They’re trying to ban cycling on the South Bank

This video shows off the very best of cycling in London. It’s no surprise that the film features a several shots of people enjoying cycling along the Thames Path, on the south bank of the River Thames between Lambeth Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge.

But if you’ve cycled those lovely stretches recently you’ll have seen around twenty “No Cycling” signs have been put up along the stretch in front of St Thomas’s Hospital. The signs are of questionable legality as there is no by-law in place, just a proposal for a ban. This does not appear to have stopped the police patrolling the area from cautioning cyclists.

The London Cycling Campaign has put together their own video on why the ban is a bad ideal (and there’s more at the Kennington People on Bikes blog).

As things stand Lambeth Council does seem to oppose the ban, as does Mayor Boris Johnson and Green Party’s London Assembly Member Jenny Jones. Proposing the ban are local MPs Kate Hoey and Simon Hughes, St Thomas’s Hospital and the South Bank Employers Group. I encourage everyone to write to your elected officials and to Lambeth Council (via to express your opposition to the ban.

Update 1 (Friday 28 January):

A freedom of information request by Ian McPherson to Lambeth Council has revealed the following fascinating facts:

– The recently installed “No Cycling” signs have no legal force, they are merely ‘advisory’.

– Lambeth Council put them up as a six month experiment following, in the Council’s words “complaints about a small number of aggressive cyclists who were spoiling it for the majority of sensible cyclists and pedestrians who use this section of the South Bank.”

– Police officers and Police community support officers “can request any member of the public to dismount their bicycle and advise them/ask them to dismount. However they are unable to force them to do so.” Should a cyclist refuse to dismount, they would not be committing any offense.

– The signs cost £2,600 to install. This does not include the additional costs to the Police of monitoring and enforcement.

Update 2 (Tuesday 2 February):

According to Nick Halpin of Lambeth Council:

“The “No Cycling” signs that have been erected on the Southbank were advisory and part of an ongoing experiment to tackle aggressive cycling along this stretch of the Southbank; however we recognise that a large number of considerate cyclists have been affected by this decision. As a result of feedback from residents and users of the river walk, we have decided to replace the “No Cycling” signs with the following: “Pedestrian Priority. Considerate Cycling Welcomed”. The erection of the new signs will take place within the next few weeks.

Bike Blogging with Mark Ames of ibikelondon / Jan Gehl / Eric Pickles MP


Mark Ames writes ibikelondon, one of the best of London’s blossoming bike blogs. We discuss the city planning ideas of Jan Gehl, the intellectual godfather of Copenhagenization. We hear what British Cabinet minister Eric Pickles MP has to say about cycling and Mark (pictured, above, with two devoted readers) gives his top tips for aspiring bike bloggers.

For more London bike blogging try 101 Wankers, Crap Cycling and Walking in Waltham Forest, Cyclists in the City, I am not a cyclist, Kennington People on Bikes, Lo Fidelity Bicycle Club, Velo Loves the City and War on the Motorist.

From further afield try A View from the Cycle Path, Lazy Bicycle Blog and Copenhagenize.

Audio clips of the Creating Tomorrow’s Liveable Cities conference thanks to The Economist.

Inside the 2012 Olympic Velodrome


On the day before the completion of the construction phase of London’s new 6,000-seat velodrome on the 2012 Olympic site, we are treated to a sneak peek. Mike Taylor of Hopkins Architects presents the design vision and explains how he hopes it will not only be fast but environmentally sustainable and a great place to go and watch elite track racing. Mike argues that the threatened outdoor track at Herne Hill (which hosted the Olympics in 1948) is a vital ‘feeder track’ for the new Olympic facility.

Many London cyclists will know that the 2012 Velopark (velodrome, BMX track and road circuit) is being built on the site of the much-loved Eastway cycle circuit. A short film captures the final Tuesday night Ten Mile Time Trial before the circuit was demolished to make way for the 2012 Olympics.

Flickr set Velodrome pics (Creative Commons license!) here.

Bart Kyzar: Man on a Mission


The messenger bag is one of the defining elements of the “new urban bike culture” and Bart Kyzar has been making bombproof bags for bicyclists since the mid-1990s, first with Chrome and now with Mission Workshop, based in San Francisco.

Last summer Mission Workshop opened a new store at the Truman Brewery, Brick Lane. While riding through the sunny streets of London, Bart tells how he and a couple of friends started making messenger bags while living in a warehouse in Boulder, Colorado, how rising osteopathy bills led to a fundamental rethink of traditional messenger bag design and why Mission Workshop is proud of its tiny niche in the US military industrial complex.