Delivering the Mayor's manifesto [9]

Session date: 
February 7, 2019
Question By: 
Fiona Twycross
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London) & Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner, Transport for London)


Fiona Twycross AM:  TfL’s latest Travel in London report says that most cycling in London is undertaken by people who cycle regularly and that the majority of the population do not do this, and that people who cycle currently are more likely to be white, male, and earning more than £20,000 a year.  How will your new plan encouraged non-cyclists - and unfortunately I count myself among those - to give cycling a try?



Delivering the Mayor's manifesto [9]

Delivering the Mayor's manifesto [9]

Answered By: 
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London) & Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner, Transport for London)

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  One of the reasons we launched a new Cycling Action Plan was because, having listened to some of the Londoners you refer to, it was gobbledygook to many of them about Cycle Superhighways, Quietways and Mini Hollands.  The infrastructure was not as safe as it could be and was very confusing.  Secondly, people lacked the confidence to get on a bike.


We are doing a number of things.  We are making sure that there is better quality assurance in relation to the cycleways, whatever they were called in the past, and make sure they are of good quality.  A Quietway should be what it says on the tin.  We will improve the infrastructure.  You will have seen the increased investment - record sums - in improving cycling infrastructure.


That does mean that I can confirm to the Assembly that we will not be taking the advice of some to remove the cycleway on the Embankment.  It is a really important cycleway that was brought in by the previous Mayor and it has led to huge numbers using the Embankment on bikes who were not in the past, a 38% increase.


Also, it means working with communities.  We have a grant system now, Community Grants, and the activation programme.  I have seen some of the evidence of the fantastic work taking place with encouraging people who previously had not got on a bike to get on a bike.  The Commissioner, I know, has been impressed by the work [Dr] Will [Norman, Walking and Cycling Commissioner] has been doing in this area.


Fiona Twycross AM:  Not everyone can actually cycle.  For those people who cannot cycle, how are you going to get people to the first stage of learning how to get on a bike, being a bit concerned about wobbling, or potentially not having access to a bicycle themselves?


Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner of Transport for London):  It is a very important point.  What we are doing is significantly increasing the number of schools engaged with our free cycle training and active travel programme, Sustainable Travel: Active, Responsible, Safe (STARS).  That is really important because the evidence is that if you get young people interested in cycling, it is something that they stick with as they become young adults and move into adulthood.


As well as that and very importantly, we are doubling the number of adults who receive free cycle training every year because we do recognise that there are people who perhaps did cycle when they were younger and have somehow stopped cycling and lack the confidence.  That is why the Mayor’s point on the quality of the infrastructure, particularly the Quietways, to ensure there is a consistent quality threshold that we apply is so important to give people the confidence.


Also, it may sound like a slightly trite point, but the terminology and talking as we did historically about ‘Cycle Superhighways’ is in itself off-putting for some of the people who might otherwise take up cycling.  This is not a racetrack.  This is about ensuring that cycling is open and accessible.  Everyone should be confident of the quality of the cycle route and confident that they will get the right infrastructure.  Of course our cycling infrastructure database is freely available for people so that they know the facilities on particular lines of route as well.


Fiona Twycross AM:  Are there particular parts of outer London, for example, where this is a particular issue to crack?


Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner of Transport for London):  On the Quietways, some of the work that we have been doing in Enfield, Waltham Forest, for example, and Kingston is really important.  We have seen some real progress on the Quietways rollout.  We are increasingly looking at the type of network for cycling across London that we see for other modes of transport.  Cycling will play a very important part in delivering the Mayor’s Transport Strategy in outer London, along with walking where appropriate and along with bus service provision as we talked about earlier on.


I certainly continue to have very good discussions with borough leaders and chief executives and I know that Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor [for Transport], does and the Mayor himself does on a regular basis.


Fiona Twycross AM:  Great.  Do you perceive the cost of a bicycle as being something that puts people off getting involved?


Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Assembly Member McCartney took me this week to Tottenham’s Café Connect, a good example of a community there with second-hand bikes being used to encourage people who previously would not have thought about getting on a bike.  Different shapes and sizes, different genders and different ages are having the confidence to get on a bike.  The great thing there was that it was the community coming together with a bit of assistance from us.  Will Norman went recently to a Limehouse Cycle Project with women Londoners of Bengali origin getting on bikes as well.  We can assist with appropriate schemes across London.


We are also encouraging employers to have various schemes to encourage their employees such as a loan system to encourage them to cycle to work as well.  You will be aware of how good City Hall has been traditionally in relation to shower facilities, loan schemes, etc.  We want to encourage more employers to do that.  Part of the Good Work Standard is going to be encouraging good employers to encourage their employees to think about how they can cycle to work.