Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Chris Boardman on cycling in London

THE mastermind of Britain's cycling gold medal haul today called for a complete overhaul of London's roads. Chris Boardman told the Evening Standard he wants to see roads transformed to make them safe for cyclists.

Boardman, 40, said: "In order to make cycling in London viable Boris Johnson really needs to make some ballsy decisions, and now is the time to do it. At the moment cars have priority and that has to change." Boardman has proposed re-painting road markings to give cyclists more room and giving them two-way access on one-way roads.

Kensington and Chelsea council is already testing a scheme for cyclists to be exempt from one-way road restrictions after hundreds of cyclists were found to be flouting the rules. Boardman wants to see an expansion of this kind of scheme across London.He said: "People just do not feel safe on the roads. We need to completely rethink the allocation of road space, and it is more than making cycle lanes wider.

The fundamental problem is car dependency: the number of cars on the roads, the priority they receive in transport planning, and the reckless, lawless and aggressive way many of them are driven. Unless these matters are addressed, mass cycling in London is going nowhere.

Locally, one simple practical thing which the council could do which would help me as a cyclist would be to get rid of those disastrously failed rubber speed cushions. They fail to slow the speeding driver and all they do is to encourage many drivers to swerve round them, which for a cyclist means you have cars coming towards you on your side of the road. Unfortunately the council has no plans whatsoever to do anything about them, and so they are going to be around for years, deterring some people from cycling and adding to the danger and unpleasantness for those of us who do.