By Laura Laker
London saw record numbers of cyclists on its major road network over four weeks in July and August, 20 per cent higher than the same period last year, a 173 per cent growth since 2001.
The figures emerged as Transport for London (TfL) and British Cycling announce a formal partnership to promote cycling in the capital as part of their Olympic and Tour de France legacy.
British Cycling and TfL hope to give people confidence to commute by bike with triple the amount of group rides in 2014 as the previous year, 10,000 participants compared with 3,500 in 2013.
British Cycling’s Director of Recreation and Partnerships, Stewart Kellett said: "British Cycling and Transport for London share the same goal of getting more people riding bikes and this partnership will help us to build on the progress of the last few years.
"Britain is now one of the most successful elite cycling nations in the world and almost seven million people in England are now regularly riding bikes for fun, for sport or as a form of transport. We want to use this inspiration to go even further. As a world leading governing body, we are in a great position to work alongside TfL to help build people’s confidence on the roads, introducing them to a new way of getting around the capital."
It is hoped those from a wider range of backgrounds will be encouraged to cycle, including women, disabled cyclists and people from black and ethnic minority groups.
Cycle training can help improve anything from road positioning - riding away from parked car doors, for instance - to making eye contact with drivers so cyclists can ensure they have been seen.
Part of the Mayor of London's cycling vision is to fund more cycle training across the capital, the Cycling Vision document stating the aim that: "All Londoners who wish to cycle will have access to the training and information they need to avoid collisions and stay safe. This includes funding children’s cycle training at all schools in London and more funding for adult cycle training (delivered through the boroughs)."
There are 200 free Sky Ride Local rides across London Boroughs, with child and adult training for those who need to build up their confidence. Participants can also train to become ride leaders or cycling ambassadors.
Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director for Surface Transport, said:
"We are looking forward to working even more closely with British Cycling over the coming years. We’ve already worked together on some fantastic events and we are pleased to be pooling our expertise to inspire more people to start cycling.
"This cementing of our relationship comes at a time when we are seeing more and more people using pedal power in London on some of our main roads, with the highest levels of cycling activity ever recorded on our roads."
British Cycling runs regular free guided Sky Ride Local rides in the capital and across the UK, including Breeze rides for women. The rides are led by trained leaders aimed at a variety of levels and abilities, following on from cycle training provided by schools and councils.
Cycle Training UK also runs free fun rides and road safety training in the capital.
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