London Mayor Boris Johnson doesn’t score highly in the cycle friendly stakes compared to his opposition (AFP/Getty Images)

In the run up to London Mayoral elections on 3 May, where the cycling vote could be key, the London Cycling Campaign have
analysed the cycling pledges of the four main contenders. They find the green party’s
Jenny Jones is the only candidate who says they will prioritise
cycling and walking over motor traffic.

Of the two front-runners, currently neck and neck and way
ahead of the field, London Cycling Campaign says Labour’s Ken Livingstone’s manifesto is the more
impressive in cycling terms, summarising his policies for bikes as “encouraging in many ways”.

Conservative and current Mayor of London Boris Johnson lags behind as he “disappoints
with weak commitments, other than on cycle hire”, whilst Liberal Brian Paddick “declares welcome intentions but offers few policies to show that he would be a
cycle-friendly mayor.”

LCC measured the candidates’ cycling promises against their
own three Dutch style cycling policy demands (their Go Dutch campaign) as well as other key areas in encouraging
cycling and scored them as follows, with a higher score meaning more cycling friendly.

Whilst Jenny Jones is a clear leader in all the three main
headings it’s worth noting that Livingstone
scores higher on the more detailed subheadings (not shown above) Reducing Lorry Danger and
Increasing Cycle Parking- Reducing Theft.

Here’s a potted summary of the manifesto pledges of the two

Boris Johnson

  • Expanding cycle hire – East to the area around the Olympics
    and west and south-west plus a ‘capacity study’ for six major town centres on
    the outskirts.
  • Cycle safety – A review of 500 junctions for cycle safety to
    ‘prioritise the roads in most need of change’. There is also mention of a Cycling
    Safety Action Plan, though it has to be said this is made up of vague promises
    rather than specific measures.  
  • Cycle superhighways – A tripling of CSHs to 12 by the end of 2015.
  • World cycle festival – A two-day event to be held in 2013 at
    the Olympic Park.

Ken Livingstone

  • Safer junctions – Including a safety review of all major
    junctions and a trial of a cyclists-only green light phase.
  • Safer cycle superhighways – A redesign to include better
    segregation, safer junctions and continuous routes.
  • Suburban greenways – Traffic-free cycle routes from the
    suburbs into the centre.
  • Safe routes to outer London town centres – Mainly on quiet
    roads and with good signage.
  • Dutch-style cycle hubs – e.g. at train stations, to provide secure cycle parking.
  • Consistent cycle network across London – A high standard of cycle lanes,
    traffic-calming etc. across the board.
  • Review of the cycle hire contract – Branded by Ken as “expensive…underused, appealing to a narrow
    group of well-off young men working in the city.” The concept of cycle hire is “fantastic” but Boris’s implementation is deeply flawed. 
  • 20′s plenty – Support for councils wanting to make 20mph the
    default speed limit on residential streets.

Livingstone has also pledged that Jenny Jones would be his
cycling advisor were he elected, and Jones has endorsed their ability to work

Ken Livingstone

All the main candidates’ cycling manifestos are available for
download here

LCC has also promised ongoing analysis of any changes in
cycling pledges, as have mayoral election pressure group Londoners on Bikes. LCC have
also organised The
Big Ride
, just days before the election to highlight the issues. It is
billed as “the UK’s
largest traffic-free, family-friendly bike ride.”

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