Copper’s John Twitchen and Sam Cranston take a look at cycling in the Capital ahead of the forthcoming ACE Progress Network (London & South East) seminar “Going up a Gear – The Future of Cycling” on 25th June 2015 at Imperial College:
As the sun begins to heat up the Capital, the number of cyclists on our roads multiplies. Whether its commuters going to work, tourists on Boris bikes, or the influx of summer MAMILs, London is awash with people on two wheels. And this is great. Increased participation should be nurtured and encouraged, but we need the infrastructure to facilitate this and, importantly, we all need the right attitude to make it a lasting positive cultural change.
Antony Oliver (a self-confessed fair weather cyclist) made an important point in his Road Peace article last month that whether we’re on a bike, in a car, on a bus, or in a big lorry, we’re all road users and we’re all people. And we must all engage in this positive change.
Cycling infrastructure is not just about making it easier for people on bikes to get around the city. It is about improving the public realm for everyone. It is about improving wellbeing amongst road users: calmer drivers and healthier cyclists. Building new cycling infrastructure is ultimately about getting more people to cycle more places more often.
As well as the Mayor’s multi-million pound investment in infrastructure, there is a multitude of ways to encourage and nurture this positive change. Antony Oliver wrote about the positive work being undertaken by some developers, which is good to see. Others must follow suit. Work-based schemes, including the Cycle to Work Scheme, are growing in number – Copper Consultancy was first to sign-up to Green Rewards, an organisation which allows companies to reward staff who take positive steps towards walking and cycling to work. Copper is also working with Transport for London as it rolls out its Cycling Workplaces scheme which offers organisations a range of goods and services to help kick-start cycling in the workplace.
Local authorities have a role to play, too. Copper is working with the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames on its ‘go cycle’ programme which, funded by the Mayor of London’s mini-Holland Programme, aims to deliver ten schemes across the borough to improve the sense of safety for all road users whilst improving the public realm. Schools and organisations for young people should be encouraging, where possible, for pupils and members to cycle more often.
All of these initiatives together will aid the development and progress of positive cultural change towards cycling in and around the Capital. The positive knock-on effects will be tangible, and it’s not just environmental benefits. Health and wellbeing improvements can help to reduce stress on the health service and get people more active in both body and mind. Copper sponsors #TeamMindBMX, a team of racers raising money for and awareness of mental health.
We should point out that the developments are, of course, not confined to London; there are plenty of examples of positive change taking place across the UK in towns and cities, linking up schools, skate parks and supermarkets, work places and watering holes.
But, most importantly, engagement is vital, with all road users, all people – human beings. Positive cultural change is a collective pursuit and the wheels are in motion.
Enjoy the ride.
John Twitchen will be presenting at the forthcoming ACE Progress Network (London & South East) seminar “Going up a Gear – The Future of Cycling” on 25th June 2015 at Imperial College, also featuring Andrew Gilligan, the London Mayor’s cycling commissioner. For details and to book click here.
Sam Cranston is a member of the ACE Progress Network (London & South East) management committee.
This article was originally published on the ACE website.