25 years after it opened, Docklands Light Railway now permanently welcomes cyclists on off-peak trains

Transport for London has announced that, following a successful trial, non-folding bicycles are now permitted on off-peak Docklands Light Railway (DLR) trains on a permanent basis (except on trains between Bank and Shadwell stations).

The first sections of the DLR opened in 1987, serving the regenerated docklands in East London, and from the outset bicycles were banned on all trains.

The London Cycling Campaign has repeatedly petitioned Transport for London to allow bicycles on DLR trains during off-peak hours, but until now the request has always been rejected. 

This was despite the fact that cycles are allowed on overland trains, which are of a similar design to DLR trains, as well as on sections of the Underground network that run along the surface, such as the Circle Line and outer sections of the Piccadilly, District and Metropolitan lines.

As recently as 2012, MD of London Underground Mike Brown said the risks of carrying bikes on the DLR were "higher than other railways".

The U-turn from TfL comes after Mayor Boris Johnson included making the DLR cycle-friendly in his "Vision for Cycling", published in March 2013.

Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan, who lives in Greenwich, has also strongly supported the new policy.

LCC Chief Executive Ashok Sinha said, "There has never been a convincing case to not allow bicycles on the Docklands Light Railway, and we're delighted Transport for London is now permitting their carriage on off-peak services.

"This sensible decision will open up new parts of East London, and facilitate safer and more convenient river crossings to many Londoners.

"We hope this is the start of much greater integration of cycling and public transport in future across Greater London, perhaps eventually replicating the situation in the Netherlands that sees one third of rail journeys also involving a bicycle. 

LCC worked with TfL on its six-month trial allowing bicycles on off-peak DLR services in July 2013, with more than 5000 cyclists travelling with their bikes during this period.

Bicycles are still banned on the short section of that runs underground between Bank and Shadwell stations, because of potential difficulties exiting Bank station with a bicycle.

DLR trains have no dedicated cycle carriage bays, but there's frequently space in areas designed to carry wheelchairs.

People with bikes are encouraged to vacate the wheelchair space if its needed by a disabled passenger.

Unlike most other rail networks, DLR stations invariaibly have step free access so heavy or loaded bikes can more easily be taken up to platforms, even it's a squeeze in some of the lifts. 

Mayor of London Boris Johnson, said: "Opening up the Docklands Light Railway to cyclists will be a great boost to the cycling community and make it much more convenient for cyclists to cross the river. This is another important step forward in our mission to make it easier for more people to get cycling in the capital."

DLR Director Rory O'Neill, said: "All cyclists are now welcome to use DLR services during off-peak hours and at all time on weekends and Bank Holidays. This follows our successful six-month trial during which the London Cycling Campaign provided advice and assistance. I'd like to thank them for their co-operation and input during the trial."

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