London Mayoral Candidates Vie to Be the Most Bike-Friendly

Boris's cycling superhighways aren't good enough, says Ken Livingstone. Photo: ##http://www.ecoblog.co.za/uncategorized/cycling-superhighways/##EcoBlog##

Remember the Times of London’s “Cities Fit for Cycling” campaign? Earlier this year one of the most prominent dailies in the UK pulled out all the stops to make bicycling safer in British cities, promoting a comprehensive policy platform. The campaign is for real: The Times is now getting London mayoral candidates on the record with their bike policy positions.

Here’s how this political slugfest is playing out. Tory Boris Johnson, the mayor who launched the largest bike-share system in the English-speaking world (so far) and built the first corridors in a network of “cycle superhighways,” hasn’t done enough to make cycling accessible and safe, according to his chief rival, Labor candidate Ken Livingstone.

Livingstone, who was ousted from the mayoralty by Johnson in 2008, made his reputation as a transportation reformer in his first stint as mayor. He instituted London’s congestion charge in 2003, completed a range of high-profile pedestrian reclamation projects, and initiated the idea of building high-volume bike routes. Now he’s attacking Johnson’s bike-share initiative for being out of reach to most Londoners, and assailing the cycle superhighways as little more than paint on the street.

A political campaign group called “Londoners on Bikes” is going to deliver a bloc of at least 3,000 votes to the candidate who commits to the strongest platform for bicycling. Here are some highlights from Livingstone and Johnson, according to the Times.

Livingstone:

  • Safer junctions. Along with a comprehensive safety review of all major junctions, we will trial a cyclists-only green traffic light phase.
  • Safer Cycle Superhighways. Redesign Cycle Superhighways with safe junctions, continuous routes, better segregation and proper maintenance. Mayor Johnson avoided dealing with the real challenges in favour of a quick headline and splash of blue paint on the road.
  • Listen to cyclists about where secure parking is needed. Work with Network Rail and others to provide Dutch-style cycle parking hubs, and create a web-based tool for cyclists to tell transport planners where more facilities are needed.

Johnson:

  • Review 500 key junctions across the capital to specifically examine safety for cyclists. This includes 150 major planned schemes as well as every junction on the Cycle Superhighways.
  • Work with the London Criminal Justice Board to strengthen criminal justice procedures for dealing with cyclist deaths and serious injuries.
  • Deliver safer infrastructure for cyclists, including building 12 Cycle Superhighways, which are trialing innovative new safety features such as trixi mirrors.

Check out the Times coverage for the complete platforms from Livingstone, Johnson, and the Liberal Democrat and Green Party candidates.

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