Brompton Bicycle boss urges greater cycle infrastructure investment to “transform London”

The boss of London based folding-bike manufacturer Brompton Bicycle has hit out at the government’s reluctance to invest in cycling infrastructure in the capital.

Brompton Bicycle MD Will Butler-Adams said instead of spending billions on projects such as Crossrail, the money would have a greater impact on Londoners’ quality of life if it was directed towards increasing participation in cycling in the capital.

Speaking to LondonlovesBusiness.com for an exclusive video interview, Butler-Adams said: “Across greater London, cycling usage is at about 4%. So if we are serious about changing our city, we need to realise that we’re going to need to invest in infrastructure. That is the biggest barrier to mass participation in cycling.

“Cycling has to be part of the solution to make urban living more enjoyable and it delivers on so many levels: health, efficiency, the environmental aspects – cities are realising that this isn’t just some side-line.

“And if governments don’t get really serious about that then we will never transform London.”

He highlighted the vast improvements seen in Holland after the Dutch government committed more resources to cycling.

“If you look at the Netherlands, the Dutch government decided in the early seventies to have a cross-party agreement to invest in cycling infrastructure. That cycling usage has gone from 6% to 36%.

“At the moment, when we want to improve infrastructure, we put in Crossrail. It costs billions and billions of pounds. It is not affordable nor sustainable.

“If you accept that you are just going to have to upset some people… and you create space for cyclists, and that space is separated, you will see people come in their masses.

“And what will that do? That will suck out congestion. That will improve air quality. That will improve health – less burden on the NHS. It makes you happier, it makes you more chatty. It’s a flipping no-brainer!

“But it takes time and it takes commitment and you can’t get there without a little bit of a rocky road on the way.”

Worsening congestion currently costs London a staggering £5.4bn a year, and rail infrastructure improvements are not expected to solve the problem as London’s population climbs over the coming years.

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