经济学人:骑行在伦敦 车轮上的野心
日期:2015-02-16 15:51



Cycling in London


Wheel ambition


Gradually, the capital is becoming a better place for cyclists


TWO things are commonly seen atop the head of Boris Johnson, London's mayor: a mop of unruly, peroxide-blond hair and a cycling helmet. Since coming to office in 2008 Mr Johnson has tried to make London a better city for two-wheeled transport. He has been only partly successful. But on February 4th Transport for London, the city's road and rail authority, signed off on two “cycle superhighways” that will be the mayor's most visible legacy to his city.


Cycling in London is less pleasant than in many European cities. Main roads teem with lorries; winding back streets are hard to navigate. The number of bicycle journeys has nonetheless doubled since 2000. Nationally, just 2% pedal to work. In Hackney, in London's East End, fully 9% do. But the capital's cyclists mostly seem to resemble Mr Johnson. Only 2% of women cycle to work in London, compared with 5% of men. Blacks and other ethnic minorities are reluctant to do it, too.


The mayor oversaw the introduction of a bike-hiring scheme, which was started by his predecessor but quickly became known as the “Boris bike”. He pushed for bright blue cycle paths on some busy roads. But the new cycle highways are far more ambitious and permanent. One will run east-west through the City and the West End. Another will run two miles from Elephant and Castle in the south to Farringdon in north London.Four existing routes will also be improved, while around 30 of the city's busiest junctions will be made a bit less perilous.


The new superhighways ought to be much safer than London's existing cycle lanes. A raised pavement will keep cyclists away from cars and lorries. Junctions will be redesigned and some parking bays—including a few for the disabled—will be removed. Cars will be prevented from turning down certain streets. Similar schemes exist elsewhere: since 2007 around 30 miles of protected cycle lanes have been created in New York. In Amsterdam, where lanes have existed for decades, old people and women are far more inclined to cycle.


Greens have long lobbied for cycle paths on the grounds that moving people out of cars cuts air pollution. A series of highly publicised accidents, including one involving a newspaper journalist, and several deaths in the city have also put pressure on the mayor to make London safer.


And the social transformation of the capital has encouraged officials to smile on cyclists. The population of inner London is rebounding as affluent folk move in (see article). The new inhabitants want cleaner streets and fewer cars, which are viewed as suburban. Cycling was once a means of transport for the poor. But it has become an important marker of an affluent world city, argues Isabel Dedring, the deputy mayor for transport. “There's more pressure on cities to be nice places to live,” she says.

伦敦的社会变革也促使政府官员对骑行者展露笑颜。随着富人的搬入,伦敦中心的人口数正在回升。新的居民想要更干净的街道和更少的汽车,这看起来更像郊区。骑自行车曾是穷人的交通方式。但这已变成了富裕的国际都市的一个重要标志,交通部副部长伊莎贝尔·黛德林如是说。她表示:“城市面临的更大压力是如何变得更宜居。”译者:王颖 校对:胡雅琳



1.reluctant to 不甘心情愿做

We were reluctant to start the long trudge home.


Scientific institutions have been reluctant to take corrective action.


2.seem to 似乎

I seem to fritter my time away at coffee mornings.


He rubbed and rubbed but couldn't seem to get clean.


3.push for 急切、强烈地要求

In its push for economic growth it has ignored projects that would improve living standards.


He and Dermott Reeve almost made a complete pig's ear of the final push for victory.


  • ambitiousadj. 有雄心的,有抱负的,野心勃勃的
  • predecessorn. 前辈,前任,原有事物
  • affluentadj. 富裕的 n. 支流
  • castlen. 城堡 v. 置于城堡中,(棋)移动王车易位
  • ambitionn. 雄心,野心,抱负,精力 vt. 有 ... 野心,
  • resemblevt. 相似,类似,像
  • authorityn. 权力,权威,职权,官方,当局
  • pressuren. 压力,压强,压迫 v. 施压
  • unrulyadj. 难控制的,无法无天的,任性的
  • transformationn. 转型,转化,改造