Cycling conference highlights benefits of ‘healthy streets’ approach

Hackney Cycling conference

Presentations from last week’s Hackney Cycling Conference, which attracted more than 200 delegates, are now available to download via the Hackney Council website.

Hosted by Hackney Council, Steer Davies Gleave and the Hackney Cycling Campaign on 27 April, the sixth edition of the annual conference, titled ‘Cycling as a catalyst for healthy neighbourhoods’, looked at cycling’s role in the future of London and other cities.

The agenda covered emerging policy and showcased approaches to help create healthy streets, and the air quality improvements which result from encouraging a shift from car to bike for short trips.

The conference was opened by Dr Ben Goldacre, a leading advocate of evidence-based policy making, who highlighted common pitfalls for policy makers to avoid, including bad questions, unrepresentative samples and seeing patterns in random data – concluding with the warning ‘trust no-one, only the data’.

With air quality high on the national agenda, the speakers – including engineers, academics and lobbyists from campaign groups such as the London Cycling Campaign and Living Streets – all agreed that the number one aim must be to reduce the dominance of the motor car.

Many, including Dr Will Norman, London’s first cycling and walking commissioner, referred to TfL’s Healthy Streets Approach, a new strategy to help Londoners use cars less and walk, cycle and use public transport more frequently.

Dr Norman explained how TfL’s strategy features 10 indicators which can be used to score a street – the higher the score the ‘healthier’ it is. He explained why, on a ‘healthy street’ people choose to walk, cycle and use public transport – because they feel safe.

Dr Norman added that ‘London faces an inactivity crisis… we need to build activity into people’s daily lives’.

02 May 2017