While I am all in favour of the excellent cycle hire scheme in London, I am considerably less of a fan of the Barclays Cycle Superhighways, which are gradually emerging in the capital. I’m not against the principal of more cycle lanes – quite the contrary – but these rather grandiose-sounding things, in practice, are nothing of the sort, as this picture demonstrates:
The London cycle “superhighways” are little more than a streak of blue paint on the road, occasionally decorated with Barclays advertising. They do not particularly run to the most popular commuter destinations and many inexplicably stop in the middle of nowhere, usually due to a dispute with borough councils. The lanes are not segregated and there seems to be no penalty for motor vehicles in either entering them or parking across them. They are barely safer than riding on the main road, and the routes that do exist run down some pretty busy main roads. Earlier this year, a young woman was killed riding on one after being forced wide by some roadworks into a busy junction. My experience was similar when riding along one near Greenwich last year, when a black cab swerved into the lane in front of me and stopped to let a passenger disembark.
I understand that there are now plans to add segregation into future CS lanes. My question is – why wasn’t this considered from the start? Was there a political or advertising-driven urgency to get this project off the ground before it was really ready?
London now hosts thousands of cyclists every day, saving millions in fuel, harmful emissions and traffic jams. They deserve better than blue paint on main roads.