The election campaign for the next Mayor of London is in full swing and candidates are vying for votes. Early polls suggest it’s a two horse race between Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone with the result too close to call. Keen cyclists in London will be asking themselves: Has Boris done enough for cyclists and what will he deliver if he is re-elected as Mayor of London?
Cycle hire scheme expansion
There are a few clues as to what Boris has planned next for London’s cyclists. For a start, the cycle hire scheme is largely seen as a success despite failing spectacularly with Boris’ original plan for funding through sponsorship. Boris has pledged to continue to push for expansion of the scheme.
£15 funding for improving the most dangerous junctions
There’s also the recent budgetary announcement of £15 million being made available for the redesign of dangerous junctions in London. The planned redesign of Euston Circus is expected to cost £11m. If a major overhaul of one junction costs so much and offers barely noticeable improvements for cyclists, then there isn’t that much hope for £15 million creating a real difference.
Additionally, as Danny from Cyclists in the City rightly points out, the junction by junction strategy seems more like a band aid approach to a wider problem. A better example is the £9 million investment made by Cambridge council to create 14 new and improved cycle routes that people actually want to use.
Part of Boris’ continuing commitment would be to expand the number of cycle superhighways. The superhighways have had a mixed reception from cyclists. Despite the improvements in road surface and signage, the routes have failed to convince people that cycling is a safe activity.
Beyond that, there is little inspiration is Boris’ current plans for expanding cycling in London and making our capital safer for cyclists.
Inspiration instead can be found in some of the other candidates policies.
Brian Paddick calls for barriers between bicycles and cars wherever possible. He also calls for an expansion in the use of Trixi Mirrors and agrees with the importance of a cycle safety review on key junctions.
Jenny Jones goes much further. She suggests new roads should only be for public transport, cycling and walking. Additionally, cyclists should have priority at traffic lights. She would also like to see more 20mph zones and additional cycle parking. Jenny Jones also supports banning Heavy Goods Vehicles from narrow roads.
Ken Livingstone has pledged to provide free cycle hire access to elderly people. He also supports safety improvements at key junctions and calls for the introduction of a tool to enable cyclists to report safety concerns to TfL.
Will cycling policies play a part in your decision for which mayoral candidate to vote for? Do you think Boris Johnson has done enough? Do you think Ken Livingstone can do more?
Leave a comment below with your thoughts..
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.