USA Today says London is becoming a "major cycling city"

London mayor Ken Livingstone told the US newspaper cycling is "the fastest, cheapest, most healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around London, and more and more people are taking it up. The number of cyclists has doubled over the last five years." USA Today interviews 'bomb dodging' new bike commuters, Adam Coffman of the CTC, London bike shop staffers and the editor of BikeBiz.com.
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"It's not quite Amsterdam or Copenhagen, where commuting by bike is the norm, but London is quickly becoming a major cycling city. Much of the shift is a direct result of the bombings, which killed 52 people," reports USA Today journalist César G. Soriano.

"The sudden influx of cyclists after the July attacks took London by surprise. In July, the number of bike commuters was 26% higher than the same period last year, according to the transport office.

"On the day of the bombings, which crippled the transportation system for weeks, bicycle shops sold out of their stock within hours."

Soriano quoted Andy Guard, a staffer at the Holborn branch of Evans Cycles"

"We had adults buying children's bikes just so they could get home," said Guard. "Since the bombings, our business has been up every day. It seems like everyone has abandoned the Tube and is cycling to work."

However, the growth of cycling in London started before July 7th. The biggest spike came after February 17th 2003. That's when London mayor Ken Livingstone had the balls to introduce the £5 congestion charge.

CTC's Adam Coffman told USA Today that rising petrol prices and "a nationwide battle against obesity" is also getting people out on their bikes.

But more people cycling has not equalled more cyclists getting injured, a fact that puzzles the USA Today reporter:

"The presence of more cyclists has not translated into more accidents or fatalities, even though bike helmets, which are not required, are not routinely worn. Eight bicycle fatalities were reported in 2004 in London, down from 16 the previous year. One cyclist died this year."

Coffman was not puzzled:

"We and other cyclists say that more cycling equals safer cycling."

http://www.usatoday.com/.../2005-09-20-london-bike_x.htm

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