Our Interim CEO, Jenni Wiggle, joined the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan this morning (23 July) as he launched the first online cycle training course for Londoners to give people the confidence to start cycling - whether they're taking it up for the first time or returning to it.

17km of new cycle lanes have already been created through the world-leading Streetscape for London programme, along with more than 15,000m2 of extra pavement space to enable social distancing and encourage people to make journeys on foot.

The Cycle Skills course, which is available on the TfL website, supports the Mayor’s world-leading Streetspace for London programme which is rapidly rolling out more space for people to walk and cycle.

Jenni Wiggle, Will Norman, Sadiq Khan

The Mayor and TfL are committed to a green, sustainable recovery from coronavirus, and their bold measures will reduce the risk of a damaging car-based recovery.

Cycle Skills is the first online course to cover everything from getting your bike set up for your first ride to tips for cycling safety with children in one place, and is tailored to cycling in London.

The series consists of:

  • Get ready to ride: guidance for pre-ride checks to your bike’s tyre air pressure, brakes and chain, along with tips for basic control and handling
  • First time on the road: practical advice for how to start cycling on the roads safely and responsibly while avoiding potential hazards
  • On the road again: confidence-boosting tips for people looking to return to cycling after a long break, covering how to share the road safely and communicate with other road users
  • Cycling with children: guidance for cycling safely with children and in a group.

Everyone who completes the four training modules will be sent a free Santander Cycles 24-hour access code, enabling them to start putting the skills they’ve learnt into practice.

TfL has also secured £2m from the DfT for cycle training in London, which will be delivered via the London boroughs. Each borough will be allocated £60,000 to deliver socially distanced Bikeability and Cycle Skills training from August onwards.

The Mayor announced the City Hall investment during a visit to Pimlico to try out the upgraded newly segregated cycle route between Chelsea Bridge and Lambeth Bridge. Streetspace funding has enabled pole cones to be added along the 2.4km route to protect people cycling from other traffic. This upgraded route will play a vital role in allowing thousands more journeys to be made by bike. It is a key corridor for people cycling into central London and TfL modelling shows it has one of the highest potential demand for cycling of any road in the capital.

During lockdown, a section of it was the third most popular UK route logged on Strava, with almost 50,000 journeys logged along Milbank Embankment. 17km of new cycle lanes have been created through the Streetspace for London programme so far, with a further 20km under construction.

Segregated cycle lanes trebled in the first four years of Sadiq’s mayoralty from 53km to 162km. More than 15,000m2 of extra pavement space has been delivered through the Streetspace programme so far to enable social distancing and encourage people to make journeys on foot.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said:

“I’m determined to do all I can to ensure a green recovery for our city by building on Londoners’ record-breaking demand for cycling over the past few months. I am proud that we are rapidly rolling out more space for walking and cycling and upgrading cycle routes to make them safer. But we also need to equip people with the confidence and skills they need to cycle in our city, so I’m delighted to launch the first online cycle training course for Londoners.”

Sophie Edmondson, Principal Sponsor for Cycling at TfL, said:

“Walking and cycling will be absolutely central to London’s recovery from coronavirus and our Streetspace programme is making sure everybody who wants to cycle can do so easily and safely. Our newly upgraded cycle route between Chelsea Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge will make thousands of journeys to and from central London safer and our new online Cycle Skills course will help people to cycle with confidence. We’ll continue to work closely with London’s boroughs to ensure everybody can benefit from extra space and improved infrastructure.”

Changing London’s infrastructure to make walking and cycling safer is the first key step in encouraging us all to walk and cycle more of our local, everyday journeys. It’s fantastic to see so much of London’s road space converted into space for those walking and cycling. Training and behaviour change programmes to inspire more of us to walk and cycle are now key in ensuring more of London’s journeys are being travelled in an active way.

Jenni Wiggle, Interim CEO, Living Streets

Sarah MacFadyen, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the British Lung Foundation, said:

“This is a really positive step to encourage active travel across the city. Our recent statistics show that 1 in 6 (16.2%) people living with lung conditions in the UK noticed their symptoms improved as a result of the fall in air pollution levels since lockdown. Supporting Londoners to complete their journeys on a bike or on foot where possible will help keep cars off the road and reduce damaging air pollution. The pandemic has shown us the importance of keeping our lungs healthy, and by giving everyone the space and confidence to walk and cycle safely, we are taking a big step forward in ensuring Londoners have clean air to breathe.”
Earlier this week, TfL announced that work has begun to transform one of central London’s major thoroughfares into a less intimidating place which prioritises walking and cycling. The new traffic restrictions between Shoreditch and London Bridge are a key part of the Mayor of London and TfL's Streetspace plans, which will radically reduce levels of cars in central London in a bold step towards becoming one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city in the world. The new walking, cycling and bus only corridor will connect major cultural and financial centres in the area, making it much easier for people to walk and cycle as they start to return to central London offices.
TfL is also working closely with local boroughs to rapidly create space for walking and cycling across the city. This includes building a strategic network for cycling in London, transforming town centres and reducing traffic on residential streets. Boroughs have been issued with detailed guidance on how to apply for funding for schemes that will make a real difference in local areas, and around £30m has now been awarded across all 33 boroughs for 859 schemes. Work on a number of new cycle routes is underway in Camden and Waltham Forest, with routes set to link Chalk Farm to Kings Cross and Blackhorse Road to Haringey.
London’s cycle hire scheme will celebrate its tenth anniversary next Thursday (30 July). Since its launch, the scheme has gone from strength to strength, and high demand meant it broke three records in May including the highest number of hires made in a single week. Santander Cycles have played a vital role during the coronavirus pandemic, with key workers able to access free hires until the end of this month.

Sadiq Khan