Every spring and autumn two national cycling organisations, the CTC (formerly the Cyclists’ Touring Club) and the Cycle Campaign Network organise a one-day national conference for cycle campaigners. This year’s spring conference was held in London early in May.
As the conference was organised by London Cycling Campaign, and several speakers were London-based, we naturally heard much about a range of cycling initiatives in the capital. Many of these have been made possible by one or both of London Cycling Campaign and Transport for London (TfL), the integrated body responsible for the capital’s transport system.
- The Cycling Centre of Excellence (CCE) is intended to provide resources and expertise to improve cycling in London. Its head is Rose Ades who was formerly a very active cycling campaigner: she described herself as a ‘poacher turned gamekeeper’. CCE is working on its Cycling Action Plan, covering four key areas: cycling infrastructure, marketing and promotion, links with public transport, and ‘shared benefits from other programmes’.
- LCN+ – the ‘improved’ London Cycle Network. By 2008-09, the annual budget for LCN+ will be £29 million.
- Ken Livingstone talked about the cycling-related benefits of Congestion Charging. Cycling levels inside the congestion charging zone are up by 16% since charging began.
- Two million free London Cycle Guides have been distributed in the last year. There are 19 guides, each with a bike map on one side covering a different part of London, and on the other side a map of the central area, and lots of other useful info to help get people cycling. I was impressed by the quality of initial research, and the detailed follow-up research that has been done to assess (and confirm) the usefulness of the maps in encouraging very many people to cycle more.
- 200,000 copies of a new book – The Rough Guide to Cycling in London – are available free of charge from many shops in London. This 90-odd page publication is packed with good information, and is not in the least bit patronising.
- Metropolitan Police Cycling Units – there are already 200 officers on bikes in 16 boroughs across London, with 70 more officers starting by the end of this year.
- London Ambulance Service Cycle Response Unit – these cycling medics often get to an incident before the ambulance, and in many cases are able to cancel the call, freeing up the ambulance for the next job.
- All Ability Cycling Group has been launched with the support of TfL to promote cycling as a form of transport for all (see separate article).
London Cycle Guides: available from Transport for London (020) 7222 1234 or www.tfl.gov.uk
|Gary MacGowan (left) receives Transport for London’s National Cycling Award for its London Cycling Guides, from Phillip Darnton, president of the Bicycle Association.|