Vote Green and Cycle Safe

Jenny got the Freewheel bike ride set-up, now called the Sky Ride

 

Jenny Jones tripled the cycling budget for London cyclists. She helped initiate cycle hire and superhighways schemes, saved the police’s lorry driver education/enforcement unit and led the campaign to review dangerous junctions.

The independent Londoners on Bikes say you should vote for Jenny as your 1st preference and Ken as your 2nd.

Vote Green on the orange ballot paper and you will elect more Green Assembly Members including Jenny Jones. Elections for the London Assembly are proportional so every vote counts.

We will deliver the investment and fresh ideas to make London a city where everyone feels safe to cycle, whether they are 7 years old, or 70.

You can download a copy of our cycling leaflet here. What follows is a much more detailed look at the problems with Boris Johnson’s cycling revolution, and our bold vision for a genuinely cyclised city.

Vote Green and Cycle Safe

Cycling in London is healthy, fun, cheap and often a quick way to get around. It can be a joy and occasionally a hard slog, but hundreds of thousands of people have got the bug and love their bike.

We still only make up 2% or so of the journeys, though. Back in the 1930s and 40s, 20% of men and 10% of women got to work by bike in the UK[1]. There’s no reason we can’t return to those days if we could reduce the traffic on the roads and ensure people have safe, pleasant routes to their job, their shops, their school or college.

Sadly, too many of our streets are simply unsafe for cycling, and millions of people are put off by a fear of being hit. We need a real cycling revolution, not just some blue paint.

Cycle safety has got worse under Boris Johnson

After a decade of improvements, cycling is no longer getting safer under Boris Johnson. Green Assembly Member Jenny Jones has repeatedly challenged him on this point, and Boris has denied it. But the independent organisation Full Fact looked at this question in detail and agreed with Jenny that your chances of being involved in a collision have got worse since Boris came to office[2].

There have been avoidable deaths at dangerous junctions like Bow Roundabout and Kings Cross because the current Mayor has prioritised the speed of cars and lorries above cycle safety. The Campaign for Better Transport looked at his policy of “smoothing traffic flow” in detail and found that “it has involved choices that have tended to help speed up car journeys at the expense of the safety and convenience of cyclists and pedestrians”[3]. Boris may now be reviewing dangerous junctions, but they won’t really be improved until he gives cyclists and pedestrians priority.

Boris really made his views clear when he told the London Assembly in November 2011 that “Elephant & Castle is fine… if you keep your wits about you”[4]. In the last two years there were 89 cycling casualties at the northern roundabout alone & a woman cyclist died there in 2009, yet Boris has blocked plans to redesign this junction because the safety proposals would have slowed down traffic.

It may well be fine if you are confident, experienced and physically fit, but we want roads where everyone feels safe whether you are 7 years old or 70.

Jenny at the Kings Cross Bikes Alive protest

The logical conclusion of Boris’s attitude is exactly the same as Addison Lee boss John Griffin – that roads are there for cars and so cyclists should be required to pass tests and get insurance. We couldn’t disagree more. We want streets that are safe for cyclists who exercise a bit of common sense and courtesy, much like there are in cities and countries all over the world where health, the environment and quality of life come before a slavish devotion to traffic.

Boris has cut and under-delivered for cyclists

When Jenny was Ken Livingstone’s cycling tzar she commissioned a report from TfL in 2007, which set out three schemes to follow the successful and soon-to-be-completed London Cycling Network and the Greenways.

Boris inherited these plans for cycle hire in central London; superhighways for inner London cycling commuters; and cycling hubs in outerLondon. TfL made clear in their analysis that 70% of these million new cycling trips would need to come from outer London. Yet he dropped the outer London plans.

In 2009, he also cancelled £50m funding for over 300 cycle safety schemes which were part of the London Cycle Network, mostly in outerLondon. He then redirected that money to help pay for cycle hire and superhighways.

As Jenny found in her recent cycle tour of every single borough inLondon, most Londoners live nowhere near the few cycling improvements which Boris has delivered. The basics have all been neglected, as the Mayor focus has been on zone 1 projects. Signage & mapping, parking at home & at stations, maintenance & cleaning of cycle routes, have all been ignored. Money has been wasted on local projects of dubious worth and short section of narrow, cycle lane remain isolated and not linked up.

We need a cycle audit section at Transport for London which rigorously enforces standards when things are being built and ensures that those standards are maintained.

A cycling revolution worth its name

There is no reason why London couldn’t become a similar cycling city to that of Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Bonn, or Bogota.

It will take the kind of multi-billion pound investment that has been put into Crossrail and a Mayor who is willing to take hard choices which design for the future, rather than sticking to blueprints from the past; a Mayor who would carry through on plans to pedestrianise Parliament Square and create a Ramblas style network of car free roads linking up the green spaces of central London; a Mayor who not only got rid of the big gyratories like Tottenham Hale and Archway, but who helped humanise those areas by reallocating the space from cars & lorries, to cyclists & pedestrians; a Mayor who valued the neighbourhoods & businesses on our high roads, rather than seeing them as places that traffic needs to pass through as quickly as possible.

