Soft-soaping Boris wants bike trade cash, not ideas

On January 15th, Transport for London invited members of the UK bike industry to what it billed as the first Cycling Revolution Forum. What, no London Cycling Campaign bods?

A couple of days after the event, Cait of the Moolies blog wrote on iBikeLondon.Blogspot.com that the event wasn’t a real meeting of minds, it was a chance to butter up the bike trade in order to flog them stuff.

“Politicians tend to do this. They’ll invite the manufacturers and (in classic US terms) the lobbyists with the money in order that they can massage their egos enough to tap them for a bit of sponsorship money later.

“If they were to invite the LCC, then unfortunately real solutions costing tax payer money would be voiced and on the table. Then they’d have to publicly and visibly ignore those proposals, which had been aired in a London Assembly sponsored event. Oh dear. Better to ignore them altogether.”

Cait was bang on the money. In an email to attendees sent earlier this evening, Chris Mather of Transport for London’s SmarterTravel team issued what he said were the findings from the meeting, but closed with a giveaway statement:

“Finally, there are immediate opportunities to partner with TfL to support programmes within the Mayor’s Cycling Revolution. We are in the process of sharing these opportunities with you so if you haven’t had a call and a presentation sent to you detailing these opportunities, then expect one in the next few days.”

So there you have it: being soft-soaped by biking Boris is just the warm-up to a sales pitch. Neat.

Of course, the meeting with the bike trade came up with some good ideas – listed below – but will they be actioned?

Safety

1 Enhanced enforcement of cycle & superhighway lanes (making sure they’re car free)

2 Encouraging respect between the different types of road user

3 Aggressive cyclist behaviour. New York parks were cited as an example of where signs have been used to clearly warn cyclists they will be penalised for cycling aggressively

4 New laws to give cyclists priority over motor vehicles in appropriate situations

5 Maintaining infrastructure, (including repairing pot holes and removing broken glass)

6 Assess drivers’ behaviour towards cyclists in the driving test

7 Create a cycling manual to help educate cyclists on how to ride safely and respectfully

8 Target 15-25 year olds with education and training to improve knowledge of next generation

9 Led rides and buddy schemes to increase confidence and competence on the road. Noted confidence can be a gradual process often requiring 3-4 assisted rides

10 Peer-to-peer advocacy within workplaces to encourage people to have a go at cycling and communicate safety messages

11 Retailers could play a role at the point of sale in encouraging new cyclists to take up products and services to help improve safety

12 Cycle training is key. More information on this should be made available to retailers to give to their customers. Web links were requested to direct customers to find out more

There was also a request for the provision of cycle training to be simplified so that the process for potential customers more straight forward. (There are a currently a number of service providers and provision varies across London).

13 Twenty mile per hour speed limits to help to change the culture for all road users in residential areas and reduce accidents

14 Regular cycle maintenance will reduce accidents

15 Redress the ‘danger everywhere’ perception among many non cyclists

16 One cohesive voice to represent the cycling industry, the Mayor and TfL.

Security

1 A centralised database for recording bike serial numbers at point of sale, to improve recovery rates for stolen bikes, and make it more difficult for thieves to sell them on

(There are currently several privately owned competing databases and it would be beneficial to establish one standard central database)

2 Chipping or data tagging to deter thieves, currently it’s often too easy to remove the micro-chips from stolen bikes. One suggestion offered was printing barcodes on the frame of a bike (beneath the lacquer) so that they can’t be removed without damaging the paintwork

3 Online stores such as e-bay were a significant marketplace for stolen bikes. Brompton, in particular, were aware a large percentage of bikes stolen would be sold on via e-bay

It was suggested more could be done by these online market places to combat bike theft and pressure should be put on them to do so. For example, e-bay could be required to list the serial numbers of the bikes being sold on their site

4 GPS tracking systems – are they an affordable solution for the industry

5 Creating a pen or fence with additional lighting and CCTV would help reduce theft of cycles

Cycle Hire and Cycle Superhighways

1 Retailers display information from TfL within their stores and provide information to customers. Web links could also be set up on retailer websites to point people to further information on the TfL website

2 Improving the reach and effectiveness of home origin travel planning to influence peoples’ travel choices in residential areas in outer London

3 Pressure developers to consider the needs of cyclists and plan accordingly

4 Partner with supermarkets to encourage online shopping reducing the need to travel

5 Address the practicality of bringing bikes into central London with the rail providers

6 Outer London has relatively few cyclists compared to inner London. Educate outer London residents on the benefits of cycling

7 Public housing needs to be addressed to improve facilities for cyclists