Monday, 8 June 2009

Boris’s ‘cycle super-highways’

The A104, junction with the A112, heading east. Spot the cycle lane leading to the Advanced Stop Line for cyclists.

There was an election coming up and things were looking a bit rocky for the Labour candidate. Suddenly, out of a hat, came a shiny white rabbit!

London is likely to become one of the most cycle-friendly places in the world, with a series of two-wheeler superhighways cutting a swath through traffic and congestion.

It was going to be massive.

Mayors come and go but cycle dreaming is forever.

From May 2010, two corridors of cycle lanes will lead from south Wimbledon to Bank and Barking to Tower Hill.

But Transport for London (TfL)
admitted much of the route would not be covered by the lanes through lack of space.

Across the cycling community there is widespread cynicism.

The Cycle Superhighways are in fact glorified cycle lanes painted a distinctive blue in the hope that drivers will give cyclists the same priority they give pedestrians using Zebra crossings.

The Mayor has a lot of power but on London’s roads he often has to share that power with local authorities. It was noticeable that TfL's Friday ‘cycle-superhighways’ press release was immediately followed by a bucket of cold water from the body representing London's boroughs:

London Councils welcomes the initiative to encourage more people to cycle but is calling for assurances from TfL that:
- It will work with all the boroughs on the pilot routes to find the best way of implementing each cycle superhighway
- Sufficient funding is provided by TfL to the boroughs to make sure the cycle superhighways are of good quality and can be well maintained in the future
- The implementation of the highways will be accompanied by support for measures to improve safety for cyclists on surrounding roads. Concerns about road safety and a lack of cycle parking are two issues which deter people from getting on their bikes.

There’s a great deal of sour commentary on cycle comment threads. Two that stand out are these:

Reading the details…why should ASLs be relevant? So it is little more than a rebranding of existing infrastructure with minor additions to improve continuity (rather like the NCN).

The much heralded "cycle super-highways" are already starting to look like a cobbled-together compromise, with the best bits matching Camden/Holborn's ludicrous "two-way" lanes, rather than anything you'd see on the continent.

As far as the London Borough of Waltham Forest is concerned, we don't get a cycle super-highway. Presumably things are so good here already we don't need one.

(Below) Ironically, this projection shows a bus in the blue cycle super-highway. No different to how things are now, then. And the cyclist is decked out in a bright yellow luminous jacket because, after all, blue is a very difficult colour for drivers to notice.