Just one day after the mayor of London unfolded his cycling vision earlier this month, I had to be in London for a meeting which had nothing to do with cycling. My visit would only be short, and with some other people, so I did not think I had the time or the opportunity to do anything related to cycling (like last year). But we did walk in the city and I did have a camera in hand… and so I couldn’t help but record some of the cycling and some of the city environment I saw. That means I do have a video-postcard from London for you after all.
But first back to those plans. Reviews have been written about them extensively. Some with a bit of sound criticism and even looking at the plans from a Dutch perspective has been done. All that by people who are far better qualified than I am, so I won’t repeat any of it. I can only add, that from what I saw and experienced, there is indeed an urgent need for change.
The video shows my observations of London traffic, gathered while walking around in the centre. It’s not an in-depth investigation or report, just a snap shot, but it does make one thing clear. If the mayor is serious about ‘going Dutch’ and creating ‘up to three Mini Netherlands’ (allow me to correct the mayor’s mistaken name for our country!) then a lot has to change. Currently the conditions in the streets of London are very different from the conditions in the Netherlands. In fact, so very different that I never felt the urge to use one of the many shared bikes available. But despite these hostile conditions, a lot of people do cycle. I believe that if the conditions were better, many more would cycle and safety would improve. Not only for people on bicycles, but for anyone who is not in a motor vehicle.
One 15 mile route is not enough to improve an entire city. But if it is a good route, that draws a lot of people on bicycles, it could function as an incentive for further developments. The ‘up to three Mini-Netherlands’ could also help to show what is possible. So let’s hope the plans are executed soon, and well!
Video with some of my traffic observations in London