Published on February 26th, 2016 | by Kyle Park Points


Bicycling Triples In London While Driving Halves

February 26th, 2016 by  

Originally published on Bikocity.

The streets of London have seen an increase in bike riders and a decrease in car commuters. According to an article published by the BBC, the number of cyclists during rush hour will outnumber cars within the new few years.

Photo by David Skinner (some rights reserved)

Photo by David Skinner (some rights reserved)

According to Transport for London, over the last decade and a half car drivers have decreased by almost 50% – from 137,000 in 2000 to 64,000 in 2014 – while the number of cyclists has tripled from 12,000 to 36,000. The authority touts the statistics as “a feat unprecedented in any major city.”

However, the blog points out that London lags behind other major European cities when it comes to encouraging bike travel. For example, Madrid, Spain, has gone as far as to place restrictions on what types of vehicles are allowed to enter the city center. Oslo (Norway), Paris (France), and Dublin (Ireland) will all have similar designated areas within the next few years.

The city is now concentrating effort on making the streets safer for cyclists. In 2012, 14 cyclists died on the streets of London with over 600 severely injured. Then, in 2013 six cyclists were hit and killed within a short span of three days. This began a paradigm shift for the city in regards to cyclist safety.


source: Transportation for London

While proponents had been campaigning for segregated bike lanes for years, in late 2013, things slowly began to change. Mayor Boris Johnson has helped to introduce cycle “superhighways,” though critics have been quick to note that they fail to provide a physical barrier between motorist and cyclist. Recently, the city added a segregated bike lane across Vauxhall Bridge with other similar lanes to open over the summer.

Other changes include lower traffic lights for cyclists, early release for cyclists at traffic stops, and a two-stage right-turn system.

Detractors are claiming the lane construction is ‘politically motivated’ and adding to the city’s congestion.

A great interactive video on the subject can be viewed here.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

is a working father in New York City by way of Sarasota, Florida. He is a public transportation enthusiast, clean air advocate, lifetime recycler and frequent panderer. He also reluctantly tended to his family's compost heap for many formative years. He hopes to one day leave his daughter with a safer, healthier environment than when she was born; which shouldn't be hard since she was born in Queens, New York.

  • heinbloed


    Finland’s post service reports healthier work conditions since switching to electric bikes:

  • ROBwithaB

    Now they just need to transition to electric buses and taxis.
    I’ve cycled in central London, and it sucks because of all the diesel fumes.
    (Off to read the article about the EV black cabs now. And possibly to go buy some Geely stock.)

  • Freddy D


    I can hardly describe my delight about 2 years ago when we descended into Manhattan with no bike expectations and experienced the speed and fun and flexibility of the protected cycle tracks running the length of Manhattan along with the great bike share. It really works!

  • JamesWimberley

    The London congestion charge was introduced by Red Ken Livingstone, a maverick ex-Trotskyite and opponent of Tony Blair’s New Labour, and in his spare time a breeder of rare frogs. But it was kept and expanded by the equally cynical and witty maverick Tory Boris Johnson, who added the cycle lanes. Johnson is very ambitious. He does this because it pays electorally.

    I don’t know why, in the usually pallid landscape of British politics, London elects flamboyant, womanising eccentrics who would have been at ease carousing with the demagogue John Wilkes in the 18th century. But you can’t deny they are able politicians, and they both detected – and rode – a swing in public opinion well before others. The Green Mayor is here to stay.

    • peter bessey

      Actually, his (Ken L’s) interest is with newts rather than frogs, I believe. Also I recall that it was Ken L who actually expanded his original Congestion Charge area to a new Western Zone, but it was Boris J who campaigned for and then carried out a reduction of the area, by cancelling that Western Zone, after his election to Mayor.

  • egriff5514

    Do bear in mind London also has a congestion charge, excellent public transport soon to be improved by the ‘Elizabeth Line’ (Crossrail) and a complete absence of affordable parking. That is, they aren’t all leaving their cars to take up cycling.
    Also note that London cyclists are not the sedate enviro conscious riders you find in other cities – each is competing in his own personal Tour de France…

    • Zorba

      To be fair, there is a difference between the average person pottering around on a Boris bike and the lycra-clad pelotons though.

  • LikeAPossum

    Great news. 14 years is not exactly a decade though.

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