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This Week in London Cycling (April 2. - 8.)

Each week, I round up the biggest news in the tumultuous world of London cycling. Everything from junction overhauls to whatever’s stopping cycle superhighways from being built this week. Enjoy!

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You’d never tell by the number of outraged cabbies on Twitter, but a recent survey says 70% of drivers are now entirely in favor of London’s cycle lanes.

Out of 1000 motorists surveyed by Servicing Stop, an online car servicing company, a third also claimed they swapped their car for a bike, which sounds brilliant, if - ahem - somewhat inconsistent with the growth of cycling in the capital.

More discouraging is that 22% of those surveyed still believe cycle lanes cause further congestion, a claim that’s been repeatedly disproven. I wonder where they got the idea?

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On Thursday night, Look Mum no hands! hosted Letting Ourselves Go, a fantastic panel showcasing older women who cycle and how cycling enhances their lives, careers, well-being, alongside discussing barriers to participation...

The panel included award-winning journalist and cyclist Adele Mitchell, fashion designer and MTB enthusiast Alex Feechan, founder of BellaVello (women-only cycle group from SW London) Belinda Scott and founder of Cycling UK's Women’s Festival of Cycling, Julie Rand.

The room was packed, and you can watch the whole panel on their Facebook page.

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Speaking of consequential cycling events, the Tower Hamlets Wheelers held their Cycling & Walking Mayoral Hustings this Thursday.

Attended by all 5 mayoral hopefuls, the event was a chance for the candidates to reaffirm their commitment to making the burrough a better place for cyclists and pedestrians. They were questioned on rat running, circumventing government funding cuts, the new bridge from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf and more.

All 5 candidates also signed up to the principles outlined in the Wheeler’s Cycling Manifesto, which codifies their 2018-22 vision for cycling in Tower Hamlets. All in all, a superb initiative by our local burrough!

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New Statesman asks: Why are there so few black and Asian cyclists in London?

While recent data is sparse, according to figures from 2011, ethnic minority groups make up only 7% of London’s cycling population. The author posits a couple of reasons why, including personal safety concerns and prevalent cycling stereotypes:

‘To most Britons, cyclists have a specific identity: they are environmentally friendly, left-wing, and vegetarian. They are also typically someone who cares about their health and for whom riding a bike is not a risk to their social status.’

At the risk of repeating myself - where on earth would they get that idea?

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A heartwarming story in the Guardian this week, where two Sustrans staff members talk about working with Queen Mary - a homeless women’s hostel - to help empower its residents through cycling:

‘We worked for the first time with women facing significant challenges. Many have low levels of fitness. All have survived challenging situations ranging from social isolation to dependence and abusive relationships.’

Great to hear that the pilot project recently received additional £10,000 from Cycling Grants London to continue the club for another 3 years.

It’s a great article, go read it.

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Last week, you couldn’t escape the news that London murder rate has now overtaken New York‘s, following a spike in violent crime.

And while some dispute the findings, BikeStormz, a group of young London cyclists took to the streets on Saturday in protest against London's knife violence. The event occurred just days after 18-year old Israel Ogunsola was stabbed to death while cycling to meet friends.

Around 4000 Londoners rode on BMXs from London Bridge to Oxford Street, in support of the #BikesUpKnivesDown campaign, pretty much bringing Central London to a standstill.

You can see a bunch of pictures and videos from the event here.

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Cycling advocates and solicitors groups are calling for MPs to remove vulnerable road users from planned personal injury legal reforms, including the recently published Civil Liability Bill.

The government plans to increase the limit of small claims from £1,000 to £5,000, in an attempt to crack down on bogus whiplash claims. As a result, all claims with an injury valued less at than £5,000 would have to go through the small claims court, meaning victims won’t be able to recover legal costs.

But as Cycling UK notes, in personal injury cases involving cyclists, it’s broken bones rather than whiplash that seems to be the norm:

‘With 70 percent of cyclists' claims being under £5,000, victims will be out of pocket once the legal wrangles with insurance companies are over, as they will have to foot the bill for their own legal costs.’

If you’d like to learn more and tell your MPs to exclude cyclists and pedestrians from the proposal, you can do so here.

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A ban on motor vehicles that was introduced at Bank junction last May has led to a big reduction in road injuries, as well as better air quality, reports the Evening Standard:

‘Between 2012-16 there were 107 casualties, including two fatalities. In the first six months of the scheme six crashes were recorded, all but one involving cyclists, with one pedestrian seriously hurt.’

The ban currently applies from 7am-7pm on weekdays and was initially set up in May of last year, following the death of a 26-year old cyclist Ying Tao. Drivers ignoring the ban are sent a £130 fine.

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In an eerily similar development, work started this week on the junction of Addiscombe Road and Cherry Orchard Road, in response to the tragic death of a cyclist.

As I mentioned last week, the major Croydon cycle route is due for a major overhaul, 3 and a half years after Roger de Klerk was hit by a bus after his bike slipped on tram lines.

The work is scheduled to take place from March 31 to April 15, and will include a number of significant changes to the route.

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On to some lighter news!

While you were daydreaming about cycling this week, Jayne Thompson from Wimbledon biked to (almost!) all London Underground stations, to raise awareness of depression and support the Mind mental health charity.

Having battled depression herself, she has only started cycling three years ago: “Cycling has been like therapy for me over the last few years.“

I’ll leave you with this from Jayne:

My final thought [...] is that adventure can be whatever you want it to be. I think at my furthest point I was still only 30 miles away from home. I was riding a bike that I bought from a crazy Italian that I used to work with for £20. I ate sandwiches, flapjacks and bagels and drank tea and water - not fancy energy drinks or electrolyte gels. I stayed with friends and people who are now no longer strangers. Adventure doesn't have to be expensive and you don't need expensive kit to do it, the most important thing is just getting out and give it a go.

*While her challenge’s been completed, you can still donate to Jayne’s cause if you’d like!

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That’s it! Did I miss anything else that happened in London cycling this week? Do let me know in the comments.

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