In the run up to London Mayoral elections on 3 May, where the cycling vote could be key, the London Cycling Campaign have analysed the cycling pledges of the four main contenders. They find the green party's Jenny Jones is the only candidate who says they will prioritise cycling and walking over motor traffic.
Of the two front-runners, currently neck and neck and way ahead of the field, London Cycling Campaign says Labour’s Ken Livingstone’s manifesto is the more impressive in cycling terms, summarising his policies for bikes as "encouraging in many ways".
Conservative and current Mayor of London Boris Johnson lags behind as he "disappoints with weak commitments, other than on cycle hire", whilst Liberal Brian Paddick "declares welcome intentions but offers few policies to show that he would be a cycle-friendly mayor."
LCC measured the candidates' cycling promises against their own three Dutch style cycling policy demands (their Go Dutch campaign) as well as other key areas in encouraging cycling and scored them as follows, with a higher score meaning more cycling friendly.
|Go Dutch (max 30)||Road Danger Reduction (max 40)||Cycle Networks/Parking/Theft (max 30)|
Whilst Jenny Jones is a clear leader in all the three main headings it’s worth noting that Livingstone scores higher on the more detailed subheadings (not shown above) Reducing Lorry Danger and Increasing Cycle Parking- Reducing Theft.
Here’s a potted summary of the manifesto pledges of the two front-runners:
- Expanding cycle hire - East to the area around the Olympics and west and south-west plus a ‘capacity study’ for six major town centres on the outskirts.
- Cycle safety - A review of 500 junctions for cycle safety to ‘prioritise the roads in most need of change’. There is also mention of a Cycling Safety Action Plan, though it has to be said this is made up of vague promises rather than specific measures.
- Cycle superhighways - A tripling of CSHs to 12 by the end of 2015.
- World cycle festival - A two-day event to be held in 2013 at the Olympic Park.
- Safer junctions - Including a safety review of all major junctions and a trial of a cyclists-only green light phase.
- Safer cycle superhighways - A redesign to include better segregation, safer junctions and continuous routes.
- Suburban greenways - Traffic-free cycle routes from the suburbs into the centre.
- Safe routes to outer London town centres - Mainly on quiet roads and with good signage.
- Dutch-style cycle hubs - e.g. at train stations, to provide secure cycle parking.
- Consistent cycle network across London - A high standard of cycle lanes, traffic-calming etc. across the board.
- Review of the cycle hire contract - Branded by Ken as "expensive…underused, appealing to a narrow group of well-off young men working in the city." The concept of cycle hire is "fantastic" but Boris’s implementation is deeply flawed.
- 20's plenty - Support for councils wanting to make 20mph the default speed limit on residential streets.
Livingstone has also pledged that Jenny Jones would be his cycling advisor were he elected, and Jones has endorsed their ability to work together.
All the main candidates' cycling manifestos are available for download here.
LCC has also promised ongoing analysis of any changes in cycling pledges, as have mayoral election pressure group Londoners on Bikes. LCC have also organised The Big Ride, just days before the election to highlight the issues. It is billed as "the UK’s largest traffic-free, family-friendly bike ride."