Mayor Boris Johnson ducks Londoners' calls for a real cycling legacy after Olympics
Today, Boris Johnson re-announced a two-day summer festival of cycling for 2013 (it had been known about since January), which will involve a traffic-free event in central London on Saturday 3 August (like Skyride) and, the next day, a mass cycling sportive in London and Surrey, open to 20,000 participants.
The London Cycling Campaign welcomes these events, but shares the disappointment of many Londoners that an announcement supposedly offering an ‘Olympic legacy’ for cyclists doesn’t include any new infrastructure to make London’s streets more safe and inviting for cycling.
In April 2012, Boris Johnson signed up to LCC’s Love London, Go Dutch campaign, yet nearly 100 days into his second mayoralty there are few signs yet that he’s putting into practice the commitments he made to the electorate a week before the election.
We’ll be delivering a full verdict on his first 100 days in the coming weeks.
LCC sees a place for mass cycling events – indeed, our trustee David Love is credited with coming up with the idea for the original traffic-free Freewheel in 2007 – but their effect on increasing levels of cycling is likely to be very marginal, and their influence on cyclist safety is zero.
And adding a cycling sportive to the mix will no doubt provide tremendous entertainment for many Londoners of a sporty disposition, but it won’t do anything to address the needs of Londoners who use cycling in a much more practical way - for TRANsport.
Yes, the Mayor has instructed Transport for London to conduct a review of many dangerous junctions (after strong lobbying and the deaths of many cyclists), but we still have no idea to what degree these junctions will be changed.
The response from London's cycling public to the Mayor's supposed 'Legacy' announcement has been equally cool.
“While ‘RideLondon’ is a welcome addition to the scene, of course, the words ‘wasted opportunity’ are ringing pretty loudly in my ears. @marksbikeslondon, Twitter
“Next year’s RideLondon sounds great but a 2-day festival is a jolly not an Olympic legacy.” @carltonreid, Twitter
“What we need is infrastructure to enable Londoners of all ages, shapes and sizes to get around by bike safely in London. So please don't let [Boris] call this event the Olympic 'legacy'.” Warren Hatter, Facebook
“I dont want a summer of cycling: I want Government to CHANGE things, laws that protect cyclists, better infrastructure, better education, more road safety initiatives, HGV safety improvements, better interaction of ALL road users” Mark Preval, Facebook
“We need the proper infrastructure so that most people can cycle throughout the year and which will help make our city cleaner” Susan Belinda Webb, Facebook