The Green Party fully supports the Going Dutch campaign initiated by the London Cycling Campaign. It is essential that we redesign the road network so that cycling can once again be as normal a part of everyday life as jumping on a bus or a train.

Part of Going Dutch means changing the legal framework for our roads. A lot can be done to enforce existing laws on speeding, drink driving and dangerous driving, but we also need a Mayor who will lobby Government to change the law, so it is on the side of people who walk, or ride a bike in London One simple measure would be to introduce the Dutch law whereby local areas can decide that pedestrians and cyclists have legal priority. Another culture shift would be changing to stricter liability, so the onus is on drivers to avoid collisions and show that they tried to do so. It only relates to civil, rather than criminal law and is similar to the system used in Germany and Holland. A Green London Mayor would reverse the blame the victim approach which dominates much of the road safety work we do in this country.

We want to help & encourage the quarter of Londoners who want to cycle but are too nervous to jump on their bikes. Many local authorities in London are already keen to do this, others are not. We will expand the mayor’s failed policy of biking boroughs to include all local authorities. There will be a significantly increased ring fenced fund that can only be spent on cycling, walking and road safety measures. If we adopted similar funding levels to those of the Dutch, London would have at least a £160m a year cycling budget. We could complete all the missing links in the cycle lane network throughout London. We could finish the greenways routes which enable people to cycle in less polluted, greener and nicer areas of London. We could ensure that boroughs that have taken out cycle routes put them back and work to achieve a safe environment for everyone who wants to cycle in their local area.

Quality cycle training and bums on saddles

The current Mayor’s budget for cycle training in London has remained virtually unchanged at £3m since it was brought up to that level in the budget agreement between the greens on the Assembly and Ken Livingstone.

The number of school children receiving cycle training has also remained virtually the same at around 40,000 a year taking level 1 or level 2 ‘on road’ training. Some boroughs are training 300 pupils, some over 2,000 children. The quality varies tremendously, but the big problem is that the children’s parents are not being encouraged to take cycle training themselves, or even to sit down with the instructors, figure out local routes to the parks, shops and schools.

Our commitment to providing a 100,000 extra children’s cycle training places is really aimed at getting the parents in the saddle and regularly using their bikes. We believe that once these 10 year old children have had cycle training, most of them will only use their bikes to travel to school if their parents or carers are also on bikes. And if we can get carers, or parents taking them to school by bike, then those adults will stay on their bikes to go to work, the shops or the other journeys they need to make.

As an Assembly member Jenny Jones was the key person who ensured that every school in London got a safe route to school plan. However, these plans have never received the proper funding to allow parents and teachers to sort out the cycle routes, safe crossings and 20mph enforcement measures which would make the journey to school genuinely safe. A strong green voice at City Hall would ensure that those locally decided safety improvements actually get made.

Safer roads for everyone

The reduction in road casualties in London since 2000 has been a remarkable success, but those safety improvements have mostly benefited car drivers. In the late nineties just over half of all casualties were either cyclists, pedestrians or motorcyclists, that figure is now over two thirds.

Jenny campaigning for 20mph on Cycle Superhighways in Camberwell

We need to reverse the current Mayor’s policy of removing pedestrian crossings and changing the timing on traffic lights so that people have less opportunity to cross the road. We need to reverse the Mayor’s decision to halve London’s road safety budget, as this cut could well be the reason why total casualties have started to rise in London, while continuing to fall in the rest of the country.

Above all we need to recognise that our public spaces should be places to shop, work and enjoy. This vision of a nicer, happier London has pedestrians and cyclists at its heart.

Greens on the Assembly deliver for cyclists

In the past twelve years, Greens on the Assembly have:

  • Secured budget commitments from Ken Livingstone to triple the cycling budget, funding the London Cycle Network, the Greenways, cycle training for every primary school, cycle parking provision and an anti-bike theft campaign
  • Initiated the Cycle Hire, Cycle Superhighways, the mass bike ride now known as the Skyride, and Outer London Cycle Hub (which Boris cut)
  • Lobbied Southeastern to reverse its decision to ban bikes on trains during the Tour de France UK stage in July 2007
  • Reversed decades of cuts to traffic policing, stopped Boris scrapping the police’s road safety Key Performance Indicator and cutting the Commercial Vehicle Education Unit, and worked with the police to increase enforcement against illegal drivers
  • Led a cross-party campaign on the London Assembly, working closely with the London Cycling Campaign and other cycling groups, to force Boris Johnson to review dangerous junctions
  • Visited every single borough cycling group inLondon, and regularly attend Critical Mass and other cycling events, to stay in touch with the concerns of ordinary cyclists across London.

Electing more Greens to the London Assembly is the best way to keep cycling on the political agenda. Elections for the Assembly on the Londonwide ballot paper (the orange paper) are proportional so every vote counts.

