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Call to make cycling safer in the capital

London Mayor Boris Johnson. Photo: PA

London Mayor Boris Johnson has been challenged to act over a 50% increase in cycling injuries on London's roads since 2006.

A new report Gearing Up has recommended doubling funding for cycling and targets for the number of journeys made by bike.

A man and woman ride the cycle hire scheme bikes. Credit: PA

Published during National Road Safety Week, the report calls on Mayor Boris Johnson to respond to falling cycle safety by adopting innovative ways to encourage more people on to bikes and reduce serious cycling incidents on the capital's roads.

The Assembly's recommendations to the Mayor, Transport for London and the Government include:

  • Doubling funding for cycling in TfL's transport budget
  • Timetabling an action plan for the east-west cycle super corridor
  • Appointing a commissioner to champion cycling
  • More space on London's roads for cyclists, using the experience from Games Lanes during London 2012
  • Establishing a new target for cycling in Mayor's 2020 Vision statement due in December 2012
  • Introducing fundamental cycle safety improvements
  • Using innovative road design and technological solutions to improve cycle safety
  • Revising the Road Safety Action Plan
  • TfL should report back to the Committee by February 2013 on the steps it is taking with the MPS on cycling safety

Gearing Up shows that while cycle safety in London has improved overall since 2001, injuries have been on the increase over the last six years.

Evidence collected by the Assembly cited safety as the main reason why Londoners would not take up cycling in the capital.

The London Assembly's Transport Committee also urges the Mayor to make his pledge to create a cycling revolution more ambitious.

The report calls for him to double his target of having 5% of journeys made by bike by 2026 to 10% following its analysis of current trends in London and other European cities.

Copenhagen, for example, has set a target of 50% of journeys to be made by bike by 2015.

The investigation showed that as cycling participation increased in other European cities, the safety of cyclists improved.

But in London, rising cycle numbers do not appear to be having the same positive impact.

The report also calls on the Mayor to encourage more participation as currently only 7% of suitable journeys are made by bike.

Following a strong interest in cycling during the 2012 Games, it's of great concern that cycle safety in London is now showing a decline in real terms.

We are calling on the Mayor to act quickly to back up the warm words that make up his vision for cycling with real substance that has an impact on boosting safe cycling in London.

Our report shows measures such as doubling cycling funding, making more space on our roads for cyclists and improving junction design, and trialling creative ideas to improve safety could all play a part in encouraging more journeys in London to be made by bike.

A more ambitious vision backed by real political will and safer conditions could help London reach the high levels of cycling seen in other European capitals.

– Caroline Pidgeon AM, Chair of the London Assembly's Transport Committee