Cyclists descend on London tomorrow for safer streets

London Cycling Campaign's 'Big Ride' hopes to press next mayor into action for change

A mass bike ride through the streets of London that hopes to encourage its mayoral candidates to make streets safer for cycling will take place tomorrow (28 April).

The fully marshalled, family friendly Big Ride is part of London Cycling Campaign's (LCC) Love London, Go Dutch initiative, which aims to make the city's streets "as safe and inviting as they are in Holland". With elections happening next Thursday, the event is one of the final chances to appeal to the future incumbent.

People on bikes, foot, skates or roller blades are welcome and are asked to assemble on Park Lane from 11am for a 12 noon start. The four-mile route passes through Piccadily Circus, Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square before finishing at Victoria Embankment at 2pm. The route will be closed to traffic, so you should arrive by 11.30 in order to avoid getting caught in the closures.

Those taking part are encouraged to dress themselves and their bikes in red and white (the colours of the campaign) and to bring along cowbells, whistles and drums so they can make as much noise as possible.

"The Big Ride is our best chance to show the next mayor we're serious about redesigning our streets to make them safer for everyone", said LCC's chief executive Ashok Sinha. "Some of the mayoral manifestos show very weak commitments to cycling, so every person who comes to the Big Ride can help push safer cycling up the next mayoral agenda. Please come and bring your friends and family to this fabulous day out with a purpose".

Other similar events in cities around Europe are planned for the same day, with cyclists in Edinburgh organising a Pedal on Parliament along with events in Rome and Paris.

The Love London, Go Dutch campaign is calling for the next mayor to build continental-standard cycling infrastructure that gives everyone the opportunity to cycle, whatever their route. Its corresponding petition, which has gained nearly 40,000 signatures, is hoping to influence the next mayor to adopt the campaign demands. Should a candidate sign-up to the campaign, they will be expected to meet these three demands during their first term (2012-2016):

  1. Implement three campaign developments on major streets/locations to encourage cycling and walking, such as pedestrianising Parliament Square
  2. Make sure all planned developments on main roads they control are complete to Go Dutch standards
  3. Complete Cycle Superhighways programme to Go Dutch standards

So far, Ken Livingstone (Labour), Jenny Jones (Green), Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrat) and Siobhan Benita (Independent) have signed up.

For more on the Big Ride and the London Cycling Campaign, visit the organisation's website.

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