Whitechapel High Street: paving the way for a bike-friendly London / by Tom Oliver Payne

Everyday I'm riding my bike, all I can think is how cities could be so much better: not just for people on two wheels, but for everyone. By getting more people on bikes, we get more people out of cars. The result is safer streets, cleaner air, more active people and more vibrant communities.

I've been aware of all of this for a long time, but am still constantly amazed at the inability, or inaction, of local authorities to develop less car-dominated streets. So much so, that in 2013 I did some research into why London's Cycle Superhighway's had failed so miserably (when all they had to do was copy Copenhagen!)

What I found was that urban development tends to follow path dependent trajectories. That is, the future ability of a city to introduce infrastructure, is generally limited by the decisions it has made in the past.

Boris Johnson's blue splotches of paint were never safe or comfortable - and they definitely were not Cycle 'Superhighways'... BUT what Boris did was start building the foundations for what is happening in 2015.

Perhaps still far from 'Superhighways', today many of these routes are at least becoming real bike 'paths'. Millions of pounds is being invested into segregating these routes from vehicular traffic and arguably, this never would have happened unless Boris took the baby-steps to paint blue splotches of paint a few years back.

While I still think we can do better than this (and progress much, much faster than what we are), I've got to say that after riding through Whitechapel last weekend, I felt kind of proud to be a part of a city that is at least trying.

So let's build on that momentum and let's keep on telling our Mayor what we want to see. As it turns out, all the noise doesn't fall on deaf ears after all - it just takes a little while for anyone to listen. If we continue down this current trajectory, London can really only get better for bikes. Let's just try get there even quicker.

... Check the clip below to see what I like most about these upgrades (hint: it may have been copied from Denmark).