The boost given to UK cycling by the Tour de France Grand Depart has been recognised with a special award.
The summer 2007 event was singled out for particular praise at the London Transport Awards, after it had failed to make the shortlist in the main cycling category. The Tour de France Grand Depart attracted some two million spectators in London and a further one million in the Kent countryside.
Initial figures show there was a 10 per cent increase in cycling in the capital from April to September last year, and the Grand Depart is seen by many as the driving force behind that.
The London Transport Awards, run by industry publication Transport Times, gave it the Special Award for Outstanding Project.
An announcement is expected soon on the return of the Tour de France to London.
Mayor Ken Livingstone has been in talks with the French cycling authorities for several months to convince them the tour should return.
Meanwhile, the London Borough of Hounslow won the LTA category for cycling improvements in the capital. Its schemes ‘Trying Cycling to School’ and ‘Cyclicious’ have seen a 400 per cent increase in cycling to school in the borough. The projects used education, cycle training and marketing, together with infrastructure improvements to encourage kids to get on their bikes.
The other three councils shortlisted for the cycling award were:
Camden– the borough has worked with partners including Bikeoff, the police and Transport for London to raise awareness about cycle theft. The authority hosted the captial’s cycling film festival, increased cycle training, held a clampdown on pavement cycling and has even been recycling stolen bicycles. Camden has seen a 95 per cent increase in cycling since 2001, with numbers of cyclists killed and injured falling faster than the rest of the capital.
Lambeth – in building the WaterlooRampBridge the authority has given cyclists a safer route through a congested area and knocked five minutes off their journey times. Cyclists can take a short ride up the new ramp onto WaterlooBridge, avoiding the busy Waterloo roundabout.
Lewisham – the authority has been working on Route 22 on the National Cycle Network, with efforts including a revamped cycle and pedestrian bridge, personal safety improvements, traffic calming and barrier removals. The changes have seen a reported doubling in cycling in the borough between 2001 and 2007.
Ken Livingstone, currently campaigning for re-election as London Mayor in the May 1 elections, recently promised a £500million ten-year package of cycling measures aimed at increasing cycling in the capital by 400 per cent by 2025.