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London Mayoral candidates cycling tests

Woman rides bike along new Cycle Superhighway in London with bike sign in foreground

Protected cycling space on main roads makes cycling a real option for all

People walking along the river Thames in Greenwich with Canary Wharf in background

East London needs a bike bridge to support people cycling and walking as London grows

Pedestrianised shopping parade in Walthamstow Village Outer London

Encouraging people to walk and cycle is possible when streets are redesigned with communities (Photo: Paul Gasson)

Children and mums walking in the street

Quality of life is improved when we rationalise and slow traffic in residential streets

Now is the time to set the agenda for the next Mayor. With incredible progress on our streets over the past Mayoral term, we need to keep up the pace.

The gap between where we are and where we want to be is still huge. The gap between the clean, cheap and short journeys London needs and what it has. The gap we want to bridge.

When we look back over what has changed since 2012 – the Olympic year – the progress has been dramatic. Diggers are working away from Elephant and Castle to Old Street to make central London safer and more inviting for people on foot or on bikes. There are nearly more journeys made by bike every day than on the London Overground and DLR combined. But safety remains a pressing concern. London has a lot of streets in need of work. To imagine what London will be like in 2020 feels far off, but a lot can be achieved in that time.

The Mayoral candidates respond to our tests for a Greater London

We have been busy meeting with the London Mayoral candidates to discuss our vision for London and to help the candidates develop their plans. We believe there are three things that London needs to be a truly great City for all pedestrians and cyclists in London. We’ve set the candidates a test. What would they do to deliver: 

  1. A network of cycling routes for all
  2. Empowered communities to make safer local streets
  3. London’s biggest barriers to cycling and walking busted

The candidates accepted our challenge, below is how they would meet our three tests for a greater London.

You can read the blogs of everyone who responded in full:

Zac Goldsmith

Siân Berry

Sadiq Khan

Caroline Pidgeon

Or read quotes from their responses to our tests below.

1. A network of cycling routes for all

Zac Goldsmith, Conservative

“My plan is to create a comprehensive ‘Tube Network for the Bike’, that means integrating Boris Bikes into Oyster and contactless payment, teaming up with Brompton Bikes to bring their successful cycle hire scheme to four further outer London boroughs, and consulting on setting up regional town centre-to-town centre hire schemes for outer London. I also want to build more separated Cycle Superhighways and introduce trial schemes using planters and traffic wands as means of temporary separations.”

Siân Berry, Greens

“I pledge to commit £1.55 billion over four years. This will pay for the completion of the original Cycle Superhighway programme, including stalled or cancelled routes. I will guarantee continued funding of the Superhighway programme at its current level, enabling stalled projects to be planned again, and allowing the extension of these facilities to more of outer London.”

Sadiq Khan, Labour

“High on my list of priorities is to pursue continued investment in the infrastructure for cycling, including the next generation of Cycle Superhighways and further investment in Quietways. I will encourage increased cycle storage on street in residential areas and in new office developments.”

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrats

“We need to ensure that cycling grows extensively everywhere, but especially in outer London, where there is a massive potential for its growth. We need to roll out the mini Holland programme to every London Borough, and ensure a much more rapid roll out of cycle Quietways. We need to significantly increase segregated cycle lanes across London and address many of London’s most dangerous junctions and gyratories using ‘Dutch style’ infrastructure.”

2. Empowered communities to make safer local streets

Zac Goldsmith, Conservative

I want to empower communities to ‘co-design’ development so together we build a safer, more attractive, more liveable London. I will help communities set out design codes: a clear vision for development in the local area. I will then speed up the planning process for developers that follow these locally-led rules.”

Siân Berry, Greens

“I will allow new investment in main road, town centre and neighbourhood People Friendly Streets projects across London, with spending equivalent to a ‘mini-Holland’ project in every borough.”

Sadiq Khan, Labour

“I will pursue further investment in town centre improvement schemes, particularly reducing street and pavement clutter on TFL Roads and support urban realm improvements across town centres”.

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrats

“We need to ensure a wider range of people (young and old, male and female) feel safe and comfortable cycling anywhere in London. As a Liberal Democrat Mayor of London I want to see our capital catch up with a number of European cities such as Berlin in making cycling safer, easier and more attractive.”

3. London’s biggest barriers to cycling and walking busted

Zac Goldsmith, Conservative

“I will protect TfL’s programme to upgrade the 33 most dangerous junctions and support those boroughs choosing to limit road speeds. I will bring in tough new standards on existing vehicles, such as requiring all suitable HGVs to be fitted with a clear window in the passenger side-door. My Action Plan also will get more freight lorries off our roads in the first place, with a Rail and River First policy and greater use of consolidation centres. This will mean safer and less polluted roads for London’s cyclists and walkers.”

Siân Berry, Greens

“I will spend at least 15 percent of my total expected transport investment on cycling and walking over my first term if I’m elected Mayor. It will be funded by rebalancing investment, including the cancellation of road-building projects such as the Silvertown Tunnel, as well as the introduction of a workplace parking levy, a revised, more effective Ultra Low Emission Zone and a new system of smart congestion charging. Public transport investment will not be affected. I want to make the bicycle the default option for short journeys – just as it is in European cities such as Amsterdam or Copenhagen.”

Sadiq Khan, Labour

“We should also pursue ways of breaching some of London’s physical barriers to cyclists, such as the Rotherhithe-Canary Wharf cycling and pedestrian bridge. I will also target investment for the completion of works to tackle the most dangerous junctions and I will identify ways of cutting the number of the most dangerous lorries from London’s roads. As Mayor I will appoint a first pedestrian champion at TFL and car-free weekends in central London is something I’ll look at very closely. Furthermore, I believe we need to take action to pedestrianise Oxford Street, and part-pedestrianise Parliament Square”.

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrats

“We need to significantly increase segregated cycle lanes across London and address many of London’s most dangerous junctions and gyratories using ‘Dutch style’ infrastructure. I support a peak-time ban on HGVs in central London and a London-wife strategy for reducing freight traffic on London’s roads, including the greater use of consolidation centres and the use of the River Thames. Finally, we need to make getting across the Thames far easier by bike. I was proud to support the successful campaign to drop the ban on bikes being taken on the DLR at weekends and at non-peak times.  An important next step must be the construction of a pedestrian and cycle bridge (open 24 hours a day) linking Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf”.

Matt Winfield Director for Sustrans London said:

"We'd like to thank all the candidates for setting out their plans to make London a truly great place for people travelling by foot or by bike. Some of these ideas have the chance to deliver revolutionary change for London.

"We can't wait to work with the successful candidate to bring some of these theories into practice. We love making ideas come to life - it's what we do. Most recently, we led a feasibility study for a Bike Bridge across the Thames, a big idea for London that we're delighted to see these candidates backing. It's an exciting time for London and we wish all candidates the best of luck on 5 May."

Find out why East London needs a bike Bridge

Follow @SustransLondon on Twitter, #BridgeTheGapLDN

Find out what Zac Goldsmith, Siân Berry, Sadiq Khan and Caroline Pidgeon would do for cycling in London

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