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London Launches First Two Barclays Cycle Superhighway Routes

The Mayor of London, Barclays and Transport for London (TfL) launched the first two Barclays Cycle Superhighways, which aim to help significantly increase the number of Londoners choosing pedal power for their daily commute.

Section of a Cycle Superhighway. Click to enlarge.

A key part of the Mayor’s commitment to stimulate a cycling revolution in the Capital, the two pilot routes run from Merton to the City via the A24 and A3, and Barking to Tower Gateway via the A13 and Cable Street.

Around 5,000 cycle journeys are currently made every day on both pilot routes, with TfL aiming to increase this to 27,000 cycle trips a day by 2013.

As well as installing distinctive and highly-visible blue cycle lanes along both pilot routes, at a minimum of 1.5m wide, works completed to make it safer and easier to commute by bike along these routes include:

  • Trialing 37 cycle safety (Trixi) mirrors at junctions along both pilot routes. These mirrors give drivers of large vehicles better visibility of cyclists when preparing to turn left.

  • Introducing 84 new Advanced Stop Lines at least 5m deep at junctions along both routes, providing a space for cyclists to wait at lights ahead of the queue of traffic.

  • Installing new segregated cycle lanes at the Stockwell Gyratory on the Merton to the City route, and upgrading existing segregated lanes at the Elephant and Castle bypass and on Southwark Bridge, Cable Street and the A13.

  • Re-aligning traffic and bus lanes to create more space for cyclists on busy stretches of the superhighways, for example on the southbound section of the A24 at the junction of Kennington Road and Brixton Road.

As part of Barclays Cycle Superhighways, TfL is also providing funding for the eight London boroughs and local businesses along the pilot routes. The money will be used to fund around 5,000 cycle parking spaces, over 17,000 hours of cycle training and more than 3,000 hours of cycle maintenance sessions.

TfL has already installed 300 new cycle parking spaces along both pilot routes to cater for the anticipated increased demand from cyclists using Barclays Cycle Superhighways.

The Mayor and TfL are investing a record £116 million (US$177 million) in cycling in 2010/11 with the money spent on Barclays Cycle Superhighways, Barclays Cycle Hire, infrastructure, training, promotion and education.

You have got to have a powerful and visible statement on the roads that asserts to every Londoner, whether on two wheels or four, that the Capital is a cycling city. The road space is there for everyone and I am confident that our superhighways will help switch legions of Londoners on to the pleasures of a pedal-powered commute.

—The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson

The two pilot routes will allow TfL to test all of the measures for their effectiveness, helping to determine the scope and detailed design of the remaining 10 routes, which will be up and running by the end of 2015.

Work is underway on the design of the next two routes, which will launch in summer 2011 and run from Bow to Aldgate, and Wandsworth to Westminster.



Talk about back to the future. Looks like pictures of London in the 1950s.

The Goracle


Great idea. I would love to do my 20 mile each way commute to work and back by bike rather than by my biodiesel fueled, 50 mpg, VW. But, I have have been yelled at, honked at, given the finger, and worse, while riding on local roads. Some drivers even swerve at bikes trying to get them to get off the road. A biker friend was recently killed by a driver. Many have been hit and badly injured. Until our politicians pass some laws making it illegal to harass and/or run over cyclists, and have actual punishment for said infrtactions, I'll be commuting by car. Funny thing about the cars that harass lately: the vast majority have Obama stickers on them! Figures.



A hundred plus years ago someone came up with a great idea - elevated bikeways;

The time may be right for a modern version;

Will S

Providing a safe means to cycle is the best way to free the population from addiction to oil.


Excellent in theory. Anything that increases mobility choice empowers people.

But what were the sacrifices? I doubt that 1.5m+ of dozens of km of exclusive path came out of nowhere. Less transit space, fewer vehicle lanes, less pedestrian space, demolished buildings or parks, unrealized 'other' urban features?

One of the most fascinating things that came out of exclusive bike lanes (or should they be called non-motorized, alternative movement lanes) in my (non-American) city is the new conflict between pedestrians, cyclists, roller-bladers, fitness enthusiasts, etc. - far more brutal (short of deadly collision - though it has been close) than driver-bike conflicts. Many, many daily incidents of:
- pedestrians pushing cyclists over when they insist on using paths as their personal race training routes - typically traveling, what seems to me, in excess of 30km/hr through fairly dense 'traffic';
- cyclists haranguing pedestrians who string themselves completely across one of these routes;
- cyclists harassing roller-bladers with their long side stride and wide space requirements; and,
- pedestrians conflicting with bladers over their 'close shaves' and high-speed pace.

As someone who does all of the above (incl driving) regularly over a wide variety of surfaces, pop. densities, and distances, there is a certain attitude difference in non-motorized traffic - almost a feeling of entitlement that they may go where they want, however they want, whenever they want. No sense of structure. No sense of being aware of all other users around them. Where as this is far more rare and heavily regulated with motorized traffic (with good reason). And therein lays the problems, an utter disregard, even contempt, for order, rule, and organization. As volumes of cyclists, pedestrians, and other such users start to increase with frequent use of exclusive paths, so will the conflicts. Will we need speed limits, policing, bike registration/licensing, exclusive areas for 'slow traffic' pedestrians within these exclusive non-motorized areas. I think many cyclists will find these new paths not to be their utopian commuting, fitness 'freedom' but the same congested, conflicted, and quite possibly over-regulated situation that motorists have to deal with. No exclusive VIP lanes for you (as i secretly believe that most cyclists believe they are entitled to). Witness many cities in asia where cars are (or were) the minority, not the healthy, fast alternative that most thought they would be.


They interviewed parents in an affluent U.K. town about taking their kids to school by car, it was causing major traffic jams. They said that it was not safe for their kids to walk because of so much traffic. The kids said that they would walk or bike, but their parents would not let them.


I don't think the routes are anything more than a strip of bright blue thermoplastic slapped either onto the existing road surface or meandering stretches around road junctions and footpaths. They don't change anything much and if anything make the streetscene further blighted by an overkill approach to signs, rails, traffic controls and road markings. All of this makes travelling, regardless of mode, more hostile and unwelcoming.

Many towns in the UK have already been blighted by a waste of money on acres of hatching, lines to demarcate 'advisory' cycle lanes, which can incidentally be driven by cars (begging the question why paint them in the first place - a true lane should be demarketed with a solid line). And in the end they are broken up where roads narrow to squeeze between pedestrian refuges, kerb build outs installed also to make streets 'friendlier' to non-motorised traffic.

The UK's approach to 'traffic management' has resulted in turning Britain's streets into engineered obstacle courses and congestions hotspots which brings modes more into conflict with each other more then ever. The whole apporch smacks of tinkering and tokenism and a failure to grasp the nettle of providing a decent transport system where people can walk and cycle safely, get the bus, or if necessary use the car.

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