Q Is your campaign only about cycling?
People who travel on foot have suffered greatly from decades of motor-centric transport policies. We favour a much greater emphasis on encouraging cycling and walking in the capital. This is a sensible route to creating a safer, cleaner, healthier and more liveable city for everyone.
Q Can London really be like Holland?
Yes, London can do it. The Netherlands once had streets that were unfriendly to cyclists. They turned this around over many years by consistent investment in high-quality cycling infrastructure. Other cities in Europe and North America have also shown how investment in cycling can work. For example, Copenhagen only started on its cycling programme in the 1980s, and has now reached a stage where 30% of journeys are by bike. Seville started to introduce cycle tracks and hire bikes in 2007, and now cycling there now accounts for 7% of journeys, which is more than double that in London.
Q: Aren't London’s streets too narrow for Dutch-style infrastructure?
No, they're not. In London, as in Holland, some streets are narrow whereas some are wide. There are treatments that can make narrow streets safer and more pleasant for cycling and walking – such as lower speed limits and restricted access to motor traffic. For wider distributor roads, of which there are hundreds of miles in London, there's often plenty of space for high-quality cycling facilities.
Q: Is your campaign just about segregated bike lanes?
No, we recognise that different streets require different solutions (as is the case on in the Netherlands or Denmark). High-quality bike lanes are likely to be the solution on many main roads, while others might benefit more from having motor traffic reduced, removed or calmed.
Q: Isn't London much bigger than Dutch cities, and trips much longer?
Many local trips in London are less than 2 miles, so could easily be walked or cycled, instead of being driven. Yes, around half of car journeys in Greater London are under two miles. It's true some trips in London are longer due the city's size and the fact that many of us live in suburbs and work in the city centre. However a large amount of cycling in Dutch cities involves people commuting long distances on the train (either with or without a bike) and continuing their journey by bike. Dutch-quantities of cycle parking at London transport hubs, workplaces and colleges could make this a reality.
Q It’s not realistic to have cycle tracks on all main roads
The Dutch use a range of measures, not just cycle tracks, to improve cyclist safety but crucially they address the needs of cyclists on all main roads and in particular prioritise cyclists at junctions. Measures used include two-stage crossings at traffic lights, mandatory bike lanes that motorists can't enter, and advisory lanes, which motorists can enter if necessary.
Q: Doesn't cycling in Holland only work because of stricter liability?
Stricter liability (where motorists carry added responsibility by virtue of driving a vehicle that's inherently dangerous) is important because it can improve driver behaviour and recompense vulnerable road users when they're hurt. However, good-quality infrastructure is vital to encourage more people to use bicycles regularly.
Q: Won't high-quality infrastructure cost too much money?
Investing in cycling is the most cost-efficient way to increase mobility and trip choices. For example, it's cheaper than subsidising tubes and buses, and much cheaper than building wider roads. By enabling more Londoners to cycle we ease pressure on public transport and the road network. If cycling in London reached the levels seen in Dutch cities, it would account for more journeys than either the bus or the tube.
Q: But not many people want to cycle in London?
In surveys nearly a third of Londoners have said they want to cycle or want to cycle more, but are reluctant to do so. The most common reason given for not cycling is fear of motor traffic. The number of people who say they want to cycle is ten times higher than the current 2-3% share of journeys across all of Greater London that are made by bike. Lack of demand is not something we need to worry about in the immediate future.
Q Will people use the facilities provided?
Where high-quality provision is provided in the right locations it gets used. Because of the high latent demand for cycling in London, even some of the poor-quality cycle tracks and crossings have seen a surge in traffic. The busiest routes, such as Hyde Park Corner and Torrington Place, are now so popular that they need to be redesigned again to cope with the increased number of cyclists.
Q: Will disconnected cycle lanes provide proper route choices?
Part of a network is definitely better than nothing, but cycling facilities must always be seen as a step towards creating a high-quality network. However, what's most important is to encourage more journeys by bike and make these safer by tackling major barriers to cycling, which are invariably junctions. We should learn from the example of the London Cycle Network, which was 60% complete, but largely fails because many of the biggest barriers were left untouched.
Q What about Cycle Superhighways already built?
In many places the Cycle Superhighways are not good enough to encourage new cyclists or even keep experienced cyclists safe. All junctions on the existing Cycle Superhighway routes need to be made safe to continental standards. The Mayor has already agreed to carry out a review of these junctions, which must lead to real and urgent changes to current and future Superhighways designs.
Q How long will it take to Go Dutch?
London is constantly evolving with parts of it being rebuilt, so it wouldn't take that long for a decision to prioritise cycling to have real impact. Cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam have been doing this for several decades now, and many of their streets are unrecognisable to those from the 1970s and 1980s.
Q Won’t this cause congestion and slow down my car trip to work/school?
Increasing the space for cycling increases the capacity of the street network for many more trips, which provides a positive benefit for all road users. Giving priority to cycling encourages people to switch from motorised transport (and public transport too) freeing up space on the road network.
Q Will it be safe for my young children to cycle, or for my grandparents?
Cycling infrastructure that's designed to continental-standards typically attracts a wide cross-section of users. In the Netherlands, almost half of trips to schools and colleges are taken by bicycle.
Q Why do your mayoral demands only include three Go Dutch projects?
Eventually, all roads should be treated to Go Dutch principles, but we think the next Mayor should undertake three flagship projects to serve as an example of what can be achieved if the principles are followed. We're also calling for the Cycle Superhighways to be completed to Go Dutch standards, and for all new developments to also follow the Go Dutch principles. Also, London boroughs will be encouraged to adopt these principles in addressing their own infrastructure improvements, many of which will be identified by local people. Together, these measures will hasten the arrival of streets that safe and inviting for cyclists.
Q Wouldn’t a large number of less costly improvements be preferable to three flagship projects?
The way to significantly increase cycling levels is through following Go Dutch principles: demonstrating the effectiveness of these principles at three locations, as well as on the Cycle Superhighways, will show what can be achieved across London. But progress is not limited to these flagship projects - for example, boroughs should continue to carry out work on 20mph zones and removing rat-runs in residential areas, as well as projects on main roads for which they're responsible.
Q Are all Transport for London projects suitable for the Go Dutch treatment?
TfL’s own design standards say dedicated provision for cyclists is required on roads where traffic volumes or speeds are high – and these standards should be observed. Most TfL traffic schemes affect cyclists, whose numbers have nearly tripled in decade (187% increase on main roads since 2001). Making use of best continental practice will create improved conditions for all road users.
Q: Is no change preferable if the Go Dutch principles can't be applied?
The principles recognise that a range of solutions can be applied in different circumstances. There is unlikely to be any street that can't be improved in some way for walkers and cyclists.