After a two-year break I am back on my bike in London. This morning a short hop from Paddington to Kings Cross. Having moved to Bristol almost four years ago the difference I can really appreciate the difference between the two: cycling in London is streets ahead.

People say to me I wouldn’t want to cycle in London but I think the cycle provision is actually pretty good. I left the station without needing to look at a map*. There were ‘quiet ways’ cycle route signs directing me all the way. Not only did all traffic lights have forward stop boxes for cyclists, cyclists also get their own green light that lets them set off before cars wanting to turn in front of them. And the quiet ways were, well, quiet.

Of course there are ways that the system could be improved. More cycle and pedestrian-only routes would always be better. But the improvements I have seen are relatively low-cost and easy to implement.
Bristol has some excellent off-road cycle paths. We chose to live close to one specifically to benefit from the access it provides to the centre of town. But the general permeability of the city to cyclists is poor.

This is a choice. All it takes is the political way to say we choose not to have a streets choked with cars; we choose to make our streets living, breathing places where people can get around safely and cheaply.