Olympic countdown - Reasons for a London Cycle Map, #92: Creating a cycle network for non-cyclists.

#92. CREATING A CYCLE NETWORK FOR NON-CYCLISTS. Non-cyclists are a tough group to campaign on behalf of. They’re either not interested in cycling, or actively opposed to it. Whichever way, they don’t give you much help.

But speaking up for non-cyclists is important. The more of them who can be persuaded to cycle, the safer life gets for the paltry number of Londoners who already do (about 2% of journeys in London are currently undertaken by bicycle, compared to around 55% in Copenhagen).

Sadly, cycling campaigners tend to forget what it’s like to be a non-cyclist. They forget what it’s like to feel utterly terrified by the traffic, overwhelmed by London’s size, and reluctant to go against the grain of society. Any successful cycling campaign must address and dissipate all these worries.

A London Cycle Map, I believe, would achieve this. A properly signed London Cycle Network, encompassing the capital’s most direct but quiet cycle routes, would provide all the reassurance non-cyclists need: protection against the heaviest traffic, ease of navigation, and safety in numbers.

Ironically, the opinion of the most hard-core cyclists matters the least when it comes to promoting cycling in London. The more opinionated cyclists are, the more likely they are to campaign for conditions that suit them, but not necessarly novices. That’s why, when some cyclists say they 'don’t need a London Cycle Map’, it’s legitimate to reply, ‘fair enough, but the London Cycle Map is not for you’. It is, indeed, for everyone.


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