A new national campaign will have its official launch on Saturday in London. The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain seeks to "create conditions which will bring about mass cycling in the UK."
The campaign was mooted online in January 2011 by blogger Jim Davis, a former official with the Cyclists' Touring Club. By February, a groundswell of online support had coalesced around the putative campaign, which was part inspired on the Cycling Embassy of Denmark, a network of private companies, local authorities and non-governmental organizations working together to promote cycling in Denmark.
Davis said: "The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain has been founded by campaigners wishing to share the first-hand experience and practices of the Netherlands and Denmark which have achieved mass cycling through the design and implementation of high quality cycling infrastructure which separates cyclists from dense and fast-moving traffic."
The launch event will start on the south side of Lambeth Bridge, in view of the Houses of Parliament, followed by a short ride across the bridge on what the campaign has dubbed “London’s worst cycle lane” to demonstrate the "limitations of existing cycling infrastructure commonly found in Britain."
Davis, who is chair of the campaign group, said:
"We've all seen some of the terrible cycle lanes around the UK; they cost us all money but few people are prepared to use them because they’re often dangerous and poorly conceived. No one in their right mind would let their children cycle to school on the worst of them.
"The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain looks to countries which are successfully building a cycling culture, and wants to use their knowledge here in the UK to ensure only high quality and safe spaces for people on bicycles are built from now on. British people aren't prepared to consider riding a bike because they are afraid; not of the act of actually riding but of riding on the conditions the UK's roads currently present. We need only look across the North Sea for great examples of how to design streets for people and safe - if necessary, separate - cycling infrastructure which will lead to a much higher cycling rate than we currently have."
The Cycling Embassy of GB's website is planned to store a comprehensive online library of bicycle infrastructure design guidance from around the world.