Olympic countdown - Reasons for a London Cycle Map, #50. Nothing else is working well enough.

50. NOTHING ELSE IS WORKING WELL ENOUGH. “I can’t help it if you might think I’m odd if I say I’m not loving you for what you are but what you’re not”, sang the inimitable Bob Dylan.

If you’ve don’t really ‘get’ the idea of the London Cycle Map, Dylan’s lyric hints at a reason why should you still back our campaign: current cycle development in London isn’t working well enough.

By ‘not working well enough’ I mean ‘not making cycling mainstream’. As a proportion of all journeys in London, bikes are currently used around 2% of the time, despite all the recent hype and initiatives to promote and facilitate cycle usage.

Sustrans’ Greenways are great – but a selection of pastoral corridors in the capital will not make Londoners cycle en masse. The Cycle Superhighways are better than nothing – but a handful of blue lines painted in the slipstream of some of London’s most aggressive traffic is not going to get millions of people onto two wheels. The LCC’s Go Dutch campaign has achieved good salience, but has only managed to get mayor Boris Johnson to commit to some minimal demands, none of which will make much of an impact on the anti-cycling mentality of the vast majority of Londoners in the foreseeable future.

Costing just £50,000 per borough (as estimated by LCN development manager Brian Deegan) the London Cycle Map is surely worth a punt, especially when compared to London’s expensive current cycling initiatives.

When you consider what the London Cycle Map would offer – safe and easily-navigable routes for novice cyclists on signed and marked quieter streets extending throughout the entire capital; a Tube-style network for bikes – it’s a certainty that implementing Parker’s proposal would make a big bicycle-shaped dent into that remaining 98% of journeys.


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