Creating 'clear space for cycling on main roads' is key to unlocking the latent consumer demand there is in London to make everyday journeys by bike.
Just as in the Netherlands, in fact, where four out of five of the population cycles regularly, with a quarter of all journeys cycled.
Despite recent limited improvements, the vast majority of main roads in London are inhospitable places for all but the most capable and experienced cyclists.
No wonder that our members voted to make space on main roads the priority cycling issue that we want the next Mayor of London to fix.
Go Dutch is all about going beyond the non-solutions and half-solutions that have, with few exceptions, characterised previous efforts to free Londoners from the constraints preventing them from cycling on our main roads.
We don’t have to re-invent the wheel. The answers are out there. Going Dutch means inspiring the political will and resources needed to adopt the known and proven solutions that have been so successful in granting citizens of the Netherlands (and elsewhere) the freedom to get around by bike.
What do we mean by a 'main road'?
London’s main roads are as varied as London itself...
However, main roads share a certain key characteristic: they’re busy roads that people use for at least part of their ordinary journeys; for example, to get and from town centres where most local amenities are found.
Main roads include:
- High streets
- Dual carriageways/multi-lane roads
- Major routes in and out of the centre of London
- Roads that connect town centres within and between boroughs
- Orbital roads
Over time all will need to get the Go Dutch treatment, with the correct treatment depending on the type of road.
Equality, Continuity, Quality: A new approach
There are some big, specific things that need to be done to make cycling on main roads safe, enjoyable and convenient, and they are described in the next section. But most importantly we need a wholly new approach to facilitating cycling in London – a new mindset. This can be summed up as Equality, Quality and Continuity:
Londoners deserve to be able to choose to cycle in safety, including on the busiest roads with the heaviest traffic.
Cyclists do not have the protection that occupants of motor vehicles enjoy, so equality of transport choice means priority provision for safe cycling.
This includes creating designated cycle tracks and lanes wherever necessary; reducing the speed of motor vehicles; and making the safety and convenience of cyclists (and pedestrians) the number one priority at junctions.
Clear space for cycling needs to be part of the high street economy, allowing easy access to shops, work, entertainment and schools – connecting people from where they live to where they want to go by linking up to the whole street network.
The everyday journeys we know many Londoners would like to make by bike need to be continuous, unobstructed, and built into a network that makes cycling an easy choice from A to B, as it is in the Netherlands.
Whatever their age or experience, cyclists must be welcomed by high quality, end-to-end provision for them on our streets.
Indeed, the quality of life of Londoners will be greatly enhanced by allowing cyclists and pedestrians to enjoy pleasant and hassle-free ways to journey and negotiate their way around London’s busy streets.
The subjective experience is important, but so is a technical commitment to quality. Londoners deserve the highest international standards when it comes to facilitating cycling – from the width of physical space for cycling to the quality of the surface.