After the big victories for London cycle campaigners and the construction of two new fully segregated bike lanes in the centre of the city, the bikelash has begun. Lead by newspapers like the Daily Mail as well as a raft of celebrity commentators, taxi drivers and disgruntled business owners, the reaction to progress in cycle infrastructure has been vociferous. What is bikelash, why is it happening and what can we do about it? Joining Jack Thurston are the London Cycling Campaign’s ‘campaigner of the year’ Clare Rogers of the Enfield Cycling Campaign and Robert Wright of the Financial Times.

You can read Clare Rogers’s blog at Robert Wright’s cycling blog at

Talking about Bikelash in Your City courtesy of Streetfilm under a Creative Commons license.

3 thoughts on “Bikelash!

  1. Very important topic and good commentary! I agree that when children are involved people are more receptive, and willing to share road. Every now and then (when there’s a particularly good excuse) I take my 6 y/o son to school by scooter (human powered with a stand for a child). He also wears a helmet on these trips, I don’t – it’s reserved for bike ride.
    As soon as people see this they either smile, giggle or say something positive. When a 50-something rough looking builder profile bloke looked at us and aid “Brilliant!” with a wide smile, I couldn’t detect a hint of sarcasm in him, just amazement and joy.

    And the reaction towards 38 year old scooting alone down streets at 15 miles an hour is similar, though sometimes more of “wft, what was that!?”

    I need to start putting pressure on my Gravesham borough council to mark more space cyclists as Southeastern has just built a cycle hub.

  2. Another interesting program with a good selection of guests.

    One part that stood out for me was the discussion of David Hill in the Guardian. I can agree with the premise that David is opposed to bike lanes, but the suggestion that he associates infrastructure with gentrification does not hold water.
    Victims of London road violence, who might have been spared by decent infra’, have included retired teachers, hospital porters, migrant catering staff and junior reporters. They are not representatives of a social elite come to price out the locals.

    A more likely reason for his opposition is David’s preference for buses which are an inclusive form of transport. Anyone can ride a bus, it accommodates the physically frail, no additional equipment is required and the young and elderly can be given free travel.

    At the risk of straying into Strawman territory many on the left of British politics do prefer communal solutions, which the bus is, whereas the bike can legitimately viewed as individualistic. Seen from this perspective, cycling infrastructure is mainly benefiting white-collar commuters (such as your guest Robert) who already have an income advantage over the rest of society whereas the bus benefits those most in need.

  3. I have very nearly met my maker on numerous occasions cycling in London.I am all for these bike lanes. People who ride bikes in London do so to beat the horrendous traffic and keep fit. We are not all rich. I take my bike up on the train from Kent. We have a horrendous pollution problem in London with pllution. I would love alondon to be more like Amsterdam

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