"Since I first started doing some cycle campaigning in 1994, I have never seen a year like this," says cycle campaigner Donnachadh McCarthy. "What a truly amazingly positive year for cycle campaigning in London!"
The co-organiser of the Stop Killing Cyclists campaign may be mainly talking about London, but what he says also has relevance for the rest of the UK.
Nine cyclists were killed in London so far in 2016 but, remarks McCarthy, that’s half the usual total.
He also highlights:
- Gilligan’s first two cycle-highways have proved to be an amazing success. Up to 70 percent rush-hour traffic on Blackfriars and over 50 percent on Embankment is now people on bikes and pollution down on Embankment.
- New London Mayor delivered on his promise to increase budget for cycling, despite government cut to London’s transport by doubling it and increasing the planned annual TfL budget percentage spent from 1.8 under Boris to 5.5 percent.
- The Corporation of London has agreed to proceed to close Bank Junction to all traffic bar buses and bikes and will create a large pedestrian only plaza.
- Legal requirement on all trucks entering London to have certain safety mirrors and side bars now in place for its first full year.
- New pro-cycling Mayor got elected, who promised Stop Killing Cyclists that he would build momentum from that started by Boris and make London a world class city for cycling. Zac Goldsmith who promised to rip out cycling superhighways if he felt not working, refused to name a budget for cycling, attacked cycling campaigners and proposed allowing electric was defeated.
- Waltham Forest Mini Holland is up and running and data shows amazing reduction in traffic of nearly 50 percent, as well as reduced collisions and pollution.
- Overwhelmingly positive public response to Camden consultation on new two way segregated cycle-lanes on Tavistock Street.
- Surveys repeatedly showing public support of up to 70 percent for protected cycle lanes.
McCarthy adds: "It is the result of commitment and hard work by many many people and groups over decades – but this was the year we really broke through at London level."
But he cautions: "We still have a neanderthal Treasury and Department of Transport, which is slashing the tiny amount the UK spends on cycling even further (down to less than £1.50 per person, compared to Dutch £28). We still have many many dinosaur London Boroughs, like Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Hackney actively opposing protected cycle lanes. Over 95 percent of London’s roads are governed by the boroughs not the London mayor, and most boroughs are installing zero protection.
"So lots of work still to do, but I suggest that during the mid-winter holidays we express gratitude for a very positive 2016 for London cycling."
Stop Killing Cyclists is organising a die-in protest outside the Treasury on February 11th.