Sunday, 16 August 2015

Will London's mayoral candidates support Space4Cycling?

With Labour's national leadership contest all over the news their London leadership race has slipped under the radar. However if you live in London this could be quite a big thing - the winner of this contest will help set the debate in the run up to the mayoral elections and could even replace Boris as the next mayor.

So it seems like a good time to review where the different parties sit on cycling commitments and also to return to a subject I've discussed before - Labour's sometimes lukewarm attitude to cycling.

Where do the different parties sit on Space4Cycling?

The Space4Cycling campaign was run over a year ago for the local elections. Although the responses only record support for the campaign and not the candidates' other policies, the results are stark:

Party Elected 
Conservative   61211218%
Lib Dem1166959%

This shows Labour councillors form a significant majority of those supporting Space4Cycling and the percentage support is greater than all other parties except for the Green Party. The Lib Dems and independent candidates have slightly lower support rates.

Fewer than 1 in 5 Conservative candidates supported Space4Cycling (three times less than Labour). It is important to note that there are several vocal Conservatives cycling advocates, notably Boris Johnson who has overseen implementation of the most ambitious cycling plans London has seen to date.

Irrespective of the candidates' other policies it is clear the LCC and cycling campaigners have not been able to reach and engage with the Conservative party effectively. From experience most mayoral elections have been two horse races and it seems that cycling campaigners in London need to do more to get Conservative supporters and politicians supporting cycling.

Only a single UKIP councillor supported Space4Cycling and at the other end of the spectrum the Green Party fully supported the campaign.

Election for leader of London Labour

It's too late to sign up as a supporter but cyclists in London who signed up for the national leadership election will soon be able to vote in London's race. This is a chance for cyclists to send a clear message to the London Labour Party demanding ambitious plans and aspirations for cycling.

At this point I should say that I am not a member of the Labour Party, however I did spend the £3 to become a 'supporter' so I could put in a vote for Christian Wolmar and his cycling advocacy.

Wolmar has stood with a strong pro-cycling stance addressing many of the key issues faced by cyclists in London. I have copied his cycling manifesto below and if you're able to vote in the upcoming selection process consider putting Wolmar at the top of your list of preferences. He says:

I know the problems faced by cyclists. I am a lifelong cyclist and covered 3,500 miles on London’s roads last year and I was a board member of Cycling England until its abolition.

Cycling will be at the heart of my transport policy. There are 600,000 cycle journeys in London every day, representing a key mode of transport. It is vital that London is made safe for cyclists of all ages and abilities so that more people can enjoy this fantastic means of getting round London

So I will:
  1. Create a network of Dutch style segregated lanes
  2. Encourage local cycling schemes by funding ‘mini Holland’ type schemes in every borough
  3. Endorse a ‘vision zero’ on road deaths
  4. Ban HGV traffic at peak times on busy cycling routes
  5. Introduce a 20 mph limit that is properly enforced
  6. Build a cycle bridge across the Thames in the east, and scrap the Garden Bridge
  7. Extend the cycle hire scheme to more boroughs and reduce the cost
  8. Ensure cyclists are at the heart of every road junction redesign
  9. Create 50,000 new cycle parking spaces
  10. Keep cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan to give the programme continuity