Women’s cycling campaigners, local business owners, councillors, cyclists, and cycling instructors across London have signed an open letter calling for Sadiq Khan to immediately cancel proposed 100% cuts to in-person cycling training. Amidst the cost of living crisis, the proposed cuts would mean an end to cycling instructors’ main source of income. Cycling instructors also say cuts represent a major backstep in tackling the climate crisis, as well as breaking down social barriers to cycling.
Mariam Draaijer, Cycling Instructor, said: “For the last 4 years, I’ve worked mostly with women from the BAME community. After our funding was cut in half last year, the proposal to scrap cycling training altogether will have a devastating effect on our livelihoods and on the people we work with. These cuts will disproportionately impact women as they are the main group of people who access adult cycle training. We have families to support. Many of us have already left the industry, and many more will not be able to stay in this industry another term without enough work.”
Cycling instructors launched a campaign over 50% TfL cuts in October last year, staging a protest outside of city hall. Following the campaign, the IWGB successfully secured over £125,000 of funding for cycling instruction underwritten by the Haringey, Waltham Forest, and Hammersmith & Fullham boroughs.
Cycling is the greenest, healthiest form of transport. Transport is the UK’s largest polluting sector, accounting for 27% of the UK’s total emissions. Cycling instruction has been proven to increase the number of cyclists on the road.
Recent figures from TfL show women and low-income people are underrepresented in cycling. Without in-person cycling instruction, these trends are likely to widen. Instructors are also calling the move a major economic misstep. According to TfL’s own report, every £1 spent on cycling returns £13 to the economy.
Yesterday’s open letter – addressed to Sadiq Khan, Seb Dance, Will Norman, Grant Shapps and Andrew Gilligan – has been signed by nearly 300 people including women in cycling campaigners JoyRiders Britian and Cycle Sisters, nearly 100 cycling instructors, and Councillor Jo Rigby.