Zac Goldsmith (Con) believes cycling in London “can double” in the next mayoral term and insists he is committed to ensuring it can do so if voted in on May 5.
The MP for Richmond Park met with British Cycling’s policy advisor Chris Boardman to discuss his plans to improve cycling infrastructure and remove more vehicles from the roads during peak times, although isn’t committed to keeping cycle superhighways if they’re shown not to be working.
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Mr Goldsmith is hoping to be the second successive Conservative Mayor of London, following in the footsteps of Boris Johnson, who has developed key cycling infrastructure during his tenure.
“Boris Johnson has been one of the most pro-cycling politicians we’ve ever had, and we should pay tribute to him for that,” Mr Goldsmith said. “He’s committed significant funds and, if elected, I’ve committed to continuing that programme with at least the same amount of money, right up until the end of the mayoral term.
“Ultimately, I am committed to ensuring that cycling can double – as we expect it to; that it is safer; and that more people – not just professionals but recreational cyclists, mothers, fathers and kids – find that it’s easier, safer and healthier.”
As well making people feel safer on the roads, Mr Goldsmith is keen to reduce the air pollution in the capital, which he says is a factor in more people not taking to two wheels.
“It’s not just about safety, it’s about the air. A lot of people who choose not to cycle do so because they feel that London is just too polluted, so I think the two go hand-in-hand.
“I think that there are a number of things we can do to make a difference. For example, I’ve been talking to haulage firms and truck companies about how we can get more trucks off the road. It’s crazy that people are competing with HGVs at rush hour – it just makes no sense at all.
“They’re chucking out pollution, they’re grinding London to a standstill and they’re incredibly dangerous. We have the means to massively reduce the amount of trucks on our roads. There is a lot we can do to deal with congestion, to clean up our air and to make our roads safer for people who cycle.”
London goes to the polls on May 5, with Mr Goldsmith one of the frontrunners for London mayor alongside Labour candidate Sadiq Khan and Liberal Democrat candidate Caroline Pidgeon.