Well done London! From the Big Ride to the streets where you live: space4cycling WILL make a difference

London Cycling Campaign's staff and hundreds of volunteers should be feeling extremely proud of themselves.  Not only did they present an impeccably organised family friendly "Big Ride" on Saturday pushing politicians to sign up to their space4cycling campaign, they've already procured pre-election promises from Councillors who will have the power to change the streets where you live.

London bathed in gloriously warm sunshine on Saturday, bringing cyclists out on to the streets in their thousands ready to have a good time, to enjoy their capital city, but to present a serious message too.  Whereas Park Lane usually drowns in the roar of motor traffic, the start of the Big Ride resounded to the tinkling of bells, music, chants and Mexican Waves.

The ride snaked past Hyde Park Corner, the Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Downing Street before meeting this year's Tweed Run cycling in the opposite direction on Parliament Square.  On Embankment the ride took a good half hour to pass me by as I took photos; estimates on turn out range between 5,000 and 7,500 cyclists and there were countless children there enjoying streets they wouldn't usually be able to ride on.  ITV and BBC news cameras rolled, whilst journalists scribbled from the sidelines.

London Cycling Campaign Chief Executive Ashok Sinha said, “We owe a debt of gratitude to the thousands who joined us today on our Space for Cycling Big Ride, helping to send a powerful message to London's politicians. Our city and borough leaders can be in no doubt as to the hunger there is from ordinary Londoners for streets that are safe and inviting for everyone to cycle."

As a direct result of the space4cycling campaign, all of the Councillors who will be elected in Hackney have pledged to implement the specific cycling demands in their area (which range from building quieter back routes right up to the removal of a gyratory system.)

In a very impressive show of support for cycling, every Green Party local Council candidate has signed up implement space4cycling pledges (840 candidates in 32 London boroughs) and the leader of the Green Party, Natalie Ben, joined the ride.

100% of Labour candidates in Croydon, Hackney, Hammersmith, Fulham, Lambeth and Sutton have signed up, 100% of Lib Dems in Hackney and Southwark, and 100% of Conservatives in Hackney, Bermondsey and Merton.  

Over 75,000 emails have been sent to prospective Councillors, putting the space4cycling agenda firmly in the centre of the battle for votes, with over a third of London's local election candidates agreeing to demands.

These people will be elected meaning there will be pre-election promises to be implemented; promises of slower speeds, safer cycling routes and space4cycling where you live.

Sadly only 0.2% of UKIP candidates have agreed to support the campaign, whilst none of the Christian Alliance Party's candidates have signed up at all.

But on Saturday little could dampen the spirits of the cyclists on the Big Ride.  The scores of children who came along showed who we are campaigning for, whilst a cyclist fatality in Elephant and Castle last week and a serious injury suffered by a cyclist in Shoreditch on Saturday morning itself showed why the message for a safer more liveable city is more important than ever.

It's not too late to add your voice of support: email your candidates here.

Did you enjoy the Big Ride?  The logistics cost the London Cycling Campaign - a charity - a lot of money.  If you had a good time and felt proud to be part of something making a difference on Saturday, please consider making a donation online here.  For the price of a cup of coffee you can help ensure events like this can happen again in the future.

More photos can be found on the London Cycling Campaign website here, as well as the BBC news report here and ITV's touching coverage of the recent death at Elephant and Castle here. Jason's Onion Bag blog has some great photos and snippets of speeches from all of the politicians who spoke at the Finish Line Rally here.  With space4cycling rides taking place across the UK, Bike Biz has the low down on protest rides elsewhere here.

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