Zac Goldsmith outlines support for cycling in manifesto. Is it enough?

Zac Goldsmith, Conservative  mayoral candidate has outlined his support for cycling in his Transport Manifesto, where he says: 

"Boris Johnson has committed almost £1 billion to double the number of cyclists again by 2026. I will protect and build on that legacy as part of my Action Plan for Greater London."

London Cycling Campaign welcomes this commitment and calls on both Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan (who published his manifesto last week) to convert their aspirations into concrete targets by supporting Sign for Cycling, joining Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon and Sian Berry, the two candidates so far committed to meeting LCC’s Mayoral three point agenda so far.

LCC Chief Executive, Dr Ashok Sinha said:

Zac Goldsmith’s manifesto shows he recognises that investing more in cycling is good for London and good for Londoners, and we commend him for that. But it’s a disappointment that he makes no mention of extending the Mini-Holland programme. London Cycling Campaign calls on him to now show that he really means what he says by committing to meet the specific, concrete three-point agenda of our Sign for Cycling campaign, including spreading the Mini-Holland programme to all boroughs”

LCC will shortly publish a comparative analysis of the Mayoral candidates manifestos on cycling.

What is LCC calling for?

Read more about our policy here

In his manifesto, Goldsmith writes:

“Boris Johnson made it his mission to get London on two wheels. As a result of his record investment, more people than ever are enjoying the health benefits of greener, cheaper, healthier travel. Cycling in London has doubled over the last decade, with cyclists now accounting for a quarter of all rush-hour traffic in central London.’ 

London’s population is growing rapidly. If we don’t enable more people to cycle we’ll face even higher pollution levels, crippling congestion on our streets and more crowding on the tube. Supporting and enabling more people to cycle safely and enjoyably, would help to tackle this problem. But it’s vital for the capital that they have cycling firmly on their agenda for the next four years. Disregarding cycling’s potential would undermine the progress made over the past few years – London needs many more of the high quality schemes we’re now beginning to see, that make cycling safer and get many more people on bikes.

We need to make sure all candidates understand that a commitment to growing cycling is a commitment to keep London moving, for the benefit of all Londoners. The essential ingredient to achieve that growth is the provision of international-quality cycling facilities. Londoners can do this by supporting Sign for Cycling and putting their names to our petition for a safer, happier, healthier London.

Surveys show that millions of Londoners would like to start cycling, or cycle more, in the capital. The primary reason that they cite for not doing so is road danger. Addressing this issue is key to unlocking London’s potential as a cycling city. 

We are at a tipping point: we either work to sustain the welcome growth in cycling or allow London to grind to a smog inducing standstill. The time to Sign for Cycling is now.

What is in Zac Goldsmith’s manifesto?

  • Protect the green belt from development
  • Tackle air pollution with tougher rules on HGVs, and encouraging greener vehicles and safer cycling
  • Create more green spaces and clean up local parks so they are safe to visit and enjoy
  • Reduce congestion by insisting that developments use consolidation centres for deliveries by HGV and by prioritising deliveries by river and rail
  • Work with Government to get the dirtiest vehicles off our streets

Specifically on cycling, he says that he will:

  • Protect and build on Boris Johnson’s legacy of a commitment to almost £1 billion to double the number of cyclists again by 2026. 
  • Bring Oyster to Boris Bikes. From 2017, when current contracts end, integrate Boris Bikes into the wider TfL payment system, ensuring bikes can quickly and easily be hired via Oyster card or contactless payment.
  • Consult on extending the current Boris Bike scheme to the outer London boroughs, setting up regional town centre to town centre hire schemes using more affordable and more modern bikes. To include a focus on whether local sponsorship could help to make this possible. 
  • Partner with Brompton Bikes to build on their existing London hire schemes in Croydon, Ealing Broadway, Turnham Green and Walthamstow Central and pilot four further Brompton Bike Hire docks in outer London. 
  • More Cycle Super Hubs in order to guarantee more parking spaces for cyclists, providing hubs at Waterloo, Tottenham Hale, Abbey Wood, Barking and Romford by 2019. 
  • Take forward TfL’s programme to upgrade the 33 most dangerous junctions, identifying further junctions to upgrade, 
  • Supporting boroughs that choose to limit speeds on their roads and get more lorries off our roads through using consolidation centres
  • Requiring all suitable HGVs operating in London to be fitted with a clear window panel in the passenger-side door to improve driver visibility and cycle safety, and trial a new innovation proposed by one leading trucking company to install inflatable skirts under their lorries in order to stop cyclists falling under the rail. 
  • Work with the Government and industry to guarantee much greater take-up of the safest possible HGVs including lorries with ‘Direct vision’ cabs allow the driver to see pedestrians and cyclists directly rather than relying on mirrors or cameras. 
  • Continue to support the delivery of Cycle Superhighways and the Quietways programme in order to produce a comprehensive 'Tube Network for the Bike'.  Policy to be based on evidence, and if residents’ fears about congestion are borne out, will look again. Need cycling programme that works for everyone. 
  • Set up a new sponsorship fund for community cycling schemes, to help lever in match-funding for the next tranche of regional schemes.