Letter: Transport gridlock: political chicanery, CrossRail, the American way

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Sir: Christian Wolmar's article on London's transport which appeared today requires some comment from a London bicycle commuter.

There are two main deterrents to commuting in London by bicycle: danger and pollution. I know of many cyclists who have been injured in traffic, myself included, and the appearance of Japanese-style face-masks on pedestrians and cyclists is hardly a cheerful sight.

Councils, such as Camden, have made half-hearted attempts to create bicycle paths, but the attempt is futile: the bike lanes are sometimes as short as 30ft, cars and lorries regularly park in them, and cycle paths that are constructed exclusively for bicycles do not go anywhere commuters need to go.

The first step must be to define what a bicycle is: is it 'pedestrian', therefore entitled to the same protection as walkers, or is it a 'vehicle', thereby afforded the privileges of roads?

One thing the bicycle is not is a motor vehicle, and it cannot compete for space with cars without the inevitable consequences of being subjected to danger and pollution.

Last week I was given a summons for cycling in Regent's Park. Can anyone explain why?

Yours sincerely,


University College

London, WC1

14 June