Last week I published my attempt to find evidence that cycle superhighways causing pollution. There wasn’t any. This despite numerous members of the Lords saying otherwise. I wasn’t the only one who thought there was a story in Lord Winston being economical with the science – Peter Walker and Laura Laker have published articles in the Guardian covering much the same ground. But because they are good journalists, whereas I had overly dry figures, they have great quotes. The one about Lord Cormack is a ripper:
- “Lord Patrick Cormack, said his evidence was that his cab journey from King’s Cross station to the House of Lords now took longer.”
That’s right, the guy complaining about pollution in central London, is the guy taking a black cab from King’s Cross to the Houses of Parliament! It was a relief to find out that taxis within central London are not something peers can claim on expenses. You can claim for petrol, parking, trains and the cost of a bicycle though. For July 2017, the most recent month for which data is available and during which peers sat for up to 12 days (most peers sat far fewer than this) the travel allowances claimed by peers were as follows:
|Car||Rail||Air||Motorbike||Bicycles||Taxis and Parking|
So for the last month available £40,000 claimed for private motor transport, £2 claimed for cyclists. Is it any wonder this second chamber is more-or-less completely clueless what it comes to what a good public policy in relation to cycling might be.
A pollution monitor
Some of the respondents to my last article pointed out that one possible reason for the reduction in pollution on Upper Thames Street since the cycle way opened is that the traffic may now be further away from the sensor than it was before because the cycle lane comes between the two. This could be significant as pollution levels drop away reasonably quickly as you move away from roads. So I went to the pollution monitoring site to find out if this was the case. Here it is:
Pollution monitoring station underneath London Bridge.
The monitoring station is on the south side of the road. The cycle lane is, at this point on the route, on the north side. So, no, the reduction in pollution is not explained by this factor.
This photo was taken at a random point in time as I walked past – I didn’t wait for a particular set of traffic to come along (as some people offering “evidence” of congestion and/or successful cycle lanes seem wont to do). So I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that by chance there are three cyclists and an HGV in the picture. That old HGV is sure to give its driver a terrible view of his (or her) surroundings, but, thanks to the segregated cycle lane, those three cyclists are at greatly reduced risk of death-by-lorry-left-hook than they were two years ago. Now *that’s* a good reason for segregation.