The number of trips by bike in London is equivalent to a fifth of the daily number of Tube journeys, according to new research.
Transport for London revealed the latest rise in cycle journeys as it set out its vision of 1.5 million daily bike trips by 2026, double the current rate.
In what effectively amounts to a challenge to the next Mayor, the report sets out TfL’s wish to “normalise” cycling as a “very cost-effective form of mass transit” at a time of falling Government investment and huge increases in the capital’s population.
The report, by TfL’s strategy director Ben Plowden, states: “Cycling is now a major mode of transport, with daily trips equating to 10 per cent of all bus passenger trips in London, or one fifth of al Tube passenger trips. This is just less than the number of trips on the DLR and Overground combined.”
Mr Plowden told the Standard: “Cycling, though it’s still seen by some as a fringe pursuit carried out by a committed minority, is actually a really important way for people to get around the city in large numbers.
“People are realising that, as cycling gets safer and feels safer, that journey times from the south end of the Northern line or from Kilburn into central London are comparable the bus or the Tube.”
He added: “The volume of people doing it means we are now at the point where one of the things that London will do in terms of transport provision is provide a continued stream of investment in safer cycling facilities, as a way of getting people around the city.
“Boris has clearly been very closely associated with it as a commuter cyclist. It’s now getting to the point where it’s part of the transport mix that needs to be made available for a big city like London.”
TfL admits that the construction of the segregated cycle superhighways – particularly the East-West “Crossrail for bikes” route along the Victoria Embankment – has caused “impacts on other road users”. It says delays will reduce throughout the year as the schemes are completed.
New “cycle superhubs” are planned by 2018/19 for Waterloo station – where 8,000 bike parking spaces are needed – and at suburban stations. Parking hubs at Hounslow West and North Greenwich are due to open next month, and at Tottenham Hale, Abbey Wood, Barking and Romford within the next three years.
Preliminary casualty data shows the number of major injuries suffered by cyclists in 2015 was broadly similar to the previous year. Between January and July last year, 229 cyclists were seriously injured, compared to 419 for the whole of 2014. Eight cyclists died in vehicle collisions last year, the joint lowest figure in 30 years.
The Tour of Britain, the country’s premier road race, is to return to London on Sunday September 11 for its closing stages. Roads will be closed as the world’s best professional riders race on a circuit around Regent Street, Trafalgar Square, Strand and Whitehall.