Olympic countdown - Reasons for a London Cycle Map, #45. Never mind going Dutch, let’s Go London!

#45. NEVER MIND GOING DUTCH, LET'S GO LONDON! The LCC’s Love London, Go Dutch campaign was presumably partly inspired by Cycle Lifestyle’s slogan Love London, Love Cycling, so I think it’s only fair that I borrow an idea from them.

In any case, going London is much more appropriate in London than going Dutch. The biggest city in Holland – Amsterdam – is very different to London, despite the LCC touting the former as a cycle development model for the latter. Whereas the population of London is 7,556,900, Amsterdam’s is just 790,654. And whereas London covers an area of 1583 squared kilometres, Amsterdam covers just 219 squared kilometres.

Clearly, cycle journeys in Amsterdam are shorter and easier to navigate. These two factors have helped to swell the numbers of people on bikes there, which itself has had a positive feedback effect, encouraging more people to cycle.

In contrast, lots more journeys in London require a car simply because of the distances involved and the difficulty of navigating by bike over those longer distances. Those cars, in turn, have had a negative feedback effect on cycling, scaring people off.

Without the problems of size and navigation, in Amsterdam cycle development tends to get more people cycling. But the same is not true in London. We’ve been developing the London Cycle Network for thirty years, yet it has hardly made any difference to the numbers of cyclists in the capital. The obstacles of bigness and navigation are just too severe.

We can’t do much about London being big (apart from riding electric bikes), but we can make cycle navigation easier here. Simon Parker’s London Cycle Map suggests an ingenious way of signing the London Cycle Network, to make it possible for cyclists to get from anywhere to anywhere in the capital by following a few coloured routes, just like on the Tube. With fewer cars, these routes would be less scary to new cyclists, and soon more and more cyclists would follow, reassured by the safety in numbers.

London and Amsterdam have different needs, and need different solutions. In Parker’s London Cycle Map, we should be celebrating a magnificent piece of British design – an innovative, world-leading solution to the problem of how to make cycling more accessible in a metropolis.

Never mind going Dutch, let’s Go London!



"lots more journeys in London

"lots more journeys in London require a car simply because of the distances involved and the difficulty of navigating by bike over those longer distances"

Transport for London says about half London car journeys are under 2 miles, so could easily be cycled

It's a myth Dutch cycle streets won't work here

Just like it's a myth that putting up a few coloured signs will suddenly convince my granny that it's safe to ride a bike through Bow roundabout

What about the other half?

What about the other half? That's quite a lot of journeys. Those cars are inevitably going to swell the main roads creating an intimidating atmosphere for cyclists.

Hence, the idea of signing safer, quieter routes on backstreets.

Your point about putting up signs on the Bow roundabout betrays a rather flippant failure to understand what is being proposed by the London Cycle Map Campaign.

Have you actually read the Q and A, or each of these 100 reasons carefully?

Why exactly is it a 'myth' that Go Dutch principles wouldn't work in London? I've explained my reasoning - would be very interested to hear yours.

p.s. a few years ago, the LCC

p.s. a few years ago, the LCC were advocating a 'Bike Grid' - this is still on their website.


Have they renounced this idea or not? It sounds very similar to Parker's London Cycle Map, albeit not as imaginative, comprehensive or useful.

I hope nobody, let alone your

I hope nobody, let alone your Granny, would consider riding a bike 'through' any roundabout. Road-ignorance aside, though, the point is that the LCN routes in the most part keep cyclists away from large roundabouts and other intimidating, car-centric features of road infrastructure. 'A few coloured signs' are the street-level markers for a conceptually complex but practically ingeniously simple navigation system, devised over years of research and effort by Simon Parker. You've picked up on the simplicity of it from the user's point of view; now all you have to do is accept it! Some things ARE brilliantly simple. And the simplest and least PR-driven solutions are often the best.

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