Southwark Cyclists persuade council to embrace Dutch-style solutions on borough streets

Southwark Council has responded to pressure from Southwark Cyclists, the local LCC group, to reverse its transport policy, which previously rejected the use of segregated bike lanes.

In a recent Transport Plan, the council announced a new policy of eschewing cycle-specific facilities in favour of integrating cyclists with motor traffic, even on busy roads.

However, the policy appears to have been based on a mistaken assumption that all streets are suitable for shared-space treatments.

Dutch streets (which are the safest in the world for cyclists) typically use segregated lanes on main roads, reserving shared-space solutions for low-traffic routes.

After discussions with local campaigners, the council last week announced a new policy, with Councillor Peter John telling local newspaper Southwark News: “It’s a change that has happened since the meeting with Southwark Cyclists.

“They're saying ‘we do want this network [of bike lanes], we do want these safe streets across the borough’. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with an aspiration to make all Southwark’s streets safe for cyclists."

In 2011 two people were killed while cycling in Southwark, and another 33 seriously injured, with only Westminster having a higher absolute casualty figure among Greater London boroughs.

Alex Crawford of Southwark Cyclists said: "Last week's meeting was very positive, and at future meetings we look forward to working with the council to tackle the reasons so many people are currently too scared to cycle in the borough.

"We'll also discuss longer-term solutions, specifically for main roads."

Southwark Cyclists is calling for a target of 20% of journeys in the borough to be made by bike, much higher than the current council target of 4% by 2014, and 5% by 2025.

LCC's Love London, Go Dutch campaign is calling for Dutch-style treatments across London, including segregated facilities on main roads and traffic-calming/reduction on local streets.

If you haven't already, please sign the petition.