Boris Johnson must really hate Lycra. He must have an extreme dislike for it if he is planning on spending £913 million pounds to “de-Lycrafy cycling” as he puts it. The new plans for a Dutch style cycle network in London, which he unveiled ten days ago, are ambitious not to mention expensive. I welcome any plans to make cycling easier and safer in London and would take full advantage of the new networks when they are completed. My only concern is the amount of money he is spending.
There have been massive public sector cuts and people are losing their jobs. The budget on Wednesday will see just how much more everyone has to pay before this financial mess is over. There have been protests over the bedroom tax and cuts in education. There are proposed cuts in police and fire brigade services in London with some fire stations and front offices of police stations closing. The proposed downgrading of Lewisham hospital will take vital services from the local community and will mean people travelling further for an A and E department.
These are just some of the problems ordinary people are facing in their everyday life. Now I’m not an economist but I think that £913 million is a tad over the top for a cycle route or two. True it will give employment to those who are going to be building this phenomenal plan of which I have no problem. The cycle network in London is not perfect as it is but surely a tenth of that amount would be enough to improve it. Some might say even less.
If they do improve the junctions at Elephant and Castle (a particularly dangerous spot for cycling in my opinion) and Vauxhall then that would be fabulous. I’m all for less traffic on the roads and more cyclists as well. Will this plan really see an army of commuters dressed in suits taking to the highways of London though? The weather is a major factor people take into account when choosing whether to cycle. The reason why some commuters wear Lycra is that it is light weight and dries quickly. I wouldn’t fancy riding a bike in a three piece suit in the pouring rain.
I am sure there are people out there who can think of better ways to spend nearly a billion pounds; education, health and emergency services being just a few of them. How has Mr Johnson come to have such a huge sum of money at his disposal anyway? I thought we were in an economic mess. I love cycling and the freedom it affords me. In the summer it is a great way to get around and it keeps me fit; kind of.
I applaud his decision to make it safer for cyclists in London and to try and get more people out of their cars and onto a bike. Some motorists could do with being a little more patient with people on bikes and not treating them as an inconvenience to their travel. Some people on bikes could do with a bit more common sense out there on the road. A little less arrogance from both sides could be done with at times. It just seems like a lot of money to me is all I’m saying. Still who am I; I’m not even a fully-fledged Lycra wearer anyway.