The rate of injuries resulting from cycling in London has increased by 13% in the last three years
Since Boris Johnson became London's mayor in 2008, cycling has become more widespread throughout the capital as a result of the mayor's efforts to promote its use as a healthy, cheap and safe way of traveling. But while the number of cycling journeys in London has more than doubled since 2000, the safe bit might need to be worked on. Indeed, the rate of injuries resulting from cycling in London has increased by 13% in the last three years.
Some cyclists have especially voiced concerns about John Boris' Cycle Superhighways (BCS). BCS are all those cycling routes that go from outer London into central London, mostly for commuting. Four of them are fully in place while 8 more are due to open by 2015. According to figures gathered for travel reports by Transport for London, one injury occurred in every 138 cycling journeys in 2010. In 2009, it was one in 139 and in 2008, one in 153 - accidents have undoubtedly increased since 2008.
But looking at it from another point of view, Kulveer Ranger, Boris's director of environment said that the number of cyclists gravely injured or actually killed has decreased by 7% since 2008, and that the total number of fatal injuries has actually reached half of what it was in 2001. Cycle Superhighways have roadside mirrors that allow lorry users - which are, according to a 2010 research report on cycling deaths by Morgan, Andrei S, Dale, Lee and Edwards the most serious threat to cyclists, especially when they make a left turn - to see cyclists in their blind spots. Also, the visibility of the blue markings delimiting cycling lanes on Cycle Superhighways and the quality of the road surface were found to be two highly important factors in encouraging people to cycle and feel safe about it.
Whether or not fatal accidents have decreased, the fact is that London sees more and more cycling accidents every year. The government however is ready to tackle this issue and make cycling a safer transport mode throughout London, as the capital is very much focused on increasing green transport. Some future changes will include redesigning road layouts, increasing cycling training and spreading more awareness amongst drivers.
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7 April 2012, 02:31PM
Most cycling caaimpgners do tend to see mass cycling as an end in itself, not as a means. That is perhaps the reason for the popularity of the Dutch model', which combines excellent cycle infrastructure with excellent roads, a car culture, and high traffic volumes.
For these caaimpgners, the goal is simply more cycling, not a resilient transport network that can respond to the challenges of climate change and peak oil while improving quality of life and reducing inequalities.
It is also doubtful if even Dutch cycling rates (25% trip share, 7% of passenger-km) have those effects, certainly not the kind of cycling behind them. The idea that cycling substitutes for driving is outdated, although it might still look like that from the UK perspective, where cyclists' are a non-motorised sub-culture.
This shows how difficult it is to create a transport revolution from cycling, even mass cycling.
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