City Cycling Forum

City Cyclists lobbied for the City to set up a cycling forum and was pleased when this was eventually included in the City's Cycling Plan in March 2005. After some further delays the inaugural meeting was held in February 2006. Due to its success the City decided to hold the forum twice per year as we had originally requested rather than just once.

The second forum was held in September 2006 with a presentation from the City of London Police. The next forum will be held in spring 2007: click click here for invite and also some minutes from the first two meetings.

photo of forum in City art gallery

One attendee wrote the following interesting report:

I'm really glad I dragged me and this lousy cold out last night. About 60 people were at the City of London's first cycling forum.

Beautiful meeting room at the back of the Guildhall Art Gallery. Nearest bike racks outside the library 100 metres away, pictured in link below. Very mixed audience. Several bike police/ambulance staff. 6 Southwark Cyclists. Another 20 or so other obvious cyclists. A lot of Corporation staff and say 6? politicians.

Chaired by Member Mark Boleat."The City is good at refreshments". Three months in the job Policy Officer Simon Phillips presentation went through the March 2005 Cycling Plan. City has 8,000 residents, 330,000 daily commuters, plus 20,000 students and 8,000 tourists. Cycling now makes up 9% of City journeys, 89% up 1999-2005. (I queried that slide later....it showed that 28% of City traffic was private cars, 26% taxis and 4% buses/coaches. Simon agreed it was misleading to count only the vehicles rather than the people in them). Simon sees his role as to maximise the role of cycling in the City, to provide safe infrastructure, and to integrate cycling into all Corporation policies. He introduced Richard Joslin, Technical Officer, whose job is cycling infrastructure. Simon's presentation was generally very optimistic about the future of cycling in the City but was also clear that the upward trend of road casualties in the City was very worrying. (My notes didn't catch the figures).

Then mostly good questions from the audience about bikes on trains, bike parks, bendy buses, the theft hotspot that is Liverpool Street station, the Queen Street crossing needs time to settle in....One local ratepayer objected to his money going on cycling to be firmly told that it doesn't....the car-parking surplus, planning gain and Transport for London pays. Amazing statement by one of the politicians that "the Corporation is too small a body to provide station bike parking". Quite how the centre of the world's money markets can say that...I tried to make points about the new bike park at London Bridge, new City blocks coming on stream with hundreds of bike spaces so improvements to City cycling needed to ensure they're used, bad road safety numbers in City contrast to improving figures in surrounding boroughs....City needed to concentrate on that...

photo of forum in City art gallery

Then guest speaker Phillip Darnton Chair of Cycling for England. Motto: More people cycling, more safely, more often. Leverage, impact, focus. 1% of UK trips by bike. All of us cycling adults learnt to ride bikes at school. Few kids now do. Cycling will die out unless things change fast. Copenhagen. 33% of journeys by bike. They've spent about £5 per head of 1.7m population of cycle infrastructure a year for 20 years. (ed: that's £170m. The London equivalent, pop 7.5m would be ?750m. Sustrans £190m for 2012 routes). Wait for the infrastructure and you'll wait forever though. Cyclists need to get their act together..they've more opinions that taxi drivers. If it's not across the Atacama desert it's not a bike ride. Beware the enemy within. It's about getting new people onto bikes. 6 cycle-pilot towns: Lancaster, Exeter, Aylesbury, Derby, Darlington, Brighton. 20% of 10 year-olds in Scotland are obese. Cycling England's focus on congestion, health, CO2 emissions. All those topical buttons. Vision of cultural change. Mutual respect on the streets that belong to us all. Mobility is not just about motor vehicles. Speeding is not cool, not ok. The only cyclists people notice are those who jump red lights, and spoil the cause. Cyclists need to be ambassadors. Witty after-dinner stuff that left me amused but no clearer on what Cycling England actually do. (I wish I'd noted the Nietzsche quote).

Then the wine and nibbles walked round by starched waiters from another era. Followed by a nice guided tour to the Roman amphitheatre in the basement. Nice drama moment as the security guard turned the key and the metal shutter rose. Bread and cyclists.

So.....fine bit of PR by the Corporation that I'm glad didn't get bogged down in tecky detail but that should be repeated more than the annually suggested by the Chair, but all also oddly superficial too. I came away craving that detail. Good start though that needs encouraging.

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