Many cities have taken to organising a car-free day once a year. They close the streets to private traffic, leaving the city free for public transport, cyclists, and pedestrians.

I just found out about London’s feeble effort, the sheer paucity of ambition of which moved me to write this email:


I was full of excitement upon discovering the Hovis London Freewheel. I’m a regular cycle commuter, and the idea of a day to explore the city without lethal cement lorries and idiotic van drivers (and, perhaps, even free of splenetic taxi drivers) filled me with joy.

The headline encouraged me further: ‘BIKES TAKE OVER CAPITAL’. The accompanying text promised that ‘for one remarkable day, many of the capital’s roads will be completely traffic-free and open only to cyclists.’

And then I looked at the map.

A single route between St James’ Park and Tower Bridge hardly constitutes ‘many of the capital’s roads’.

It looks like a demeaning token gesture to me. Other cities have proper car-free days; if you’re not going to do it properly, why even bother?

Yours disappointedly,
Paul Battley.

See the map for yourself.