Southwark, London: Kickstarting bicycle friendly communities with Kickstand.

As London’s transportation systems become strained and the capital’s air quality worsens, recent years have seen a drive to create a cleaner, greener more sustainable transport future in the city. As of 2014, Mobycon has acted as a partner to Southwark council to create strategies to improve the experiences of cyclists and get more people behind the handlebars. Ultimately the aim is to create a cycle friendly district of London.

To help achieve this, Mobycon ran Kickstarter Session Master Classes in Southwark. These have been developed to share the best of European bicycling knowledge. Still, some people wonder how the Dutch and Danish approach can work in places where conditions are as different as in they are in the borough of Southwark.

The objective of a Kickstand Sessions is to inspire local actors so they can create conditions where people of all ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, genders and ethnicities cycle everyday. A Kickstand Session is often the first opportunity to get a diverse group of stakeholders into the same room talking to each other for two days, an important step in developing a guiding vision for the future of cycling. We had a group of 40 stakeholders in our Southwark class, including elected officials; borough employees working in housing, economy, transportation planning, and health; cycling advocates; transport operators and local transportation consultants. One reason it works so well to have a diverse group is because our trainers each bring a unique perspective to the subject allowing for a holistic examination of what it takes to become a bicycling community. Classes cover policy, planning, marketing and education.

At the end of the Southwark Kickstand Session, the group had come up with concrete ideas for specific intersections and for the network. They also had a vision, and perhaps most important they took a step toward greater cooperation among diverse stakeholders. A few days after the session, one participant wrote us, “I can’t remember when so many people have had their eyes lifted to our possibilities.” This shared ambition is what will make the next steps possible. We are anxious to see where Southwark goes next!

If you are ready to skip ahead with the Dutch and Danish approach to bicycling, read more hereor contact Angela van der Kloof in Europe, Elizabeth Allingham in Canada or Mary Hudson Embry in the United States.

Why start from scratch when you can take the success and failures of the Dutch and Danish approach and use that knowledge to build your community’s own cycling culture.

Angela van der Kloof

Strategic Advisor

‘Planning, promotion and education for cycling are great tools that contribute to making places thrive, people participate and be healthy, as well as to the quality of the living environment.’