What do parents think about cycling with children in London?

Before the launch of our Sign for Cycling campaign, we asked LCC members to fill in a survey. We were looking for your views on what would make things better for cycling in London. And we got them.

Main roads and junctions

The survey confirmed that our top priority should be pushing for segregated cycle tracks on main roads. Nearly half of you said that was most important for making cycling safer. In the Sign for Cycling campaign we are asking Mayoral candidates to commit to tripling segregated tracks on main roads and fixing all of the junctions on the “Better Junctions” list, urgently.

Ending lorry danger

On lorries, three quarters of you recognise the serious danger they pose and support a ban of some sort on HGVs in London. We continue to campaign for a rush-hour ban and to Sign for Cycling, Mayoral candidates must commit to making “direct vision” lorries standard in London.

Mini-Hollands in every borough

You also felt that your local areas were terrible for family cycling and shorter journeys. Nearly two thirds of you feel cycling locally is “dangerous” or “very dangerous” for children, while only just over 6 percent deem it safe for children. 71 percent of those with children said changes to the roads could make it easier for kids to cycle. For family and shorter local journeys we’re asking Mayoral candidates who Sign For Cycling to commit to a “mini-Holland” scheme in every London borough – ideal for unlocking town centre and family cycling journeys.

Family unfriendly cycling

More though, than the figures, it was the stories you told us that really shocked. This is why it’s vital we get the Mayoral candidates to make cycling safe and enjoyable for people of all ages and abilities…

“Both my twin daughters did their bikability and on the first day afterwards asked me to cycle to school with them. On the way, on a narrow residential road, a 4X4 decided to overtake in the face of an oncoming car. There wasn't enough room for my daughter and two cars so the 4X4 just pulled across and forced her off into the gutter. My daughter got off the bike and walked the rest of the way to school. We have never attempted it since.” Hal, 54, Enfield.

“I kind of gave up cycling in London with [my son] a couple of years ago.  Despite a fluorescent "Trainer" tabard, a bus driver hooted at us aggressively and a car driver didn't see us as she was on her mobile. And on an escorted ride to a cycle campaign rally, a car driver got impatient as about eight of us cycled uphill and just cut straight in front of my son (aged nine at the time) to turn left onto a side street.” Louise, 48, Lambeth.

 “I feel I have no choice but to let my children cycle on the pavement on most main roads, while I cycle on the road next to them - to be beeped, and even sworn at by passing drivers, for cycling too slowly.” Steve, 52, Lambeth.

“As a parent carrying my kids on my bike I get insulted and intentionally almost run over. I fear for my and my kids life. I cannot envisage them cycling on their own even with supervision, because they wouldn't be seen in between large vehicles that clog even small roads and parked vehicles everywhere.” Barbara, 36, Tower Hamlets.

“Our residential street is 30 mph not 20 mph, there is no traffic calming and some people drive way too fast. The roads around us have no cycle facilities and are dominated by fast-moving traffic. The local park has recently slapped up no cycling signs there. There is really nowhere for [kids] to cycle without close adult supervision.” Edward, 47, Wandsworth.

“It is quite hard to plot a route of more than half a km without needing to cross a major road which almost always requires the child to dismount. There are almost no segregated cycle lanes near us so my son prefers to walk rather than be in with the traffic.” Brian, 45, Hammersmith & Fulham.

It's saddening to hear stories like this, of ordinary Londoners who just want to cycle with their kids, or for their kids to experience the joy of cycling. It shouldn't have to be that difficult, or dangerous, should it? Londoners, especially our cities children, deserve a city that is safe and enjoyable for cycling. That's why we're asking the main Mayoral candidates to sign up and support our three-point agenda as part of our Sign for Cycling campaign. Only a few have done, so far. Find out who's on board.

It's also why we're asking Londoners to Sign for Cycling and add their name to our petition to the Mayoral candidates. Have you signed yet? 

Sign the petition

Hear what the children of Hugh Myddelton Primary School have to say about cycling in London in the video below: