2024 GREATER LONDON ELECTION

The Greater London Assembly elections are on 2 May 2024. The South West London constituency covers the boroughs of Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston and on behalf of London Cycling Campaign members for those boroughs, we asked candidates the following question:

Dear candidates,

London Cycling Campaign is a membership charity with over 10,000 members in London. We campaign to make cycling safer and more enjoyable for everyone in London.

The LCC borough groups for Hounslow, Kingston and Richmond would like to ask a question to the candidates for the SW London constituency.

We will publicise the responses we receive to our membership through newsletters and social media prior to the election on 2 May.

We would appreciate it if we could get a response by midnight of Sunday 28 April.

Our question is:

London Loves Cycling and SW London loves cycling in particular as 4 of the 10 most used cycling routes in Outer London are in Hounslow, Kingston and Richmond.

Do you love cycling and what would you do to improve cycling, walking and wheeling for the people of SW London?

We received a reply from 5 of the 6 candidates and have listed these below in alphabetical order of the candidate’s name.

Marcela Benedetti

Labour and Co-operative Party

I agree that London Loves Cycling. I would love to cycle too but have not yet had the confidence to cycle in London. I walk or use public transport to get around but it would be great to be able to cycle too.

I know that cycling is a great way to travel as it is a clean and sustainable form of transport that can help reduce car use in the capital.

It’s also a great way to get exercise and I support the Mayor’s plan for all Londoners to get at least 20 minutes of active travel per day.

To encourage more people to cycle we need more infrastructure including protected bike lanes like Cycleway 9 and local cycle networks so that people like me can feel safe on the roads.

I was also very interested to read the LCC report What Stops Women Cycling in London? and was shocked to learn that 93% of women who responded to the survey said that drivers had used their vehicle to intimidate them, and nine out of ten had experienced abuse and aggression whilst cycling in London.

As someone who works with women who are the victims of violence and abuse, I am very clear this is unacceptable and support the report’s recommendations for the police, the Mayor and TfL to take action against such incidents, as well as improving physical safety for everyone who cycles.

I’ve seen some great initiatives to open up cycling, such as Cycle Sisters, who enable Muslim women to cycle, and Hounslow Council’s all-ability cycling sessions that are open to adults and children with a disability.

As a London Assembly member I would push TfL to continue funding to boroughs for cycle training and bike maintenance courses, to expand the Santander Cycles bike hire scheme to outer London, and to continue its vital support for active travel infrastructure projects across South West London.

Best wishes,

Marcela

Steve Chilcott

Reform UK

My response is as follows:

I love cycling. In answer to the question what would I do to improve cycling, walking and wheeling for the people of SW London, is that I would encourage my fellow cyclists to improve their behaviour and respect of other road users and pedestrians. The behaviour of some cyclists to other people is appalling, arrogant and of no respect to either the rule of the road or of others. We particularly see this regularly in Richmond Park with incredibly rude and arrogant behaviour. This is not helping the general cause of cyclists and gives us all a bad name.

Steve Chilcott

Ron Mushiso

Conservative and Unionist Party

Thanks for the opportunity to address this. Firstly I drive, cycle and walk.

I own one car, two road bikes and 6 pairs of shoes.

As a former sportsman, I find that cycling has replaced my sport of choice, rugby. In fact I would rather sit down and watch a bike race on Euro sport than a premiership rugby match.

My participation in cycling is most for fitness but I do use it to commute in the summer term when I don’t have to carry heavy sports equipment to and from my place of work to coach rugby. The summer term is for cricket, so I tend to be on my bike more often then.

Otherwise, it is the weekend early morning bike rides with mates to Surrey and back.

I am looking forward to getting back on the bike after the elections are done on the 2nd May which coincides with the start of the giro in Italy that weekend.

As for cycling safety, Michael will I am sure have heard me repeating the motto of sharing the road.

The rhetoric of them and us has never made sense to me. The cyclist and the pedestrian are the most vulnerable people on the road, so share the road, is an understanding of this hierarchy of responsibility so that motorist are vigilant around us.

It is true that in Europe, motorist are more aware of cyclist. But it is also true that we are not totally safe there either. Accidents do happen as my foster sister in Paris will attest.

The real enemy I find is the road surface. I have been nearly knocked off my bike for trying to avoid potholes and glass on the road.

The second enemy is the big vehicles with massive blind spots, I would encourage heave good vehicles drives to undertake take cycling proficiency courses so they understand the perceptions of a cyclist.

Some heavy goods vehicles have a habit of signalling too late.

Finally, I would encourage more local group rides on Sundays around our parks. Perhaps geared to families with you children,(like park runs but for bikes) – this is great way to build confidence for bike handling and enjoy the freedoms of riding.

I may have gone on too long there. I apologise.

Ron

Gareth David Roberts

Liberal Democrats

Thanks for reaching out.

So here we go

Love? Well that’s a strong old word, isn’t it? I’d defy even the most devoted cyclist to say they ‘Love’ cycling when they’re heading home in the dark, cycling uphill and fighting a headwind in the driving rain. But ‘Enjoy’? Absolutely. If I didn’t enjoy cycling I wouldn’t have three bikes (Cargo, Pashley and Terrain) and I wouldn’t be giving serious consideration towards getting a Brompton.

And what would I do if elected to improve cycling, walking and wheeling? Well I’d seek to build on the things which have been achieved under my leadership of Richmond Council; a borough-wide 20MPH limit, introduced the borough’s first segregated cycle routes in key areas such as Kew, Barnes and Teddington, promoted the take up of cargo bikes through our cargo bike rental scheme, installing what are believed to be the country’s first dedicated on street cargo bike parking bays, rolling out bike hangars and unlike those councils who wasted public money on doomed schemes to legally challenge ULEZ, we spent money on helping residents. Of course the ability to pursue these directly don’t fall immediately within the remit of assembly members, however there is an important job to do in terms of advocacy for these schemes and I would see this as a primary part of my duties in SW London.

Similarly, as with the cycling improvements which have been made in Richmond, I would seek to advocate for pedestrians and those who rely on wheelchairs or, indeed, buggies, to get around. After years of delay my administration finally took the decision to pedestrianise Church Street in Twickenham, a move resisted at first but is now widely viewed as an enormous success. This has also beem replicated, in part, in Barnes with the very popular parklet scheme in the high street. Furthermore I, and my administration, have been instrumental in advocating for, and securing funding for, Access For All schemes at Teddington and Barnes rail stations which, when installation is complete, will provide much needed lift access to these railway stations.

To summarise, if elected to City Hall I would continue in the role I have established as Leader of Richmond Council in advocating for cycling, walking and wheeling. Too often it is the case that politicians either duck for cover at the first sign of unpopularity – as we’ve seen with the Welsh rethink on 20MPH and as we saw with the removal of the Kensington High Street Cycle Lane – or they court electoral advantage by opposing measures, as we saw with the Conservative councillors who opposed CS9 in Chiswick.

South West London needs advocates for active travel and I would ensure my tenure at City Hall was spent doing that on behalf of local residents

Chas Warlow

Green Party

T In answer to your question, of course I love cycling! I’m a Green! Improving ways to help people to do more cycling, walking and wheeling is a key part of our mission. If I elected, I would consult cycling organisations and work with other London Assembly members to push for more cycle lanes, including more segregated cycle lanes. Cycleway 9 in Brentford is a great example of (mainly) good cycling and wheeling infrastructure but Kew Bridge is terrible – either both pavements should be shared-use or a new cycle lane should be established. I believe every main road should have a segregated cycle lane: the Kew Road cycle lane is a good example of how it can be done, as is the Kingston scheme on Portsmouth Road. I’d continue to push for active travel: better and more cycle lanes, more bike storage, more liveable streets. Of course I’d consult the LCC and encourage the boroughs to follow good examples and best practice from the UK and abroad.

The Green Party manifesto for the London elections (attached, Transport section starts on p.63) sets out a raft of policy ideas around a Green Mayor’s ambition to enable 80% of journeys in London to be on foot, bicycles or public transport. The key pledges focus on providing better infrastructure for cycling, wheeling and walking and encouraging those modes of transport:

expand cycle and bus lanes
introduce more car-free zones
expand cycle hire provision
convert 25% of parking spaces into parklets and bike parking
require boroughs to make bike storage cheaper than car parking
bring Santander bikes into the Oyster system
widen the network of accessible local cycle networks with their design reviewed by experts on women’s cycling
support more cycle repair facilities.

There’s more detail in the manifesto but do get back to me with any questions.

Regards,
Chas Warlow

We did not receive a reply from Abigail Dawn Hardy, Independent. No contact details were provided for the candidate on the Who Can I Vote For? website. We contacted the candidate’s election agent with our question but did not receive a reply.

Further information on the candidates is available from website:

https://whocanivotefor.co.uk/elections/gla.c.south-west.2024-05-02/south-west/