How cycle safety has gone up the election agenda in London

  • 1 May 2012
  • From the section London
  • comments

On Monday I went to an election hustings on cycling safety.

That is not a sentence I have written before and it indicates the remarkable changes that have happened in the capital with regards to cycling.

The hustings, organised by The Times newspaper and the charity Sustrans, shows how high cycle safety has shot up the political agenda.

Certainly, those who argue that mayors do not work and do not listen to the people who elected them should look at the cycling debate.

The issue of cycling safety has always been there, of course, but it started to gather force in November after two cyclists died at Bow roundabout.

This is how I reported it at the time.

Aggressive campaigning

And, as I have written here, local bloggers and campaigners also started to demand change on the roads and began to target the mayoral candidates.

The issue was crystallised when The Times took up a campaigning stance through journalists like Kaya Burgess and Phillip Pank after one of their colleagues was knocked off a bike by an HGV.

What was also noticeable, prior to this, was a sea change at groups like London Cycling Campaign (LCC) and Sustrans which became more demanding and aggressive in their campaigning.

The result is that now all of the main mayoral candidates have signed up to the LCC's campaign promising to "commit to continental-standard cycling infrastructure in the capital".

Most are now committed to "cycling commissioners" and we have already seen a policy shift before the election.

Of course, there are many questions about funding for such infrastructure and delivery but cyclists will hold the candidates to their promises.

Cyclists are a broad, diverse church and in London the mayoral structure has allowed them to make, they hope, considerable changes to the landscape of London.

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