In the run up to the local elections in May 2014, the London Cycling Campaign’s Space for Cycling campaign saw Londoners send 85,000 emails to candidates, calling for safe and inviting streets.
Almost half of London’s councillors – 862 – committed to making changes in their ward to create safe space for cycling, with 100% from ruling parties in 7 boroughs. In 14 boroughs, the majority of councillors committed to delivering space for cycling across all parties.
Now those councillors are being called on to keep their promises and the LCC has launched a petition at www.space4cycling.org to that effect. These changes range from creating protected space for cycling on main roads and reducing traffic speeds to creating safe cycle routes to local schools.
LCC’s Chief Executive Dr Ashok Sinha said: “Getting the support of 862 councillors across London – that’s almost half of all of them – to commit to safe Space for Cycling earlier this year was a fantastic achievement by our supporters. Londoners now expect their councils to live up to their promises, and make clear how they will do so as soon as possible.”
The much needed changes were identified by LCC’s network of Local Groups. If implemented, they would help to make London’s streets safe and inviting for anyone, of any age or ability, to cycle. Research shows that many people would like to cycle, but currently feel unable to due to the lack of safe space for cycling. Whilst the Mayor of London is taking action on streets controlled by Transport for London, London’s councils, who control 95% of the city’s streets and have the power to create safe space for cycling, must follow suit – and make London a healthier, safer and more pleasant city in which to live, study and work in.
LCC asked councillors for an update on progress in October 2014. 179 councillors responded to a personalised survey, with 155 indicating they were making some progress towards implementing the designated cycle improvement in their ward. But only 19 councillors expect to deliver the improvements within the next 12 months.
Sinha added: “It’s fantastic to see some progress being made, and we’d like to thank those councillors who are taking their commitments seriously. We know that change won’t be immediate, but it’s high time that all councillors tell the public how they will try to meet their Space for Cycling promises.”
London Cycling Campaign is now urging people to sign the petition at www.space4cycling.org calling on their council to prioritise space for cycling and ensure that councillors keep the promises made to local residents ahead of the local elections in May this year. They hope to demonstrate that safe space for cycling is important to local people and must be prioritised immediately. Signatures will be handed over to Council Leaders in the New Year.
The Space for Cycling campaign has been so successful in London that it has now been adopted at a national level by cycling organisations across the UK.