With 48 hours to go, your voice counts! If you do one thing for cycling this weekend, do this...

You need to send an email to consultations@tfl.gov.uk by Sunday night saying why you want London's new Cycle Superhighways to be built. Doing so is really important and a chance for you to actually make a difference to London.  Read on to find out why...

It's been a fast and furious few weeks in the cycle campaigning world, with lots of behind the scenes activity and meetings trying to get as many people as possible to signal their support for the Mayor of London's hugely ambitious "Crossrail for Bikes" cycling plans.

As most of you know, there's been some very cloak and dagger lobbying by some business interests who are desperately trying to kick the plans in to the long grass.  With a Mayoral election coming up, delaying these plans means they risk not being built at all.  And now there's just 48 hours for you to contribute and make a difference...

Space4cycling protestors travel down the Embankment, the route of the proposed the east / west cycle superhighway.

These Cycle Superhighway plans are from being won.  There's bad news to come with Westminster Council proposing all sorts of mad ideas like painting bike lanes down the middle of the Mall as some sort of Cycle Superhighway alternative.  In short, they'll do anything to avoid having to address the sinful cesspit of shame that is the current state of Parliament Square, where the route is currently planned to go.  Later today (Friday) the CBI will submit their response to the consultation.  I've seen a draft and I'd be charitable if I were to say that it is hopelessly outdated in its approach to how cities really work.

Westminster's bonkers plans to send cyclists down the middle of the Mall with fast moving traffic either side of a painted strip. 

Of course, this late flurry of negative attention is not a mere coincidence.  With 14 cyclists killed on London's roads in 2013, six in a two-week period this time last year, no-one wants to be seen to be publicly saying they *don't* want to see improvements (real improvements) for people on bikes.  So in a classic lobbying tactic these last minute submissions are coming in right on the line in the hope that everyone will go home for the weekend and not notice the "against" voices quietly doing their thing.

It sounds so sinister, doesn't it?  Like some kind of crazy conspiracy theory.  I'm fully aware of this, but this is the score with lobbying in London it would seem...

Luckily, the wider business community in London is much more enlightened.  CyclingWorks.London have been collating positive responses from organisations to the Cycle Superhighway plans and they've been inundated - almost overwhelmed - with businesses saying "Yes" and "Build it, Boris" to these plans.  This week alone the University of Central London, the English National Opera, the Civil Aviation Authority, the City of London Police, Universal Records and many others have piled in with their support, joining Microsoft, Unilever, Deloitte, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Olswang LLP, Herbert Smith and many, many others. 

Just some of the very long list of business names who support the Mayor's Crossrail for Bikes.

The devisions between those "for" and those "against" led Evening Standard journalist Ross Lydall to go so far as to say there was only a "50/50 chance" of the Cycle Superhighways ever being built.

And with the consultation plans closing on Sunday, now it is your turn to get involved.  If you can find twenty minutes to add your voice as a London cyclist, then you'll have strengthened the chances of these ambitious bike tracks being built and the Mayor delivering on his "Go Dutch" election promises.

You can go through the step-by-step consultation on the Transport for London website, which you can find here.

Alternatively, you can send an email to consultations@tfl.gov.uk with the subject matter "East West and North South Cycle Superhighway consultation" with you own comments.

Perhaps you want to explain how you'd like to bring your kids in to town by bikes safely?  Or maybe you are particularly excited about a certain section of the route and the wider calming impacts it will have, like at Parliament Square?
Maybe you work on or near the route and this will make your commute to work a safe and inviting option all year round?

Perhaps you have other reasons you'd like to see these routes built; maybe you voted for the Mayor on the back of his "Go Dutch" promise?

Maybe you'd like to send a note supporting the broader concept, or perhaps you love a particular part of the scheme like a certain road closure or safe space for cycling where currently there is none.  You can make critical suggestions for improvements too, of course (I've asked TfL to ensure they use angled curb stones to make sure cyclists can use the full width of the lanes.)

The point is, the agenda is set by those who show up and now more than ever before we need the real voice of Londoners to be reflected in this consultation.

So please, take the time to pen a note to Transport for London this weekend and help to make the city where we live a better place for everyone.

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around Britain no plane said...

This is what i sent. Thanks for the reminder.
Please build a safe cycle highway e-w and n-s across London.

I cycle from islington to elephant & castle and back 3 times a week. I go past places I know cyclists have died (holloway road, top of amwell road/pentonville road). I go past ghost bikes (ludgate circus). I go past places i've been knocked off my bike (farringdon road) and yet I still LOVE cycling. I'd love it even more if it felt safer and I could bring along my teenage daughters and less confident cycling husband when we went out.

If we want a less polluted, less noisy London the cycle superhighway will be a great approach. And of course it'll mean how many people living now won't be seriously injured or crushed to death if it's not built?Let them be luckier.

ibikelondon said...

Awesome note, thank you very much for sharing that Nicola!

congokid said...

I signed up, but emails to my bosses (a Chancery Lane area company) asking if they would add their voice to those of other City businesses, including a draft response for them to adapt and send to TfL, failed to elicit a single flicker of interest.

ibikelondon said...

@Congokid That's a shame. We can't win them all I suppose. But thank you for adding your own voice, people count just as much as business in this equation!

ibikelondon said...

It's not just TfL - that particular bit of road is managed by Camden, I think, who have built some very big kerbs over the years!

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