Boris suggests car free Sundays for London

Boris Johnson takes the train from Kuala Lumpur Airport while on a week long visit taking in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Car-free Sundays could be introduced to central London, Boris Johnson suggested today, after being inspired by cycling alongside thousands of Indonesians in Jakarta.

The London mayor took part in a mass cycle alongside the recently-inaugurated President Joko Widodo on the latest stop of a high-profile six-day regional tour.

Every Sunday, several main boulevards of Jakarta are closed to all traffic from 6am, allowing tens of thousands of Indonesians to pour into the streets on bikes and on foot, with street stalls and music offering a carnival atmosphere.

After breakfast with the president, Mr Johnson said: "Wasn't that sensational? I have to admit I was blown away by the popularity of the car-free Sunday here in Jakarta.

"We have been thinking about it for ages - I don't think you are going to get the British people out of bed at six in the morning to do it quite like that but it is certainly food for thought.

"I will certainly be asking Transport for London to dust down those old ideas and let's have a look at them again.

"I think it would probably take time to bed in and it would take a few years before people got into the swing of coming out into the streets and making use of the space that a car-free Sunday provided. But it was very stimulating."

In a later radio interview, Mr Johnson said it would be important to look at the traffic implications and other logistics of such an event.

For the past two years, several miles of central London streets have been closed on a Saturday in August for the Freecycle event, a cycling festival that includes the Ride London 100 mass participation and pro-cycling races.