How far people are willing to travel is the same everywhere
2/3rds of the journeys that Londoners make by car are under 5 km (3 miles) in length. Half of these car journeys are less than 3 km (2 miles) in length and a third of the total are under 2 km (1.25 miles) in length.
Clearly Londoners don't use cars just because they have long distances to travel. They use cars because they find them to be a convenient and safe way to make their journeys.
The reasons why people travel are the same everywhere
It turns out that Londoners use cars in much the same way as the Dutch people use bicycles. TfL says that "on an average day, the typical London resident aged 16+ makes 0.73 trips per day by car as a driver and 0.23 trips per day as a passenger". This is not far off the average 0.8 trips per day by bicycle by the Dutch (top cities in The Netherlands have up to 1.4 trips per day by bike).
|Londoners use their cars for almost exactly the same purposes as the Dutch use their bicycles|
|Figures for the whole of The Netherlands for all journey types.|
Source: Fietsberaad "Cycling in The Netherlands"
I think we all know the answer by now. Cycling in heavy traffic on roads which even now continue to be designed primarily to benefit motorists over cyclists is simply not for everyone. When roads are closed for events so that people can ride without the low subjective safety which results from "sharing" with motor vehicles, tens of thousands of people turn up to ride bikes.
Most people will not take part in something that feels like an extreme sport just to pick up shopping. They just want to get to their destination and back again as easily as possible. Rather than expecting people to cycle despite conditions, a second revolution on Dutch streets in the 20th century removed motor vehicles and enabled comfortable and convenient cycling.
Continue to second post today from the same data: What happens when Londoners have children
TfL link courtesy of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain.