Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Protest outside Transport for London this Friday

Dear Friends,

I'm writing to you to alert you to a GLA funded organisation called London Travel Watch who claim to represent cyclists' while actively campaigning against protected space for cycling.

London Travel Watch pitch themselves as the 'voice of London's transport users', and identify cyclists as one of the groups they speak for, but advocate polices most cyclists are specifically opposed to. We feel this is totally inappropriate, however few cyclists have even heard of this organisation so we wanted to let you know. Details and links to their policies are here.

We need to send a message that most cyclists want protected space for cycling. If you're able, please join Stop Killing Cyclists' protest this Friday on Blackfriars Road to support real cycle campaigners and demand protected cycling.

No More Coffins Protest - Friday from 5 pm - 6:30 pm

Kind regards,


London Travel Watch do not represent cyclists!

London Travel Watch claims to be 'The voice of London's transport users' with a staff of 20 and one million pounds each year from the London Assembly [1]. They claim to speak for cyclists & pedestrians and identify cycling as the 4th most significant transport mode [2].

How are London Travel Watch representing cyclists?

London Travel Watch are actively involved in trying to influence London's transport policies and also respond to consultations. They are well resourced and also claim the mandate of representing everyone who travels - including people on bikes. However many of their policies are at odd with both major cycling organisations and also grass roots groups.

In their Cycle-Superhighway policy document [3], London Travel Watch insist the best thing is for cyclists of all ages and abilities to be mixed in with other traffic and "share the road" (the opposite of providing safe and protected space dedicated for cycling). London Travel Watch are promoting a policy which is known to fail, in fact it's the policy which has meant many felt excluded from cycling and led to the massive decline in cycling in London and the rest of the UK

London Travel Watch acknowledge the desire for more and safer ‘cycling facilities’, but claim there no settled consensus on what they might be (despite the huge success of the LCC's Love London Go Dutch campaign). They oppose protected space for cycling:
Devices to separate cyclists from motor vehicles will add to the difficulties of pedestrians, particularly the mobility and visually impaired and it will lead to a less attractive, and less well used, public realm.

Further to that they propose that a better solution is wider traffic lanes with no cycle infrastructure at all [4]:
We have promoted the use of wide (4.5m) bus lanes and wide (4.5m) inside lanes as the best way of ensuring the safety of cyclists and improving the operation of bus services along links between road junctions.
Finally, when setting  priorities for the current mayoral term, their only reference to cycling was to complain about the cyclists who jump red lights - ignoring cycle superhighways completely [5].

What do people on bikes (and people who want to ride) really think?

The supporters of this petition come from a wide range of backgrounds and each year we've run a survey to identify the most pressing issues to campaign on. The 2015 Survey had almost a thousand responses and over 65% wanted us to demand every council has a programme to build protected cycle facilities at junctions and along main roads.

In addition we had many comments in support protected cycle lanes:
The main focus of the campaign should continue to be on the construction of the cycle super highways and the demand for more separate and protected cycle routes running off the super highways.
At the moment the focus is having a nice ride at the weekend with family, often involving getting on and off the bike, going through parks which are closed after dark, spitting you out unexpectedly into busy roads and traffic and taking long detours, making commuting a mission which puts people off. That simply reduces cycling to a hobby rather than what it is in the city - an extremely effective mode of transport. We need better routes that are direct and navigable as well as being separated from traffic and pedestrians.
I have cycled in London for over twenty years - now I just take the back streets and try not to stress out - I ignore the painted highways and allow longer to get everywhere as its so dangerous on the main roads

London Travel Watch need to stop falsely claiming to represent cyclists.

It is clear that London Travel Watch are not a voice for cyclists (nor those who want to cycle but find the roads intimidating). However they still claim their organisation represents all transport users including cyclists. I feel this use of public money, to misrepresent cyclists, is totally unacceptable and puts cycling at an unfair disadvantage.

This organisation is concerned with championing bus and rail travel and should have cycling (and any associated funding) striped from it's remit. If the GLA want this type of organisation to represent bus and train users that's fine, but it shouldn't claim to represent people it doesn't speak for.




Sunday, 15 November 2015

City of London Quietways consultation

The City of London are consulting on their Cycle Quietways and their proposals lack the quality and vision to make cycling accessible for everyone - We need your help to get this improved.

The City's aim "to improve safety and cater for the predicted increase in cycling, whilst minimising the impact on other road users and local occupiers" has led them to a watered down scheme where most of the changes are "minor, such as new or amended road markings, wayfinding signage, parking bay alterations". You can view detailed plans of the proposals here.

This approach has led to a scheme which fails to adequately provide for the "new and less confident cyclists" they are hoping to encourage.

Please respond to the consultation by emailing

I have copied my response to the consultation below, please feel free to use it as the basis of your response:

Dear City of London,
I am responding to your consultation about the proposed Quietway cycle routes through the City.

I fully support the aim of these schemes to encourage "new and less confident cyclists" to cycle more. Some of the sections proposed seem to provide the kinds of safe and protected conditions which would persuade people to cycle when they otherwise wouldn't.

However there are several other sections where the roads are left largely the same, such as installing a larger Advance Stop Line Area. Many potential new cyclists are concerned about safety on the roads and small adjustments to provision will make little difference to cyclist's experience and perception of the route, so this will not help persuade more to use it. If the City of London wants to really encourage non-cyclists to take up cycling as a form of transport the provision needs to be consistently of higher quality rather than the current patchy proposals.

In addition, the routes proposed are somewhat indirect so to ensure the routes are attractive to cyclists the phasing and priority at junctions should be adjusted to ensure the route is not more inconvenient than the more direct roads. Otherwise large numbers of cyclists may end up ignoring those sections of the routes.

