As cyclists die in London, Boris slashes funding for cycle paths

From London Cycling Campaign’s website:

“Cycle route funding for London boroughs has been slashed in half undermining the mayor’s plans to more than treble cycling levels in the capital.

The London Cycling Campaign, representing the interests of thousands of cyclists, says hundreds of planned cycle safety improvements to junctions and local streets are now under threat.

LCC is calling on the Mayor to reverse the cuts and consult with cycling groups on completing the 500-mile London Cycle Network+ across London.

“Slashing the funding for cycle routes means they’ll be left unfinished, undermining the mayor’s flagship programmes such as the mass cycle-hire scheme because people won’t feel safe on the roads,” said Koy Thomson, LCC’s chief executive.

The cut in cycle scheme funding comes despite the largest ever transport settlement with the boroughs of more than £168 million pounds.

This news comes at a time when Sustrans, in their November 2008 press release on the European Cycling Federation, say, that there’s beneficial health benefits from cycling:-

“Walking and cycling have the potential to tackle the worst effects of the UK’s growing health gap that leaves the poorest people suffering from more illnesses and dying younger.

Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson has written an introduction to an evidence review by the UK’s leading sustainable transport charity, Sustrans, and said transport infrastructure can encourage people to combine physical activity with their everyday journeys. Active travel and health inequalities draws together a variety of research, which consistently shows that people from deprived areas have worse health.

From 2004 to 2006, heart disease deaths in England’s most deprived areas were 71% higher than in the wealthiest communities. Men and women living in the most deprived areas of Scotland have a life expectancy ten years lower than the average. And the poorest Welsh communities have obesity levels one and a half times greater than affluent areas.

Sir Liam said: “Some of the most disadvantaged groups in society are also the most sedentary, and the incidence of obesity, diabetes, cancer, coronary heart disease and mental health problems is higher among people in these groups.
“Active travel – walking and cycling – is an accessible and cost-effective way of incorporating physical activity into everyday lives, such as during the journey to work, shops, visiting family and friends, or the school run. Active travel can play an important role in helping individuals to achieve the recommended levels of physical activity.
“Making walking and cycling accessible by improving local infrastructure has the potential to enable those in disadvantaged communities to lead healthier lifestyles and reduce health inequalities.”

Traffic, noise, crime, litter, lighting and quality of public transport are believed to discourage people from poorer communities, especially the elderly, from staying physically active. In contrast, living in areas with walkable green spaces helps urban-dwelling pensioners to live longer.”

I think the Mayor is ‘out of touch’ with reality. When has he been to a hospital to see people with heart problems?


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