Cycling is better for inner city journeys and the government is responding to this. However, there is still a long way to go to catch up with the Netherlands, Germany and other European cities.
The infrastructure in Central London is not conducive to designated cycle lanes with narrow roads designed for the horse and cart as shown in the documentary by Andrew Marr - England from Above. Boris Johnson’s cycle superhighways are a start towards improving the infrastructure.
An ideal environment would be a motorised-vehicle free city-centre. This has many benefits for health, noise reduction, and road safety. In Amsterdam many of the city centre areas were pedestrianised. People cycled or took the tram system to get around. It looked like high street businesses benefited from this, because there was room for more people on the whole road rather than just the pavements.
In rich developed European countries where people can have the choice of a mixture of transport types, a complex interplay of factors influences the level of bicycle use.
- Trip-end facilities (particularly secure parking)
- Integration with other transport modes
- Cycle training
Public image of cycling
Boosting the image of cycling will make it more socially acceptable and appealing to a wider audience.
This post was originally written in 2010. Edited in 2022.