Wednesday, 25 November 2015

London Travel Watch do not represent cyclists!

London Travel Watch claims to be 'The voice of London's transport users' with a staff of 20 and one million pounds each year from the London Assembly [1]. They claim to speak for cyclists & pedestrians and identify cycling as the 4th most significant transport mode [2].

How are London Travel Watch representing cyclists?


London Travel Watch are actively involved in trying to influence London's transport policies and also respond to consultations. They are well resourced and also claim the mandate of representing everyone who travels - including people on bikes. However many of their policies are at odd with both major cycling organisations and also grass roots groups.

In their Cycle-Superhighway policy document [3], London Travel Watch insist the best thing is for cyclists of all ages and abilities to be mixed in with other traffic and "share the road" (the opposite of providing safe and protected space dedicated for cycling). London Travel Watch are promoting a policy which is known to fail, in fact it's the policy which has meant many felt excluded from cycling and led to the massive decline in cycling in London and the rest of the UK

London Travel Watch acknowledge the desire for more and safer ‘cycling facilities’, but claim there no settled consensus on what they might be (despite the huge success of the LCC's Love London Go Dutch campaign). They oppose protected space for cycling:
Devices to separate cyclists from motor vehicles will add to the difficulties of pedestrians, particularly the mobility and visually impaired and it will lead to a less attractive, and less well used, public realm.

Further to that they propose that a better solution is wider traffic lanes with no cycle infrastructure at all [4]:
We have promoted the use of wide (4.5m) bus lanes and wide (4.5m) inside lanes as the best way of ensuring the safety of cyclists and improving the operation of bus services along links between road junctions.
Finally, when setting  priorities for the current mayoral term, their only reference to cycling was to complain about the cyclists who jump red lights - ignoring cycle superhighways completely [5].

What do people on bikes (and people who want to ride) really think?


The supporters of this petition come from a wide range of backgrounds and each year we've run a survey to identify the most pressing issues to campaign on. The 2015 Survey had almost a thousand responses and over 65% wanted us to demand every council has a programme to build protected cycle facilities at junctions and along main roads.

In addition we had many comments in support protected cycle lanes:
The main focus of the campaign should continue to be on the construction of the cycle super highways and the demand for more separate and protected cycle routes running off the super highways.
At the moment the focus is having a nice ride at the weekend with family, often involving getting on and off the bike, going through parks which are closed after dark, spitting you out unexpectedly into busy roads and traffic and taking long detours, making commuting a mission which puts people off. That simply reduces cycling to a hobby rather than what it is in the city - an extremely effective mode of transport. We need better routes that are direct and navigable as well as being separated from traffic and pedestrians.
I have cycled in London for over twenty years - now I just take the back streets and try not to stress out - I ignore the painted highways and allow longer to get everywhere as its so dangerous on the main roads

London Travel Watch need to stop falsely claiming to represent cyclists.


It is clear that London Travel Watch are not a voice for cyclists (nor those who want to cycle but find the roads intimidating). However they still claim their organisation represents all transport users including cyclists. I feel this use of public money, to misrepresent cyclists, is totally unacceptable and puts cycling at an unfair disadvantage.

This organisation is concerned with championing bus and rail travel and should have cycling (and any associated funding) striped from it's remit. If the GLA want this type of organisation to represent bus and train users that's fine, but it shouldn't claim to represent people it doesn't speak for.

References


[1] http://www.londontravelwatch.org.uk/documents/get_lob?id=4020&field=file
[2] http://www.londontravelwatch.org.uk/documents/get_lob?id=4017&field=file
[3] http://www.londontravelwatch.org.uk/documents/get_lob?id=3671&field=file

[4] http://www.londontravelwatch.org.uk/documents/get_lob?id=3878&age&field=file
[5] http://www.londontravelwatch.org.uk/documents/get_lob?id=3479&age=&field=file