Cycling in London is far from being a natural part of daily life. However there are plans to make improvements to create a better cycling infrastructure. London is aiming to appeal for commuters to choose the bicycle over the car.
London: The Big Ben, the Royal Family, black cabs, the Union Jack and bicycles… Bicycles?! Yes exactly, bicycles. Although London’s city landscape is not shaped by the means of transportation on two wheels there are developments in favor of the bicycle that are starting to change things.
Starting to change meaning there have been small changes. However in all of UK there are no more than 4% of people that take the bicycle on a regular basis. In comparison to the Netherlands with 43% and Denmark with 30% those 4% seem insignificantly small. Cycling is not yet a big deal for the brits. London for example is far away from being called bicycle-friendly. And how could it be even close? There is a huge amount of traffic and the cycling infrastructure is so bad that only hardcore cyclists are brave enough to conquer the streets of London. However London is working hard to change this. Especially the mayor of London Boris Johnson is all about establishing a cycling culture in London.
The general vision is similar to those of other cities: Cycling should become a natural element of everyday life. No longer the least favorable means of transportation but the transport of choice where possible.
Johnson has sketched a picture of his plans in a comprehensive report which can be summarized in four central points:
550 million pound will be invested in an extensive network of cycle lanes and streets. Modelled on the dutch cycling infrastructure bike lanes will be clearly seperated from road traffic. Furthermore cycle lanes and cycle highways will be connected allowing smooth traffic movement. 8 cycle highways have already been built, offering a fast lane for cyclists to get in and out of the city.
The streets will be safer. This point is all about making major crossroads and streets safer for cyclists. Anyone in London should feel brave enough to get on the bicycle and not worry too much about his or her safety.
The cycling share on traffic will be significantly increased. According to plans, there will be at least double the amount of cyclists until 2020. A high availability of bicycles and the potential of e-bikes can be beneficial to this goal.
In line with point number three a clear improvement of the city landscape is planned. A “village in the city” will be created by building green cycle lanes and thus creating recreational spaces. The city’s atmosphere will be more relaxed and more quiet. There is also the idea of turning London’s suburbs into mini hollands.
Plans appear to be in place. Some things have indeed already changed: While in 2000 no more than 64.000 cyclists were on the streets in central London during rush hour, in 2014 there were already 137.000. In all of London there are 610.000 trips done by bike on a daily basis. In 2016 80.000 new bicycles parking spots will be installed to meet the rising demand of parking facilities. Furthermore London’s own city bike system called the Boris Bikes now comprehends more than 11.000 bicycles on 750 stations across the city. The first half an hour of rent is always for free similar to Hamburg’s city bike system. This ensures that anyone can hop onto a bicycle even without possessing one.
We are excited to see what else will happen in London in the next few years. With Veloyo we offer everyone in London a fast and easy way of getting their bicycle fixed. One more reason to get the bicycle out of the cellar and get back on the saddle.
About the author: Constanze
Constanze has recently swapped her beloved but rickety dutch bike against a much faster racing bike that she uses to get to work, meet friends or exercise. For her cycling is a way of getting from A to B without being stuck in traffic.