Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Times: "The bike is the future and the task for British cities now be must be to adapt to the bike." Please fill in the survey at the bottom of this post and add your voice to the all-party parliamentary cycling review.

Brand new bike lane at Blackfriars Bridge puts cyclists right in front of and squashed up next to lorries.
In the Netherlands lorries and cyclists would flow separately through these junctions. 
I'm stunned by tomorrow's (Monday) edition of The Times. Stunned in a good way. The newspaper has got behind cycling in a way I've never seen before, a way that goes way beyond its first #cyclesafe news coverage earlier this year.

Kicking off with a very punchy editorial, the newspaper explains why it's supporting cycling: "This is not merely the result of rising fuel costs. Other studies have shown marked declines in car use among city dwellers, with British people now using their cars less than they did a decade ago, and only slightly more than they did in the 1970s. The bike is the future and the task for British cities now be must be to adapt to the bike.

(note that the editorial is still behind The Times's paywall but all other sections are available free via The Times's cyclesafe page)


And there's more. The Times makes clear in its editorial than this issue isn't going to go away:

"This newspaper will be investigating how Britons travel, whether by public transport, private transport or pedal power. We aim to recommend how more people can be encouraged to get on their bikes. We will speak to designers who can make cities that work as they should, and the Government and local officials with the power to turn their ideas into reality. This has never been a modest campaign. It is about nothing less than building a different kind of urban realm. And it has only just begun."

The Times's coverage is well-balanced, well-researched and well worth reading in detail. There's a good review of cycling in Copenhagen that explains how the Danes have reduced car use and created space for cycling, despite having higher population density in their cities than we do. It's well worth having a look at the range of articles about cycling published over the weekend on The Times's website.

In its editorial, The Times points out that 21 of the cyclists killed on UK roads so far this year have been children or teenagers. The paper is crystal clear that these sorts of statistics are not good enough. And The Times has made very clear that it believes it is time for the UK to implemented 'separated cycle lanes' in order to reduce fatalities and serious injuries. Amen to that.

But most importantly, there's also news of a new cross-party inquiry into cycling. The Get Britain Cycling inquiry will produce a report in April setting out a plan for safer streets. The aim is to turn words of support from the Prime Minister and transport ministers into action to promote safe cycling.

And this is where you come in. The Times has a survey on its website which I've pasted below. Please take a couple of minutes to fill out the survey and add your voice.

If you're interested in more details about the parliamentary inquiry, you can see all the details on the new website of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group and send your own more detailed written submission direct to the APPCG for review.

The Times cycling survey:

(alternatively, you can complete the cycling survey on The Times website)


  1. Great post. Hopefully something concrete will come of this!

  2. Completed the survey although some of the answers are a bit iffy "Road Tax for cyclists"? I mean come on, road tax doesn't even exist for all other road users - a sign this was probably designed by a motorist?

    I also wouldn't lump not wearing hi-viz and not using lights together - one is a legal requirement when it's dark and the other isn't.

    1. On the road tax the Copenhagen study ( showed that cycling actually already saves them money through reduced congestion & pollution and improved health. So basically, cyclists are already making a contribution compared to other road users just by doing what they're doing.

      Asking 'do you want to pay tax' is a particularly unintelligent way of contributing to the debate about how this should be paid for. It should be paid for by everyone because it will make the city better for everyone.

      I didn't even notice that lights and hi viz were lumped in together. Most bikes already have 5-6 different reflectors (front, back, both sides of pedals), plus bike bags usually have reflective strips. I agree and really don't understand why wearing a yellow jacket seems to be something which a lot of people think will make all the difference. Reflective is only good when the car headlights are pointing at you, no good when the van is pulling out of a garage in to Bradley Wiggins.

  3. Completed, but do hope this isn't used for a red light jumping cyclists scare story.


  4. I forgot to add - cyclists without lights / drunk cyclists / both are probably the ones which are putting themselves in most danger. In the absence of safe cycling facilities I think more needs to be done to make sure everyone remembers to have lights and make arrangements to get home safely after a night out.

  5. We do need to understand what we are up against - esp. in west London. While most Londoners do not own a car, let alone drive, in west London there is a class of very influential people who consider it their God-given right to drive where and when they want and park as well. Just look at the hue and cry sounded by their Bible - the Evening Standard - with regard to the Congestion Zone. You'd think you were stealing their children (not so bothered).

    This bunch resists anything that would interfere with dropping Tiffany (or Tiffanné) off at school in the SUV, parking up for lunch, etc. They have never taken a bus and if they ride a bike it's either a fancy Dutch number two blocks to the pub or a £10K carbon road bike on the weekends.

    I suggest Boris do what the mayor of Paris did years ago - wait until the buggers are on holiday and then just make the inner lane of ALL main streets cycle/bus lanes in one fell swoop. Grow a pair, Boris.