Olympic countdown - Reasons for a London Cycle Map, #86: Much of the work has been done.

#86. MUCH OF THE WORK HAS BEEN DONE. One of the comments on the London Cycle Map Campaign petition asks why cycling policy innovation has been entrusted to enthusiasts rather than to the government. Good question. But there is a positive side to the London Cycle Map’s grassroots origins: much of the research and development work for the idea has been accomplished already.

By this I mean the work of imagining, conceiving, explaining and adapting the design. Simon Parker started out over a decade ago, seeking to find a logical and aesthetically appealing way to represent London’s tangle of cycle routes. After years of poring over maps under lamplight, he came up with a breathtakingly elegant method; the compass colour system, which forms the basis of his London Cycle Map.

A few years ago, Cycle Lifestyle began spelling out some of the implications of Simon’s proposal, and now this website is a repository of argument and analysis relating to his map. Detailed information can be consulted in our campaign guide, and throughout our back issues.

More recently still, Simon created a new website, using the funding from our GeoVation victory. On bikemapper.org.uk, you can find a map detailing the exact streets Simon’s routes are on. Campaigners can upload photos to help create a comprehensive database of the cycling infrastructure currently in place along those routes.

All this is the sort of committed work that policy officers might take years to complete at a government level. Let’s hope that the authorities soon recognise it as the goldmine it is.


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