We define (1) motor traffic speeds and volumes that are acceptable for cycling and (2) solutions for problem streets

(1) Motor traffic speeds and volumes that are acceptable for cycling

At our 2013 AGM, our members passed a motion defining what speeds and volumes of motor vehicles in which it's acceptable to ask people to cycle.

We know from countless surveys and real-world examples that most people are scared to cycle when motor traffic is fast or there's lots of it.

Our motion is intended to create conditions on our streets that encourage mass cycling: conditions that are suitable for novice cyclists, children, the elderly, the disabled, as well as more confident and faster cyclists.

Our members have said:

  • No-one should be expected to cycle among motor traffic travelling above 20mph;
  • No-one should have to cycle in motor traffic volumes above 2000 passenger car units (PCUs) per day.

Our members have made it clear that proposed improvements for cycling that expect people to cycle in these conditions are wrong, will inevitably lead to a failure to encourage mass cycling, and that we should campaign for change when those basic principles are contravened.

We would absolutely expect core cycling networks as defined by Transport for London and the boroughs to adhere to our 20mph-2000 PCU limits.

We will also push for these limits to be used elsewhere wherever there's an opportunity (eg, broader transport schemes) because cyclists don't only cycle on core networks and everyone should be able to use as much of the whole Greater London street network as possible.

Our goal, in line with our 2014 Space for Cycling campaign demands, is removing through motor traffic from wide areas of residential and shopping streets and protected lanes/tracks on main roads (see below).

(2) Solutions for problem streets

If a street is subject to speeds and/or volumes of motor traffic above these thresholds, then there are two basic ways of making it suitable for mass cycling, depending on the type of street and its function in broader transport networks:

  • Reduce motor traffic speed to 20mph or less and motor traffic volume to under 2000 PCUs
  • Separate cyclists from motor traffic using high-quality protected lanes/tracks

In many instances, there will be insufficient street space to install high-quality protected lanes/tracks, so the favoured option will be to reduce motor traffic speeds and volumes, and in those instances that's exactly what we'll campaign for.

Where there is space for protected lanes/tracks, we'll enter discussions with the traffic authority with an open mind, willing to accept a solution that reduces motor traffic speeds/volumes or one that separates cyclists from motor traffic.

Our members have sent the strongest possible signal to our traffic authorities that we want mass cycling in Greater London, and that every street where speeds and volumes are too high will be a potential campaign battle ground.

However, we reject the notion that one solution is necessarily better than another to improve conditions on those streets, and will work constructively towards finding the best solutions on a street-by-street basis.

Read more about using these thresholds to help local campaigning.