French could teach us a lesson about cycling in cities

Say what you like about the French, but when they decide to go for something as a community they really do go for it. Take cycling for example. When I left Paris in 2004, after six years of living and working there, cycle lanes were unheard of. Even last

Say what you like about the French, but when they decide to go for something as a community they really do go for it.

Take cycling for example. When I left Paris in 2004, after six years of living and working there, cycle lanes were unheard of. Even last year there were none to speak of.

Yet almost overnight they have sprouted up everywhere in the French capital. Every road seems to have a properly separated two-way cycle lane. Contrast that with London where cycle lanes are usually part of the main traffic flow and often disappear altogether for no reason.

London's cyclists struggle to negotiate parked cars, buses and speed bumps, and they can be fined hundreds of pounds for cycling in parks. We want to encourage people to cycle more because of the environmental and health benefits, but we make it difficult and dangerous for them to do so.


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In my ward - Belsize - lots of parents tell me they would let their children cycle to school if only it wasn't so dangerous.

That's why I'll be pushing for a big increase in proper cycle lanes throughout Camden over the next four years.

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Cllr Alexis Rowell

Chair, Camden Sustainability Task Force

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