Following on from the discussion of the recent tragedy on Blackfriars Bridge, I wondered what people thought of the transport policies of different mayoral candidates - leaving aside other aspects of voting for them or not.
I have to say that I found Ken Livingstone's transport manifesto woefully light on proposals to improve the safety of cyclists.
Without wishing to re-open the whole 'cycling on pavements' debate, (although I agree from my experience of visiting Strasbourg that when properly signposted and marked they are a good idea) what actions would readers like to see candidates promising to take to improve cycling in London?
What pedestrian policies would they like to see implemented?
Other candidates transport policies can be found here:
As the only one to propose cycle training for children, Ken shades it for me.
If one of them said that (as well as improving cycle access, parking etc, which is undoubtedly an great step forward) they'd make all cyclists take compulsory training and have compulsory insurance, then that would really be a step forward.
Cycling can play a big part in getting traffic off our crowded roads. However, there are enough "anarchist" cyclists out there at the moment. I'm sure that not all of them have a deathwish, and so the only conclusion I can draw is that they don't know that a lot of the time they are putting themselves in danger.
Some basic training would go a long way to make people aware of the dangers and teach them some basic safety/life preservation measures. If we're trying to increase the number of people taking up cycling for the first time (or returning to cycling after many years, as is the case for a lot of adults), then if we don't train them (as well as doing things like making segregated cycle lanes where possible), we're just sending them out to get injured, and people will go back to cars.
If you want rights, you should have some responsibilities.
[Oh, and none of them mentioned motorbikes. In spite of being an excellent alternative to car or cycle, running forever on hardly any petrol, and giving off very low emissions, it seems they're just not vote-grabbingly trendy enough.]
Ken's policies are coherent and they work. He has already done a fantastic job with the buses and the congestion charge. Hughes, who means well but is a bit of a bumbler, is in trouble, with Charles Kennedy coming in to help him; Norris is a smart-talking dandy with no ideas except to scrap the congestion charge - which would be a disaster (does anyone remember what it was like before?). Ergo, Ken romps it.
Thank you Andrew for a fascinating post.
I tend to agree that Ken's bike thoughts appear a bit flimsy.
Kevin of course is right that, overall, Ken probably takes it for most voters because he's seen (rightly, in my view) as a good overall champion for London.
But your original post asked specifically about cycling and on this question Hughes is clearly stronger.
He talks about physically protecting cyclists and providing bike hire at nominal cost. What a great idea, especially for the summer.
In answer to the second part of your post, I believe that much of the work that needs to be done on cycling is one of changing our perception of cycling and cyclists.
If it wasn't seen as being dominated by, to borrow Ivanhoe's term, "anarchists", more of us might be tempted to join them. Especially if bikes were kept separate from cars.
I think that one of the best things that can be done for cyclists' safety is to make car drivers go out and cycle on the road before they are given a full licence. Though obviously this is a national thing, not a London issue.