With the London Mayoral elections approaching, British Cycling President Brian Cookson has sent a strong road safety message to the 2012 London Mayoral candidates, asking them to outline their specific plans to improve conditions for the capital's burgeoning cyclist population. Here's a full transcript of Cookson's message to the Mayors.
"I am writing to you ahead of the Mayoral elections for London in what will no doubt be a tremendous year for sport and cycling in the capital. At British Cycling we are privileged to be able to look forward to a summer of Olympic and Paralympic sport in our capital city with all the surrounding benefits such as the venues that will be left for us to use and the way the Games will inspire more people to get on their bikes.
Much has been done in London to encourage cycling and we are seeing great growth in the numbers of people riding, whether as part of organised sporting activities or just for fun or transport. With the World’s best riders like Mark Cavendish, Victoria Pendleton and Chris Hoy competing here, London has the opportunity to lead the way in how cycling can be made a central part of the city’s culture.
I would like to hear your specific plans for cycling and how you intend to encourage more young people to be given the opportunity to take up sport, including cycling, with all the social benefits this creates. In particular British Cycling would like to hear how you intend to make the city safer and friendlier for cyclists. Whilst we know that as more people have taken up cycling it has become safer and overall accidents are coming down, we have still seen fatalities and serious incidents in London last year, many of them involving heavy goods vehicles. This issue concerns all cyclists, whether it’s elite riders going out to train, someone who commutes to work, or a busy mum who wants to do some laps of Richmond Park on Saturday morning to keep fit.
We’ve been hearing from our members on the issue of safety and there is no doubt that the cycling community, most of whom are also car users, want to see more action from politicians to address this. Some of the points that cyclists repeatedly put to us are the need for:
(a) greater investment in education and training/driving tests so that we build a culture of mutual respect on the roads;
(b) the reduction of speed limits in the city;
(c) more controls on the presence of HGVs, such as the way they are designed to enable the driver to see cyclists and improved HGV driver training;
(d) the pro-active enforcement of the law on mobile phone use;
(e) the re-design of particular junctions and cycle lanes which pose a danger, particularly to inexperienced cyclists;
(f) the repairing of damaged road surfaces.
If you can please let me know what your specific policies are in these areas, and of any other ideas that you have, I shall make sure they are communicated to all our members in London and indeed all those who are interested in cycling.
British Cycling looks forward to working with the new Mayor to ensure that Londoners get the cycling legacy from the Olympics that this great city deserves.