#33. NOBODY HAS FOUND ANYTHING WRONG WITH THE PROPOSAL. A few objections to the London Cycle Map crop up repeatedly but they’re all easily refutable.
For instance, ‘how do I know where the routes are’ gets asked regularly. Simple: in the same way that you’d find out where a Tube station is – by consulting an A to Z or Google maps, or asking someone.
‘How will I know which direction I’m travelling in’ is another question that’s easy to respond to: just monitor the junctions as you go, as you would with streets names or other markers when walking or driving. You’d soon work out if you were heading the wrong way.
Here’s a cynical response: ‘Putting up a few signs won’t make a difference’. Quite right! Over the last thirty years, the authorities have put up a few signs on the London Cycle Network and it’s still impossible to navigate. That’s the whole point of the London Cycle Map Campaign! We’re calling for painted trails of ‘breadcrumbs’ on the road and a comprehensively signed cycle network so that cyclists cannot possibly get lost on it. This will mean that people new to cycling can be confident that they can get from anywhere to anywhere in the whole capital just by following a few coloured cycle routes.
‘Main roads are faster’ is another classic response, since Parker’s routes predominantly use the quieter backstreets of the London Cycle Network. Main roads aren’t necessarily faster – they’re loaded with traffic lights, not to mention traffic including buses and trucks, and you still need to spend time planning a route in advance. Even with segregated cycling facilities main roads wouldn’t be faster than backstreets – they’d be slower, in fact, because the restricted cycling area would limit everyone to the speed of the slowest cyclist. Following a few coloured routes on the quieter, traffic-lights streets featured on the London Cycle Map would make cycling quick, spontaneous and convenient.
‘Who wants to cycle that far?’ is a common query. But if this objection is valid we might as well give up on cycle development altogether, because the average commute in London is 7.5 miles. In fact, cycling this distance is easily doable for the majority of people, and for those who might struggle, an electric bike would make it a doddle and a delight. A London Cycle Map would be perfect for these commuter-length journeys, by removing the need for complex route planning and giving cyclists safety in numbers.
Some people worry that ‘cyclists should be able to cycle wherever they like’. This is a silly objection. The London Cycle Map would be an optional resource for cyclists.
Apart from these easily answered queries, I’m yet to hear any concrete objection to the proposal. Bear in mind, we are on the radar of every major cycle advocacy group in the UK, and none of these has come up with any reasons why this amazing and affordable proposal shouldn’t proceed.
Please sign the petition and make sure Parker’s London Cycle Map gets the positive attention it deserves.