Monday, 26 September 2016

Clear potential for children to cycle independently in London

Lambeth Cyclists is enormously encouraged by results from a survey we did on car-free day.  

30 out of 34 adults said they would let a pair of eleven year olds cycle, without an adult, to meet relatives or close family friends at the Tower of London, from Cornwall Road in Waterloo. It is clear that there is a willingness by adults to engage with the idea of children travelling independently by bike in inner London.

Safe space for cycling vital
 
Our survey also showed the importance of space for cycling away from traffic.The Tower of London is reached almost entirely by the segregated north-south and east-west cycle superhighways from Cornwall Road, itself on Quietway 1. 

The second favourite was Westminster Boating Base in Pimlico, which 24 out of 34 adults said their eleven year olds could cycle to (using London Cycle Network 3 via partially segregated Baylis Road to Hercules Roads and quiet backstreets to Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, joining segregated Cycle Superhighway 5 across Vauxhall Bridge, then the wide cycle track of Cycle Superhighway 8 along the Thames).



As soon as less clear routes with the chance of more traffic came in the numbers fell away sharply. Just 3 out of 34 would definitely let the two eleven year olds cycle to meet family at Brixton markets or John Lewis on Oxford Street (with four putting half stars indicating 'maybe' to Brixton) - the lack of a straightforward route with very low levels of traffic or segregated tracks on main roads was a significant obstacle - even though we told the adults to assume they had cycled the route previously with the children.


The lack of segregated space for cycling on Waterloo and Westminster Bridges was an issue for many adults: despite most of the journey to Hyde Park being off road or on segregated tracks across Parliament Square, only 8 adults would definitely let the children cycle the direct route to it and two said 'maybe'. Similarly The British Museum across unsegregated Waterloo Bridge and fairly busy 'back' streets was considered doable by 7, with 4 'maybes'.

Finally, and firmly in the middle, was Millwall football club, following the sign-posted Quietway 1 on quiet back streets, with 12 definites, and three maybes. 




Lambeth Council has a cycling strategy, adopted by its cabinet, to make it the most cycle friendly borough. The borough's councillors want Lambeth to take a leap forward, to become a place where cycling is normal for everyone: young, old, women, men, rich and poor. There's still a way to go in the borough. The segregated space on main roads that the east-west and north-south superhighways enjoy shows the most promising way for Lambeth to achieve its ambition.