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Cycling, Environment, Life and style -

With Swytch, you can clamp a wheel, battery and sensor to any model and enjoy a power-assisted ride

I’ve been something of a sceptic about technological bike gizmos over the years, add-ons that too often seem to represent a solution in search of a problem, an attempt to reinvent something – the bicycle – that was not far short of perfect anyway.

I’m no luddite. New developments make cycling even more enjoyable and useful, not least near-puncture proof tyres and tiny, retina-searing lights. Plus, of course, there’s the amazing world of electric-assist bikes, or e-bikes.

Related: The evidence is in: low-traffic neighbourhoods are popular

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Cycling, Environment, Fitness, Health & wellbeing, Life and style, Local government, Local politics, Politics, Transport, Transport policy, UK news, Walking -

The London election proves that measures to make streets safer are a vote-winner, says a former Labour leader of Ealing council

Are measures to make streets safe for walking and cycling unpopular? Are they vote-losers? Have we failed to take communities with us – and will we, as local politicians, pay the price?

As a former Labour leader of Ealing council in west London, I was at the heart of this debate. The low-traffic neighbourhood schemes we installed in my borough, using cameras to stop rat-running in more than a hundred streets, caused a row noisy even by the standards of cycling scheme rows. Demonstrators marched to the council offices with “Julian Bell – end this hell” placards. The “Bell” and the “end” were placed together to make a further well-loved phrase.

Julian Bell is councillor for Greenford Broadway ward, and was leader of Ealing council for 11 years

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Environment, London, London mayoral election 2021, UK news -

Analysis: greater use of bikes can help tackle emissions in the capital, but can the would-be mayors deliver?

After a year in which lives, homes and jobs were lost to a global pandemic, why does cycling matter? One of the London mayor’s major mandates is transport. Cycling and walking are a key part of that, not least while many people are avoiding public transport or working from home.

If people switch from public transport to driving, Transport for London (TfL) forecasts a huge rise in motor traffic and a corresponding surge in pollution. With road transport accounting for 20% of London’s emissions, providing alternatives to private cars is key.

Related: Removed London bike lane blocked by parked cars most of the time – study

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Cities, Environment, London, Road transport, Transport, UK news -

One thing is clear: there is virtually no evidence that low-traffic neighbourhood schemes hold up emergency vehicles

If you were to read certain newspapers for long enough, the message would seem clear: the main cause of traffic congestion is measures to boost walking and cycling – that is, separated cycle lanes, and so-called low-traffic neighbourhoods, or LTNs.

LTNs, schemes to dissuade through traffic on smaller residential streets by filters permeable to people travelling by foot or cycle, but not by private motor vehicle – whether camera-enforced or in the physical form of planters or bollards – are at the centre of a particularly fierce transport-based culture war.

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Cycling, Environment -

The UK’s cycling infrastructure is hostile to women – and smart new measures in Paris and Lisbon show that change is overdue

It was enraging and exhausting to read comments on social media in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder from men suggesting she had made a “poor decision” to walk home alone in the dark. Every day, women and gender non-conforming people reflexively make calculations about their safety in a way that most men do not have to – and yet sometimes, tragically, it still is not enough.

We have normalised a society in which men can move around as they please while the rest of us fear for our lives for the simple act of travelling home.

Related: Europe doubles down on cycling in post-Covid recovery plans

Related: UK increase in cycling and walking must be nurtured, says minister

Kate Jelly is a researcher, specialising in gender, and is based in London.

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