City of London hosts day to promote Square Mile cycling safety

The Square Mile is to host a day promoting cycling and walking on Tuesday 4 July, as new figures released show that cycling rates have quadrupled in London’s financial district in the last 20 years.

The City of London Corporation’s Active City Network, which also includes City employers, will hold a ‘Health City Streets’ event to celebrate the launch of two TfL Quietway routes now available in the City. These North-South and East-West cycle and walking routes, which link Upper Thames Street to Chiswell Street (Islington) and Farringdon to Bishopsgate in the City, passing through backstreets. They aim to help encourage cyclists and walkers who want to use quieter, low-traffic and less-polluted routes.

The Quietways walking and cycling tours on Tuesday will be led by the charities Living Streets and the Green Commute Initiative. Music will be performed by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, City of London Girls School and City of London Academy Islington at three locations - Queens Street Place, Smithfield Rotunda and the Guildhall Yard - starting at 4pm. The aim is to demonstrate how cycling and walking to work, can create a more harmonious, greener and safer environment in the City.

The Active City Network will also publish their Safer in the City: Best Practice Guide 2017, which shows how the City of London Corporation is supporting City growth and promoting better road safety. The main finding shows that as of 2016, cyclists accounted for 33,000 daytime road users along major routes in the City (or 25%) and were the most popular mode of transport. This was up from 8,152 (or 4%) in 1999. The guide demonstrates how the City is contributing to the Mayor’s aim for 70% of Londoners to live within 400 metres of a high-quality, safe cycle route and for all Londoners to do at least 20 minutes of active travel each day by 2041, as outlined in the Mayor’s 2017 Transport Strategy.

The launch of the report and promotion of the Quietways follows the recent introduction of the experimental road safety scheme at Bank junction, which limits vehicle access to the City’s most dangerous hotspot to buses and cyclists during the week from 7am to 7pm.

Commenting on the efforts to promote cycling, Chris Hayward, Chairman of the Planning and Transportation Committee at the City of London Corporation said:

“The City should be a safer, cleaner and greener place for all road users. Over the years we have seen a big increase in commuters who walk and cycle to work and we should be encouraging this trend.

“The development of Quietways and redesigning of dangerous junctions in the City is one of the ways we can do this and I am pleased that we have made good ground here. What is also promising is that we have the support of local businesses and stakeholders who all want to see a safer City in the future.”

Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner said:

“It’s vital that we do more to encourage walking and cycling across the capital, and I’m delighted that the City of London is rising to the challenge by introducing two Quietways and transforming Bank junction.

“These innovations make our streets safer and more pleasant to use, and can make a real difference in inspiring all ages and abilities to make physical activity a bigger part of their lives.”

Fran Graham, Campaigns Coordinator, London Cycling Campaign said:

“It’s great to see the City of London implementing bold schemes like ‘Bank on Safety’. Cycling numbers in London have grown rapidly in the last few years, and we are working to ensure that everyone – from school children to grandmothers - feel happy and confident to travel by bike.

“By putting cycling and walking at the heart of their transport planning, the City of London is taking steps to make this possible, as well as creating a quieter, cleaner, safer environment for all.”

Joe Irvin, Living Streets’ CEO said:

“An event like this, celebrating walking in the City, is warmly supported by Living Streets.

“We want London to be one of the greatest walking cities in the world and the City is a great example of how this could work. Footfall is high and space is at a premium in this historic and vital part of London.

“So initiatives such as Quietways and traffic reduction at the Bank really help make the City a more pleasurable place to spend time, work and walk.”

Rob Howes, Managing Director of Green Commute Initiative said:

“We’re delighted to be supporting the City of London with this initiative. London has a major problem with air quality and academic research shows that e-bike riders using Quietways suffer hardly any exposure to pollution.

“We think getting more commuters onto e-bikes is a key step towards reducing pollution and of course traffic congestion.”

Speaking at the Health City Streets event will be:

  • Christopher Hayward, Chairman of the Planning and Transportation Committee at the City of London Corporation
  • Dr Will Norman, London’s first Walking and Cycling Commissioner
  • Ann Kenrick OBE, previous Chair of London Cycling Campaign and author of highly praised book for schools and parents promoting active travel on the school run
  • Phil Saunders, International Cycle History Conference

The Safer in the City: Best Practice Guide report shows:

  • Developments in the City are improving safety and the environment for pedestrians and cyclists year on year. This comes through schemes such as the Holborn Circus Area Enhancement project, Cycle Superhighways, Quietways Routes, the Aldgate Gyratory project and the Bank Junction experimental safety scheme.
  • Case studies from City employees, Deloitte, the Cheapside Business Alliance, Nomura, Bank of England, Mace and Accenture. These include creative business solutions such as walking initiatives, measures to reduce congestion caused by deliveries, a corporate bike hire scheme and online training for fleet drivers.
  • The City of London Police is targeting dangerous drivers and vehicles. Tougher penalties are in place for motorists who use their mobiles while driving and campaigns to tackle offences such as driving under the influence and speeding are underway.
  • The City of London Corporation Transport Coordinating Group have updated transport policy. This now includes a driver licence checking process to ensure entitlement to drive and online e-learning resources for drivers.

Notes to editors

  • Gog and Magog, the traditional guardians of the City, have been personified for the occasion and they’ll be leading the cycle ride on their tandem bike. Gog and Magog will be available for photo opportunities in Guildhall Yard on Tuesday 4 July between 16:00 – 16:30 and 17:45 – 18:00. Please contact: Jennifer Ogunleye, Planning & Transportation Media Officer,; 07710 860 885
  • The Active City Network is a network of City businesses committed to enabling more of their staff to walk and cycle to work to improve City workers’ health, safety and well-being. Among those supporting the network are the Bank of England, Deloitte, Nomura, Mace, Fieldfisher and charity Living Streets.
  • About the City of London Corporation. The City of London Corporation provides local government and policing services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the 'Square Mile'. In addition, the City Corporation has three roles:
  • We support London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration, education and skills. In addition, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, makes grants of around £20 million annually to tackle disadvantage across London.
  • We also help look after key London heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, the Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important commons in London.
  • We also support and promote the ‘City’ as a world-leading financial and business hub, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events and research-driven policies, all reflecting a long-term approach.
  • About the Green Commute Initiative: Green Commute Initiative is a not for profit Social Enterprise whose mission is to get commuters out of their cars and onto clean e-bikes. Combining the Green Bike Pool and the Green Commute Initiative gives employers a complete, low cost, turnkey solution to get their employees onto e-bikes and offer them an easy and tax efficient way to permanently change their commute for the better.

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