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Transforming London into one of the best cycling cities around

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While other European cities have become well-known for cycling friendliness and well-maintained infrastructure, London still has some way to go

As the weather starts to get warmer and brighter, many Londoners once again flirt with the idea of trading in the bus or train for two wheels. Commuting in London by cycling has a well-recorded host of benefits – from cost savings to general wellbeing. It’s also a great way to fit exercise into your routine.

However, whereas other European cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen have become well-known for cycling friendliness and well-maintained infrastructure, London still has some way to go in its journey to becoming a leading cycling hotspot.

Getting hesitant Londoners on bikes comes down to building a cycling-supportive city. A major factor in that is addressing the imbalance between cars and bikes, especially as the UK looks to hit our ever-receding Net Zero targets.

A recent survey by London bike maker Brompton shows there is a real appetite amongst cyclists to see City Hall do more to improve road conditions and build bike-centric infrastructure.

Will Butler-Adams OBE, CEO of Brompton said: “Anyone who regularly drives in London will know what a miserable experience it can be.

The reality is, that cities have been designed around cars, which simply does not make sense. Prioritising active travel is the solution for modern, happier cities, providing freedom to the people who live in them.”

If London is going to catch up with European rivals whilst improving journey times and air quality, getting more people safely on bikes would be a huge step in the right direction.

At the moment, among non-cyclists, Brompton found that 54 per cent said safety was the main thing holding them back. Of those respondents, over two-thirds said that was due to London’s heavy traffic, and over half pointed to a lack of infrastructure.

Dutch e-bike rental firm Swapfiets found that the division in London between cyclists and non-cyclists is even more stark along gender lines, with just five per cent of women currently cycling to work, compared to one in five men. Bike ownership also lags, with less than a quarter of women owning a bike versus 43 per cent of men.

Once again, traffic-related fears top the list, with 79 per cent of women citing being hit by a vehicle as their main concern. It’s clear that more needs to be done to address fears around cycling on London’s busy roads.
The capital has undoubtedly become more bike-friendly over the last couple of decades, but there is more progress that can be made.

“With the right transport and planning strategy from City Hall, we could create ‘Amsterdam-On-Thames’ where more people feel empowered to make more journeys by bike”, Butler-Adams added.

Cycling around London is one of the best (and quickest) ways to see the city. As the sun tentatively starts to come out, now is the perfect time to get cycling. If you’re feeling uneasy then try shorter journeys first along cycle routes with segregated lanes.

After building up confidence, you’ll soon find yourself cycling alongside over a million other Londoners.

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