traffic into single lanes and extended queues” and worsen air quality in the short term, with the most detrimental impact being on pedestrians. This was thought to be particularly frustrating by those who see cycle lanes quiet outside of peak commuting hours, whilst lanes for motor vehicles remain busy. The Transport policy team informs us that new cycle infrastructure is being well-used “At peak times, cyclists now make up the majority of vehicles on some roads, such as Blackfriars Bridge, where cyclists account for 70 per cent of all vehicles. TfL monitoring data shows that one third of all people using the cycle lanes across a 24hr period are doing so outside of the peak hours (7-10am and 4-7pm).”
Some of you felt that some cyclists don’t use the infrastructure created, sticking to vehicle lanes or even pavements. Those of you who stated this felt that where cycle lanes exist their use by cyclists should be mandatory.
Though most of you who support the investment think it will improve safety for cyclists, some think that this will only be realised through specific types of infrastructure, particularly segregated cycle lanes or car free areas. Quietways in particular were thought by some of you to be dangerous, and something that should not receive more funding unless they go beyond “painted ‘Q’s on backstreets which are used as shortcuts by motor traffic”.
Many who disagreed with the investment were also concerned about safety as the number of cyclists increased, if cyclists don’t follow the Highway Code. Lots of you suggested a mandatory cycling proficiency test to prevent this, though the cyclists amongst you felt that this test would put people off taking up cycling. Safety for all road users is of course very important, and the concerns raised are being shared with the relevant bodies.
All in all a very varied discussion. Thanks again for your participation, which has been shared with the relevant policy teams here at City Hall.