Sunday 15 June 2003 4.47pm
Whilst I applaud Lambeth and Southwark Council
s, TfL, and the Mayor for all making the appropriate noises on their respective websites regarding the importance of encouraging more of us to cycle around London (health benefits, easing conjestion, reducing pollution, etc. etc.) and also for earmarking a certain amount of hard cash to deliver improvements, I suspect I am representative of a significant minority when I say that it will take a lot more than a few cans of green paint and an intermittant white line along the side of the road before I take the plunge. Not because I am unwilling, you understand. Personally, I would love to cycle around this neck of the woods. But until you provide me with the all important curb-stone separation between me and the cockney white-van men, taxi drivers, and bus drivers, frankly you can forget it. White and green paint is all very well, but it is no substitute for a curb stone. If its a question of road and pavement width, I can think of plenty roads that could lose 15" at their sides, and pavements that could lose another 15", providing more than enough space for a narrow, SEGREGATED cycle lane. If you ask any cyclist who already cycles, they say that "its not so bad/dangerous" to cycle on the road. That's as may be, but that is not my point. My point is that- if you are to get over the psychological barrier that prevents current non-cyclists from cycling, you have to buy into the segregated argument. Otherwise, it will always be a minority of Londoners who are prepared to go for it. And (very) Central London is perfect for cycling because its mainly flat. There is always the argument that some of the old medieval roads are too narrow and we can't afford the road-space. But if most people were honest, there are plenty roads out there that could lose 15" and another 15" from the pavement. Plenty room for a cycle lane.
-MM- The Nature of Monkey was Irrepressible.