Thursday, June 01, 2006

All London Borough Councils - Cycling Online

London has 33 boroughs. Every council has a website. Not every council likes cycling!


In this post we look at the hugely different coverage of cycling, within each London borough's website.

Every council website was evaluated on their online local cycling information, content, real actions reported, and statistics. An overall score was then generated, of either: good, fair, or poor. Unfortunately, the results were often negative, and an uber-low category entitled "crap" had to be created!

Note that this rating is PURELY on website content representing cycling, NOT on the physical cycle facilities or traffic schemes in the borough.

London Borough Websites - Rated for Cycling Content:

Barking - (good)
Barnet - (Poor)
Bexley - (poor)
Brent - (poor)
Bromley - (poor)
Camden - (fair)
City - (fair)
Croydon - (poor)
Ealing - (poor)
Enfield - (crap)
Greenwich - (poor)
Hackney - (poor)
Hammersmith - (fair)
Haringey - (poor)
Harrow - (poor)
Havering - (crap)
Hillingdon - (crap)
Hounslow - (poor)
Islington - (good)
Kensington & Chelsea - (fair)
Kingston - (fair)
Lambeth - (poor)
Lewisham - (fair)
Merton - (poor)
Newham - (poor)
Redbridge - (poor)
Richmond - (crap)
Southwark - (good)
Sutton - (poor)
Tower Hamlets - (poor)
Waltham Forest - (good)
Wandsworth - (poor)
Westminster - (poor)

Overview - Trends

Researching all the London Borough websites I picked up a theme running throughout: - Plans, Plans, Plans.
Fine, I appreciate there needs to be a final direction to head towards. But equally important, is to read about what positive actions boroughs HAVE completed, with all that money us taxpayers gave you!

Some borough councils may actually have good physical cycle facilities, but any potential new cyclist browsing a basic and uninformative council webpage on local cycling, might not find any help, encouragement, or useful information there. The true extent of local riding locations, direct routes, and facilities may remain hidden, due to a poor council website on cycling.

Good, Is Not Good

The ratings judge each council's cycling web pages against its relative peers. So a "good" rating here is nothing special, given the general poor range of information available across most borough websites reviewed.

Many of the above council links have contacts for your local cycling officer or traffic planner, if you want to contribute your input.

Untapped Social Advantages

Potential cyclists make up a huge dormant user-group (or in fancy talk: "customer"), for borough councils to satisfy. Because National Statistics estimate there are 0.82 bicycles per household. Almost as high as cars, which average 1.04 cars per household.

The social implications could be huge. If potential bike-riders were encouraged by councils to compliment cycling in to their lifestyle, the list of improvements would be massive. E.g. Reduced heart disease, happier healthier citizens, reduced isolation (in cars), safer roads, reduced fatal & serious injuries, reduced pollution, motivated & fit employees, less sick days, and so on...

What Do Council Websites Need To Improve?

1/. Show me where all the cycle routes are in your borough. If the council doesn't know where they are, chances are the paths will be poor quality surfaces, blocked by overgrowth, dis-jointed unconnected cycle routes, filled with broken glass.

2/. How much resource (money and employees) did the borough put in to cycling last year? (Route maintenance / Cycle network expansion / Priority traffic safety schemes / Secure cycle parking facilities / Skills training / Education / Traffic Speed Reduction Zones / Cycle lane & path sweeping / etc.)

3/. Do you know if cycling clubs or safety groups already exist in your area? Do you help promote these clubs in your community? Have you talked to them?

4/. Do you run informal opinion polls for consultations or feedback to specific local traffic issues, e.g. on the website: "I think the effect of the recent redesign at abc road is: a) Now safer, b) Now more dangerous c) Unchanged.

5/. How risky will it be for me to cycle in your borough? Show me the cycle related accident statistics including; who (risk groups), where (accident blackspots for cyclists?) & when (seasonal? daylight related?).

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