London cycling: A mainstream policy

Cyclists in London
Image caption Cycling has now become a mainstream policy in London politics

I watched the recent Times hustings on cycling with great interest.

Four years ago, this was where we saw Boris Johnson - the cycling mayor - booed by cyclists and his look of surprise is one I will not forget.

All the other candidates at the time had signed up to the London Cycling Campaign's 'Go Dutch' campaign for segregated bike tracks.

Cyclists were angry at the perceived lack of progress under Mr Johnson and that the infrastructure introduced in the first four years, was little more than "blue paint on the road."

This was the moment mass segregated cycling infrastructure began in London.

Mr Johnson switched policy from the first sub-standard - by his own admission - cycle superhighways, to segregated lanes.

He also appointed a cycling commissioner to drive through these changes.

Image caption All of the five London mayoral candidates have committed to having a cycling commissioner

Roll on four years and we now see a number of these segregated superhighways opening.

There has been what's called a "bikelash" against the changes, but they are opening - one on Blackfriars Bridge being the latest.

What strikes me now is how investment in cycling infrastructure has become mainstream policy in London politics.

'Bikelash'

All of the candidates differ in the amount they intend to invest in infrastructure, but most have signed up to a trebling of the number of segregated cycle superhighways.

All of the five main candidates have also committed to having a cycling commissioner.

This means whoever is elected, the transformation of London's streets towards segregated bike lanes and being more pedestrian- and bike-friendly, will not stop.

So that will also mean the "bikelash" opposition is not going away, and there's no doubt the question of increasing congestion will have to be addressed.

Some have talked about car workplace charging and road charging to deal with it.

What is clear though is that four years after the last cycling hustings, all the main mayoral candidates agree encouraging cycling is beneficial.

Cycling is now a mainstream policy in London politics. That is quite a story.

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