Our policy on cycling

This expands on commitments made in our full manifesto.

General principles

We can make all streets where Londoners work, live and shop safe, convenient and pleasant to walk and cycle along. We will:

  • Set a target of 20% of all journeys inLondonto be made by bike by 2025.
  • Put a walking and cycling representative on the TfL Board and change their planning tools so that pedestrians and cyclists are treated as more important than cars, re-introducing the road user hierarchy.
  • Headhunt a Head of Cycling and Walking from a city like Copenhagen, and send a small number of senior TfL and council transport staff on a budget fact-finding trip to other European cities such as Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam where walking and cycling have become an every day default option for more and more people.
  • Review traffic lights to ensure they give pedestrians and cyclists enough time, give cyclists a head start at difficult junctions and roll out simple measures like countdown signs and ‘Trixi ’mirrors to make them safer.
  • Ban HGVs from narrow main roads, and push for all HGV drivers inLondonto be required to register with FORS or equivalent and undergo cycle awareness training.
  • Push for more freight and waste to be shipped on the rivers and canals, reducing congestion and dangerous traffic on the roads. Protect access to canals and river wharves from property development to facilitate this.
  • Incentivise smarter travel with a scheme to trade your car in and get the value plus a bonus on an Oyster card, car club credits and bike shop vouchers.
  • Ringfence council funds to ensure they all invest in smarter travel policies like workplace travel plans.
  • Only build new roads and river crossings for public transport, cycling and walking, and build at least one new dedicated bridge for cyclists and pedestrians across the Thames in eastLondon.

Cycle infrastructure

Cyclists shouldn’t be forced to travel on 30mph main roads with no more than a strip of blue paint to protect them. No other city in continentalEuropehas adopted this approach and got large numbers of people cycling. We will:

  • Adopt theDutch streetdesign principles for Cycle Superhighways and the London Cycle Network+ to provide clear, dedicated and safe space to cyclists on main roads, with a minimum of 2m for cycle lanes where road space can be taken from vehicles and car parking to achieve this. Remove or relocate car parking where it conflicts with cyclist and pedestrian safety on cycle routes.
  • Increase funding to complete the Superhighways, the London Cycle Network+ and the London Greenways within the mayoral term.
  • Conduct a major review of cycle routes working closely with local cycling campaigns to fix problems such as inconsistent signage, unsafe junctions and poor road maintenance.
  • RebuildLondon’s most dangerous junctions to provide safe, dedicated space for pedestrians and cyclists, removing all gyratory systems and pedestrianising more public spaces.
  • Transform at least one iconic space a year, starting withParliament Square.
  • Expand the Cycle Hire scheme north and south to reach all parts of innerLondonwhere there is considerable demand.

Cycle safety

Our minimum standard is that all streets, except a handful of mini-motorways and trunk roads, should be safe and welcoming places for cyclists. We will:

  • Introduce a 20mph limit on all streets where we live, work and shop and put speed limiters on all public service vehicles to reduce danger to pedestrians and cyclists, reduce rat-running through residential areas, smooth and calm the flow of traffic in congested areas, and let parents and their children reclaim quiet residential streets as public space for play.
  • Increase enforcement of 20mph with average speed cameras, press the police to dedicate more time to enforcing speed limits, and require Safer Neighbourhood Teams to help local residents and cyclists collect evidence on speeding drivers and problem areas.
  • More than triple the traffic policing budget to at least the level before Boris cut it, and ensure the police give equal priority and consideration to all road users including cyclists.

Cycling for children

Getting kids onto bikes from a early age is the best way to bring up a new generation of cyclists. We could get an extra 100,000 children and parents cycling to school. We will:

  • Expand cycle training in schools so that every primary school inLondonoffers it to their pupils, and explore offering out-of-hours lessons to children and parent together.
  • Prioritise improvements to the road network around schools, and encourage boroughs to introduce 5mph restrictions and road closures on quiet streets around schools during opening and leaving hours.

Cycle theft

Too many people are put off cycling when their bike is stolen. We will:

  • Encourage boroughs to use on-street car parking spaces to provide cycle parking in areas where people lack secure cycle parking in their flats and houses.
  • Double the provision of secure cycling parking at TfL overground and tube stations, and work with the Train Operating Companies to follow suit.
  • Expand the honeypot cycle theft schemes acrossLondonto disrupt the cycle theft gangs.


Colin Pooley, paper presented at conference in April 2012, Balancing social justice and environmental justice: mobility inequalities in Britain since circa 1900, http://www2.iisg.nl/esshc/programme.asp?selyear=12&pap=10131

Full Fact web site, 13th April 2012, http://fullfact.org/factchecks/London_2012_cycling_safer_Boris_Johnson-15096

Campaign for Better Transport, April 2012, http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/files/Every-journey-matters.pdf

London Assembly Plenary 9th November 2011, transcript p.26, http://www.london.gov.uk/moderngov/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=5692&T=9