Anyone with a finger to the cycling pulse will have noticed Boris Johnson’s recent proposal for a £25 million upgrade to the notorious Bow-Whitechapel cycle ‘superhighway’. You’ll also have seen the controversy it’s thrown up, and the blame game taking place between all those accused of objecting. The plan aims to achieve full or semi segregation for cyclists on the route that has caused six deaths since it opened in 2011. At Huez* we agree that an arbitrary patch of blue on the edge of a busy carriageway is not adequate protection, and so wholeheartedly praise the proposals. This is a positive step that we should all get behind, but there is still so much to do. Twelve routes were promised when Boris became mayor, but with a year and a half left to run we’ve only managed four. Parts of the CS2 in Stratford have been removed and an Angel-Archway route axed. Some journalists have been quick to point fingers at the business community for the hold up, but this seems unfair. Most back the concept, but want more time to settle the nuances of such a huge undertaking.
That said, we are currently at a critical phase in our nation’s cycling development; it will be a long time before another mayor will picket for cycling on such a scale. Our tubes are overcrowded, our roads congested and our air polluted. Our Dutch cousins have demonstrated the benefits of raising bikes to 60% of commuting traffic. In modern cities seeking a healthy and energy efficient lifestyle, it’s polluting engines that seem increasingly outdated. It is only by setting an example that other towns and cities will have the confidence to follow suit.More stories