Some specific comments on the plans as numbered in the consultation documentation:
  • Plan 1: I welcome the use of segregation to create an inviting route, however I am concerned by the junction between Snow Hill and West Smithfield west-bound cycle lane as there is a lack of visibility for both cyclists and motorists. The position of the crossing, just past the corner, is less than ideal and this should be orientated so the crossing is more perpendicular to the road. In addition the inside kerb of the roadway needs to be adjusted to take account of the lane on the far side, there is a risk that a motorist following the inside kerb line realise late that they are heading straight in to a cycle lane. Ideally this whole junction would be redesigned so the cycle route crossed Snow Hill in one go with a single safe crossing, rather than having to deal with the arms separately and rather awkwardly.
  • Plan 3: Cloth Fair is too narrow to accommodate motor traffic and should be made access only. I note that drawing a picture of a bike on the road next to an arrow doesn't make it any easier for a beginner to make a right turn and is exactly the kind of 'provision' which makes it difficult to persuade people cycling is a safe option they could try out.
  • Plan 4: The pinch point which is created at the entrance to Beech Street for cyclists heading east is bound to cause conflict and will feel very unsafe for new and less confident cyclists, especially given that many cyclists experience aggression from motorists associated with situations like this, where the driver wants to get past to a clear road ahead and isn't prepared to be a little patient. In addition the left-right from Middle Street to Long Lane looks difficult and unappealing for the "new and less confident cyclists" this scheme is aimed at.
  • Plan 6: I welcome the introduction of the no-through route for motor traffic and am sure that a large number of potential cyclists would regard this as safe and inviting.
  • Plan 8: I am concerned by the junction between Wood Street and London Wall. For cyclists heading south the junction encourages cyclists to start off on the left hand side and traverse the traffic diagonally. This arrangement simply isn't acceptable given the numbers of cyclists who have been killed in 'left hook' type collisions, it encourages cyclists to put themselves in the danger zone and increases the risk of a fatality. The markings encouraging cyclists to cross the lane diagonally from the left should be removed and the radius on the bend tightened to ensure there is no space for a vehicle to get on the outside of a cyclist. Alternatively southbound traffic should be removed from Wood Street as part of a one way system for motor traffic, with a segregated counter-flow cycle lane introduced.
I hope these suggestions help you improve the quality of these proposals.

Kind regards,


Proposed Quietway routes (purple)

Monday, 9 November 2015

London Assembly votes to End Lorry Danger

Dear Friends,

Our call for the Mayor to End Lorry Danger is gaining momentum with cross party support in the London Assembly

In response to everyone who emailed the Mayor and London Assembly this summer (that means you!), our demands are being debated and supported in City Hall. Initially the Mayor's office responded with cautious support but no concrete proposals [1]. However our calls have now been taken up by Darren Johnson AM who bought together a cross party motion to the London Assembly which was passed unanimously [2].

This is a big step for the campaign and shows there is political will in the London Assembly to address HGV danger.

We need to keep up the pressure on the Mayor to ensure this is followed up by decisive action to address this endemic problem.

- No More Coffins Protest

Thankfully it's been several months since we've had a vigil on London's roads and while I hope that will continue for as long as possible, many of the dangers facing cyclists haven't gone away.

On Friday 27th November Stop Killing Cyclists are holding a demonstration outside Transport for London's HQ calling for action to make London's roads safe [3]. The event runs from 5-6:30 pm so please join after work to help maintain the pressure for safer cycling in London.

No More Coffins Protest event details - 27th November, 5-6:30 pm

- Demand Protected Cycle Lanes in Wandsworth

This campaign has always demanded safer roads for cycling in London, especially protected cycle lanes on main roads to make safe cycling accessible to all. Unfortunately although there has been progress in places many schemes still fail to provide safe space for cycling.

TfL's proposals for Balham High Road fail to provide protected space for cycling [4]. We want to send a clear signal to TfL that this level of provision just isn't good enough. All schemes like this should include:
  • Continental style protected cycle lanes (as recently opened in Vauxhall, Embankment and Oval)
  • Bus stop cycle lane bypasses

The consultation closes at the end of the week, so please respond now!

Thanks for all your support and I hope to see many of you on the 27th.

Kind regards,


[2] The details of the motion and the Assembly members supporting our campaign are here:
[3] No more coffins protest - in support of Stop Killing Cyclists' '10 by 2020' demands -
[4] via the 38degrees petition (please support!).

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Demand Protected Cycle Lanes in Wandsworth!

This campaign has always demanded safer roads for cycling in London, especially protected cycle lanes on main roads to make safe cycling accessible to all. Unfortunately although there has been progress in places, we are still seeing many schemes which fail to provide safe space for cycling.

Balham High Road scheme just not good enough

We are supporting calls for TfL to do better and revise the plans to include:
  • Continental style protected cycle lanes (as recently opened in Vauxhall, Embankment and Oval)
  • Bus stop cycle lane bypasses

You can read more about the failings of the scheme on the Traffik in Tooting blog here.

The scheme is currently out for consultation - please respond to TfL's consultation before it closes at the end of the week!

Want to keep up to date with other campaigns & consultations in Wandsworth?

This scheme was highlighted to Save Our Cyclists by another 38degrees campaign - Let's make Tooting High Street safe for all. Please sign their petition if you want to keep up to date.

There are also a series of related 38degrees petitions aimed at specific improvements around the Wandsworth area our supporters may also be interested in: Wandsworth Cyclists' 38degrees petitions and campaigns.