Cycling must be made more attractive to a BME audience, according to the capital’s first walking and cycling commissioner.
Will Norman has voiced concerns over the lack of diversity among cyclists, arguing that many schemes which are encouraging people to take up the hobby are being perceived as a way to get “middle-aged men cycling faster around the city”.
Mr Norman, whose job it is to deliver on London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s pledge to make walking and cycling safer in the capital, said he was now considering setting diversity targets for London’s cycling population to ensure a greater level of diversity.
Speaking to The Independent Mr Norman said: “There is a problem with cycling and the way it is perceived of getting middle-aged men cycling faster around the city, which is not the objective at all.
So far the mayor’s office has unveiled a number of projects it says will begin to address a lack of diversity. These include cycle training courses, grants for community groups who do not typically cycle and promoting electric bikes and expanding existing cycle routes.
Mr Norman explained that despite growing numbers of cyclists, increased diversity had not been seen, adding: “Even when we have seen the growth in the number of cyclists, we haven’t seen that diversity.
The number of cyclists in London has continued to rise and now accounts for 2 percent of all journeys, however the city falls well short of others on the continent, with cycling accounting for 3 percent of travel in Paris and 13 percent in Berlin.
Despite efforts to make cycling safer in the capital, the mayor was recently criticised after the latest death of a cyclist who was hit by a lorry on a busy roundabout in Greenwich, southeast London.
The London Cycling Campaign have since called on Mr Khan and Mr Norman to “hurry up” fixing the most dangerous cycling routes.
Mr Norman responded saying: “As outlined in our Strategic Cycle Analysis we have ambitions to make this route safer for cyclists.
“We’ll continue to work with the council – who are responsible for the road – to make this a reality.”
So far Mr Khan has promised an average of £169m annually for cycling schemes over the next five years. That compares with an average yearly spend of £91m promised during the previous Conservative mayoralty.
Discussing the efforts being made to encourage more people to cycle, Duncan Dollimore, road safety and legal campaigns officer at Cycling UK, backed the move, saying authorities should be “focusing on the barriers that deter people from cycling rather than existing cyclists”.
Source: The Telegraph