[from This is London]
Drive to increase London’s cycle lanes for 2012 Games
Alex Stephens, Evening Standard
Cycle paths across London are to receive investment totalling millions of pounds in the run-up to London Olympics in an attempt to encourage spectators to travel to the Games by bike.
Organisers today revealed plans to upgrade existing lanes and build new ones to create a network of safe cycling routes to the Olympic Park and village in Stratford.
To ensure all ages and abilities can cycle in safety, the plans include a scheme for timetabled rides from different points around London to “lead” cyclists in convoy to 2012 venues.
The scheme follows the Evening Standard’s Safer Cycling campaign, which was launched a year ago to improve conditions for the capital’s cyclists, more than 34,000 of whom were involved in road accidents between 1996 and 2006.
Hugh Sumner, director of transport for the Olympic Development Authority, said the ODA supported the campaign and its aims.
Pointing out that cycling in London had increased by 83 per cent since 2000, he added: “One of our key areas of concern is ensuring groups such as young families, or people who do not cycle regularly in London, feel confident and safe enough to cycle to London 2012 events.
“We are investing money in developing and improving both off-road cycle routes on canal towpaths and greenways and on-road routes using quieter roads and parks linking to the Olympic Park and other venues.”
Under the plans, which will be published in detail later this year, a number of existing cycle routes will undergo improvements, including widening and having new lighting.
Two new lanes have also been proposed, although the final go-ahead has not yet been given.
The first would be an on-road route, running from Finsbury Park to Victoria Park, Hackney, which is adjacent to the main Olympic site. The second would be mostly off-road and would run from Epping Forest to Wanstead Flats.
The work will be managed by Transport for London and is due to begin by the end of this year.
An ODA spokeswoman insisted the investment would benefit Londoners long after 2012.
She said: “Everything we do will enhance and add to the existing cycling infrastructure and it won’t just be there for the Games – there is a really strong legacy value there.”