Concern for London cyclists as Olympics approach

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By Selina Ditta

Londoners are being encouraged to ditch the underground and take to bike lanes during the Olympics, causing further concern as to whether London’s roads are adequate for cyclists.

According to the London Cycling Campaign approximately one million cycling journeys are made each week.

During The Games, London can expect an extra three million journeys each day as 11 million spectators pour into the city.

Luke Evans, from Lambeth Cyclists who are part of the London Cycling Campaign, said: “Central London is compact and easy to navigate by bike. We would like to see as many spectators as possible going to the Olympics by bike.”

With around 1,000 members, Lambeth Cyclists work with Lambeth Council and Transport for London to make the borough's roads safer and encourage more people to cycle.

Andreas Kambanis, whose London Cyclist Blog attracts 80,000 visitors is worried about cyclists’ safety during the Olympics.

“Many of the bus lanes will be closed to cyclists to allow for officials, sponsors and athletes to move through the city,” he said.

“Already I've been hearing reports of an accident involving a cyclist who normally would take a safe cycle route through the Mall which has now been closed off.”

Mr Kambanis added: “I fear that safer routes through the capital will be restricted for cyclists and we'll have to merge with the rest of the traffic.”

Mr Evans, of Lambeth, is optimistic though about cycling during the Games.

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“I don’t think that cyclists will be unduly affected by any increases in traffic on the Olympic Road Network and if there is major congestion there are usually alternative routes available for cyclists,” Mr Evans said.

“I think it will be no harder for people to park their bikes during the games as long as they avoid the restricted area. We hope that the cycle parking stands won’t be unnecessarily put out of use due to security concerns.”

Mr Evans encourages all cyclists to get hold of the free Transport for London cycling guides which were developed with the London Cycling Campaign so they can see alternative routes.

Mr Kambanis has tips for getting around the Olympics by bike on his blog such as using the Cycle to Work Scheme to get a bike and accessories through salary deductions which he said is the easiest way to acquire a bike.

He also advises to buy at least two bike locks with one of them being a heavy Kryptonite Gold standard lock.

“Always lock your bike through the frame and the wheels. That should be enough to discourage most thieves,” he said.

Mr Kambanis added: “Maybe the situation of Olympic lanes will get so bad more people will finally decide to take to cycling!”

The Transport for London cycling guides are available to order for free on the TfL website:  www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling/11682.aspx

 

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