Are we finally starting to reach the sustainable travel levels of our continental cousins?

Sustainable travel has been on the agenda throughout the country for many years with councils, Local Authorities, Transport organisations and charities pushing for more options than the car in everyone’s journeys.

It would be true to say that facilities and investments vary wildly across the country but London’s new mayor, Sadiq Khan, has taken an aggressive stance on helping making cycling a ‘safe and obvious’ transport choice for all Londoners.

In December 2016, he promised to spend £770m on cycling initiatives over the course of his term, bringing investment levels near to cycle-friendly nations such as the Netherlands and Denmark.

Khan’s ambitious plans include:

  • Spending £17 per person per year
  • Plans for two new cycle superhighways, routes where cyclists are separated from traffic by kerbs and dedicated traffic lights.
  • ‘Mini Holland’ schemes in suburbs which involve reducing through-traffic on quiet residential streets and creating quietway routes along back streets.

TfL statistics show that cycle traffic on the first two major cycle superhighways has risen by a staggering 55 per cent with bikes now forming the majority of vehicles on both routes. In Blackfriars Bridge, cyclists account for 70 per cent of all traffic

London is seen as a test bed for schemes in other parts of the country, after all, if it can work in the most congested city in the country it should work in others.

Although this is all promising news, one of the biggest barriers to people using their bikes for more journeys is the lack of adequate and secure cycle parking in the street, at work and at home. This is a crusade that the London Cycling Campaign are taking up with their Urban Cycle Parking Campaign.

There demands are for:

  • 100,000 more spaces needed on London streets
  • Enough parking spaces at workplaces to accommodate 15% of staff using bikes and 25% of students
  • Stronger planning regulations that require office buildings to provide enough cycle parking spaces
  • Secure cycle parking on council estates and new residential developments
  • Adequate cycle parking at transport hubs, with at least 500 cycle parking spaces provided at every major rail station.

We have certainly seen a continued growth and investment in secure cycle parking at rail stations and in schools, but there is still a long way to go if we are going to encourage and facilitate sustainable travel not only in London, but across the country.