Decision Maker Response

Sadiq Khan’s response

Mar 26, 2019 — Dear Petitioner

Thank you for the petition submitted on the website about cycle lanes in London.

The Mayor’s Transport Strategy, published in March 2018 after an extensive public consultation, sets out his long-term approach to developing and managing London’s transport network.

The main aim is for 80 per cent of all journeys in London to be made on foot, by cycle or by public transport by 2041. Only by encouraging a shift away from the private car to these active, cleaner, and efficient modes can we address London’s transport challenges, including congestion and poor air quality. Initiatives that make it easier for people to switch from driving to cycling, including well-designed cycle lanes, are a crucial part of delivering this strategy.

We know that 75 per cent of congestion on London’s roads is caused simply by there being too great a demand for limited street space. By encouraging more people to walk, cycle and use public transport for their journeys, we can ensure that London’s roads will be more reliable for freight, servicing and other essential journeys made by vehicles.

When considering the impact of cycle lanes, traffic must be considered in the context of all people using the road, not just those using private cars. Sustainable forms of transport such as cycling and buses make much more efficient use of our limited road space, and by prioritising these we are able to make our roads operate more efficiently.

For instance, since their opening, the East-West and North-South Cycle Superhighway corridors are already moving 5 per cent more people per hour than they did without cycle lanes. Our monitoring also shows that, in most cases, any delays to motorised traffic experienced during the construction of Cycle Superhighways have declined following the completion of construction, showing that segregated cycle infrastructure does not necessarily cause delays to motorised traffic.

However, the Mayor appreciates that disruption caused during construction can be frustrating and lessons are being – and have been – learnt from the delivery of schemes. Transport for London (TfL) has pioneered techniques that are less disruptive to all road users, including more night construction, and working with boroughs and other partners to develop a joined-up approach to roadworks. For example, the construction of Phase 2 of the North-South Cycle Superhighway in December 2017 saw a potential two-week construction period reduced to two-days, due to TfL proactively coordinating and working with a number of third parties.

Road traffic is often the greatest contributor to poor air quality in places where people live and work: road transport is the source of around 50 per cent of NOX, PM10 and PM2.5 emissions in London. Schemes that make it easier for people to cycle, including cycle lanes, are a vital part of encouraging a shift to non-polluting modes of transport. It is very difficult to link changes in air quality at a particular location to specific schemes such as segregated cycle facilities, because of the number of contributory factors to air quality.

With regard to the financial contribution for using the roads made by people cycling, it is important to be clear that the maintenance of roads in the UK is currently funded through general taxation. Therefore, most people who cycle already contribute to the cost of maintaining roads. Although from 2020/21 onwards the Government intends to support road maintenance through funding from Vehicle Excise Duty, this tax will continue to be levied on individual vehicles, with zero emission vehicles continuing to be exempt. As cycles produce no emissions, they would be exempt from paying the duty were it applied to them.

The Mayor’s investment in cycle lanes has been effective in growing cycling, for instance following the construction of cycle lanes on Lower Thames Street, we have recorded a 200 per cent increase in people counted cycling there in 2017 when compared to 2014. London’s growing cycle network has become an important part of the capital’s overall transport network and many Londoners rely on cycle routes to get around the city. They are a fundamental part of the Mayor’s overall long-term strategy for transport in London and the Mayor will continue to bring forward proposals for well-designed and well-planned cycle lanes.

Yours sincerely

Public Liaison Unit
Greater London Authority