Middle aged white men in lycra are dominating London’s cycling scene
London cyclists are too white, male and middle-class, according to the capital’s cycling chief who has vowed to tackle the diversity ‘problem’
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The city’s first cycling commissioner Will Norman, says too few women and people from ethnic minority groups cycle in London and more must be done to promote diversity among the biking community.
Norman has promised action as figures show black, Asian and minority ethnic groups account for just 15 per cent of the city’s cycle trips
The Independent reports: Grand schemes, such as the Cycle Superhighway network of partially-segregated routes linking the suburbs with the centre, are too often perceived as simply a way of getting “middle-aged men cycling faster around the city”, Will Norman acknowledged.
He said he was considering setting diversity targets for London’s cycling population to ensure progress was achieved.
Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups account for about 15 per cent of the city’s cycle trips – around two-thirds less than Transport for London estimates it could be.
Speaking to The Independent, Mr Norman, whose job it is to deliver on Sadiq Khan’s pledge to make walking and cycling safer and easier in the capital, said: “There is a problem with cycling and the way it is perceived of getting middle-aged men cycling faster around the city, which is not the objective at all.
“It touches on something which is a real challenge for London cycling, which is diversity.”
Mr Norman, the capital’s first cycling commissioner, said he wanted to tackle the “gender divide” among cyclists that had spawned the term middle-aged men in lycra – or Mamils.
He added: “Even when we have seen the growth in the number of cyclists, we haven’t seen that diversity.
“There are a number of reasons for that. One is that safety is paramount for getting different people from different walks of life cycling: older people, younger people, those from different backgrounds.”
The mayor’s office has unveiled a number of projects it says will begin to address a lack of diversity, including cycle training courses, grants for community groups who do not typically cycle and promoting electric bikes, as well as expanded cycle routes. On Quietway 1, a new route linking Waterloo with Greenwich, the proportion of women has risen from 29 per cent to 35 per cent.
Duncan Dollimore, road safety and legal campaigns officer at Cycling UK, backed the moves, saying authorities should be “focusing on the barriers that deter people from cycling rather than existing cyclists”.
Mr Norman also responded to mounting criticism of Mr Khan’s record on delivering cycling projects after nearly two years in City Hall, saying his boss had achieved more for London’s cyclists than Boris Johnson had in his first six years in the job.