Cycling Proficiency? Caroline Russell Nov 2018 front cover image

News from Caroline Russell: Cycling Proficiency? Mayor failing on key pledges

22 November 2018

The Mayor is failing on key pledges he made to improve conditions for people cycling on London’s streets, according to a new report from Caroline Russell AM. 
Two and a half years into his term, his pledges to ‘triple protected cycle lanes’ and deliver ‘a Mini-Holland for every London borough that wants one’, show little sign of being met. [1] 

The Mayor has said he inherited 50 km of segregated routes, leaving him with 100 km to build to meet his promise to Londoners. But in June he admitted to Caroline that he had only built 10 km so far. [2]

Caroline’s new report ‘Cycling Proficiency?’ raises concerns over diluted and derailed schemes, delayed plans and spending pushed into the future. [3]

Key findings:

  • No new Cycle Superhighway schemes have broken ground under Sadiq Khan and the Cycling Delivery Plan he said would be out by winter 2017 has been let slip. A Cycling Action Plan is now due by the end of 2018 – well over halfway through his term
  • Although the Mayor announced six new routes in January he is only planning to complete two before the end of his term
  • He is set to make safer just over half of his chosen 73 dangerous junctions and will take up to five more years even to do that

Caroline Russell says:

We were told that London would become a byword for cycling – but nearly three years in we haven’t even seen a proper cycling plan from the Mayor.

I’ve looked at what he’s achieving and it is depressing. No new cycle superhighways are in the works and the two new routes he’s promised before 2020 haven’t been consulted on. 

He has slashed funding for local walking and cycling schemes, downgrading Mini-Hollands to Liveable Neighbourhoods and reducing the potential for truly transformative schemes. 

The Mayor is relying too much on Quietways, but he knows as well as me that they aren’t the answer and won’t convince nervous people new to cycling to use their bikes on the road. They’re also not suitable for children biking to school because they’re not joined up routes, they’re not segregated from motorised traffic and so they’re not safe.

I welcome the ambitious targets in his Transport Strategy, but he will never meet them if he doesn’t build new, safe routes to enable more people to walk and cycle.

The Mayor should be spearheading a cycling revolution, not be constantly on the backfoot.

Caroline’s report ‘Cycling Proficiency?’ has several recommendations for the Mayor to meet his pledges, including:

  • Finish safety studies for all junctions in his Safer Junctions programme 
  • Publish plans for brand new routes that will make up the mileage to meet his pledge to triple segregated lanes
  • Meet his promise to publish his Cycling Action Plan this year
  • Bring about political support to match the public support for the shovel-ready schemes

Caroline asked Londoners what they think of cycling in London and whether they felt it had got any safer, this is what they said:

“Too scared to cycle or to let my kids cycle (other than in the park of course.) I would love this to change. London would be a far nicer city with far fewer cars and we would all benefit from cycling more.” Susan 

“An absolute nightmare that I tried some years ago and abandoned the idea as it is far too dangerous and not at all enjoyable because of the aggressive London traffic.” Sally 

“No distinct cycle lanes on my 35 min commute, and the road closest to the pavement where bikes end up is always in poor condition. Pretty bad!” Gwen

“I used to cycle but bike been in shed for years now because as a parent I feel too vulnerable, like it’s not worth the risk for my kids… We don't own a car and I would love to be able to get around as a family on bikes.” Natasha

“To be honest, I don't think the mayor is doing anything on anything, not just cycling. We have a national problem where drivers get inside their metal box and believe that everyone should get out of their way.” Simon

Notes to editors

[1] London Cycling Campaign, sign for cycling
[2] Mayor’s Question 2018/1435, Delivery of protected cycle lanes, Jun 2018
[3] Cycling Proficiency? Caroline Russell, Nov 2018

Share this page