08 October 2015

London: Life In The Bike Lane

Cities in the Western world have seen phenomenal increases in the number of cyclists on their streets during the past few years.  One of the cities in which the increase has been most noted is London.  According to one study, during the peak morning hours (7-10 pm), on some streets, as much as 64 percent of the traffic consists of bicycles.

In other words, at such times on those streets, there are almost two bicycles for every motorized vehicle or pedestrian!

The study also reveals--perhaps not surprisingly--a dramatic increase in the number of accidents, injuries and deaths among cyclists   Most interestingly, it notes that most accidents and casualties occur during daylight hours.

But it also shows increase spending on cycling infrastructure (which include plans for a bicycle "Skyway")--which, with greater public awareness, could reduce, or at least slow the increase in, the numbers.

Perhaps the most thought-provoking statistic of all, though, is this:  If just fourteen percent of all trips in Central London were on bicycles, emissions of nitrogen oxides--the most prominent vehicle pollutant--would fall by nearly a third.  

That is to say, when people ride bikes rather than drive in the central city, it has double the effect in reducing at least one major type of pollution:  no small matter in a city noted for its congestion and fog.

From Fiona Outdoors


  1. Better understanding the crashes would be a good step. From what I hear from the UK, I suspect their understanding isn't much better than in the US while being equally confounded by superstition and unfounded notions.

  2. Steve--It seems that everywhere I look, policy-makers think their cities are the most "bike friendly" because they have more miles or kilometers of bike lanes than the others. There's still this notion that we're only safe if we're segregated.

    It reminds me of what's happened in the "alternative" health movements. I agree with one of its basic premises: The profit-driven medical/pharmalogical complex drives too many decisions about health care, especially in countries like the US. I would also agree, that GMO foods probably aren't good, as are any foods that are highly processed. But too many in the alternative-care movements proceed on junk science or no science, or even common sense, at all.