Olympic countdown - Reasons for a London Cycle Map, #56. Safer Cycling. Now.

#56. SAFER CYCLING. NOW. Over 3600 cyclists were either killed or seriously injured on the streets of the 32 London boroughs in the nine years between 2000 and 2008. This map shows where the accidents took place. What stands out, blatantly, is that so many of them occurred on main roads.

Of course, the biggest tragedy is that invariably there would have been a safer, quieter route available to each of the cyclists who came to harm. Those cyclists could, in many cases, have ridden on the London Cycle Network, and avoided the capital’s heaviest and most aggressive traffic.

There is one reason above all why this didn’t happen. The London Cycle Network is hard to find, and even harder to follow.

Simon Parker has come up with a brilliant proposal for making the London Cycle Network more accessible. With the corresponding road signs and markings in place, his London Cycle Map would enable cyclists to travel from anywhere to anywhere in the capital by following just a few coloured routes on safer, quieter streets.

If Parker’s plan had been adopted by the authorities ten years ago when he first had the idea, fewer cyclists would have come to harm on London’s main roads since then.

But never mind the recriminations. Here is what matters most: we could, and should, implement Parker’s plan now. Right now. In doing so, we could save lives in the next ten years. It is simply immoral not to recognize this.

If the militant cyclists at the LCC get their way during that period, a handful of London’s main roads will be equipped with segregated cycling facilities. But there will still be thousands of miles of dangerous busy roads which remain unprovisioned in the capital. And cyclists will still be forced onto those main roads because it is too difficult to navigate on quieter streets.

Never mind the next ten years, it would probably take a century to convert London’s main roads into a safe, navigable cycle network. How many cyclists have to die or get seriously injured in the meantime?

A London Cycle Map would bring safer cycling to the capital. Now.


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