04 April 2009
New cyclists spring out (if they can find their bikes)
According to Transport for London, cycling levels here have increased by 91 per cent since 2000. That's pretty much how it feels: at rush hour on Waterloo Bridge, cyclists well outnumber private car drivers. (Though, obviously, we can't compete in terms of noise or space occupied.)
TfL aim to quintuple cycle trips in London by 2025, compared to the 2000 levels. Ambitious, but not that ambitious: that fivefolding would mean five per cent of trips were being made by bike, which isn't great. (Cambridge is currently about 28 per cent. In some towns in the Netherlands and Germany, such as Groningen or Münster, the figure is 50 per cent or more.) And the good news is that it certainly feels to me, out on the roads, that the cycling levels continue to increase steadily.
Pleasingly, a lot of this extra new intake packing the ASLs are real cyclists. Young women to old men in everyday clothes and shoes; unpretentious A-to-B bikes; even baskets with a small dog. I like this.
So I hope a lot of people with bikes lying around unridden for ages, like the one at the top I spotted in Wandsworth, dust them off and get out to enjoy the fresh air.
Otherwise they might end up like the one on the right. I snapped it in the Netherlands, and it's presumably some sort of witty installation. And not the result of someone waiting for the lights to change on the Elephant and Castle bike bypass in damp weather.