Video casts doubt on effectiveness of London's Cycle Superhighways

"The great cycle superhighway farce" – yes, the clue's in the title

by nick_rearden   April 19, 2010  

London Cycle Super Highway Vid

While Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and his advisors may trumpet the coming of London's first two Cycle Superhighways - many among London's cycling community remain underwhelmed by the new routes - among them the influential blog Crap Cycling & Walking in Waltham Forest which has posted a video (watch it below) detailing some of the shortcomings of the test infrastructure already in place for the new Superhighways.

The film, headlined "The great cycle superhighway farce" and shot by poster gaz545 takes in selected highlights of a stretch of the A24 Route 7 passing through Balham and Tooting and points out, apart from various bus drivers' indescretions, how little difference the lane has made and mostly that with buses jammed in it, cyclists are tempted to flow around onto the pavement. The other thing it graphically demonstrates is how many cyclists are already using this route.

At the end of his short film gaz454 concludes, "It's great that this is being provided for cyclists but these test junctions clearly show that better thinking is needed."

Freewheeler, who writes the Crap Cyling & Walking in Waltham Forest blog gives a typically more biting assessment,"Cycling in London is going nowhere with joke infrastructure like this."

Work started on the two pilot Cycle Superhighway routes along the A3 coming in to the City from the south west and on the A13 to the east in February. The two routes are due to open in May and the Mayor and his transport advisers have invested a great deal of their credibility in them. TfL has been trialling the new continuous blue cycle lanes through the three junctions filmed here for a number of weeks. The trials are designed to see how cyclists and other road users respond to the new lanes and test going through signal-controlled junctions. This video would suggest that how cyclists and other road users behave in the approach to junctions also needs some attention, too.

gaz454's video will further fuel debate between those that say what London's cyclists really need is a change in attitudes by other road users - backed up by stricter law enforcement and those that argue an infrastrucure project like the Cycle Superhighways are needed to lure potential cyclists on to bikes. What should be beyond dispute is that any new infrastructure needs to be well designed and to work – a point reinforced by the response to road.cc's recent poll on the subject.

12 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Cycling on the footway as shown in this video is illegal

It is illegal because it is dangerous under a lot of circumstances.

Are buses supposed to block these "superhighways"? If so they are utterly useless

vorsprung's picture

posted by vorsprung [295 posts]
19th April 2010 - 15:00

4 Likes

Quote:
Cycling on the footway as shown in this video is illegal

doesn't seem to be any quicker either, they just seem to be bimbling along at the same speed as the bus Thinking

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7492 posts]
19th April 2010 - 15:02

3 Likes

This looks no different to any other main road in London. Honestly can't see how these lovely blue cycle lanes are any different to their borderline useless green counterparts.

posted by nikshah [8 posts]
19th April 2010 - 15:23

2 Likes

hopefully the blue bits are painted on the road better than the green bits near me in Kingston are - they're so ridged and bumpy that I ride on the smooth road on the outside of them. Angry

posted by the-yorkshire-p... [180 posts]
19th April 2010 - 16:33

2 Likes

sorry, mild rant warning - but i do struggle to be sympathetic whenever a Londoner complains about transport infrastructure. Try living in any other part of the country and their eyes will be opened. and this negativity about the blue route seems to miss the point that its not even finished yet.

posted by eddie11 [81 posts]
19th April 2010 - 19:19

3 Likes

I don't live in London either eddie11 (okay I did for 30 odd years though) but the complaint here is that a fair amount of money is potentially being wasted - the cycle superhighways may not be finished but these sections are there to see how cyclists and other road users will behave on it when it is – and remember a fair number of people, possibly even the majority won't ride the entire length of it anyway.

Plus it does seem to be plainy daft - possibly even a waste of blue paint – to think that simply painting a bit of a bus lane, on a narrow road, blue will somehow create extra space for cyclists when it very obviously won't.

The other downer of having loads of money sent on poor cycling infrastructure is that other road users will expect you to use it - that might actually be worse than having no infrastructure.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4160 posts]
19th April 2010 - 20:19

3 Likes

Try a Dutch "fietsroute+" or a "fietssnelweg" if you want a real cycle superhighway.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1376 posts]
19th April 2010 - 23:13

2 Likes

I cycle along this route every day and to be honest I haven't noticed the slightest bit of difference to the attitude of other road users towards me on my bicycle. I so want to believe that this will work but at the moment it just looks like pretty blue markings on the tarmac.

It's not just about the size of your cog.

TRs Blurb n Blog's picture

posted by TRs Blurb n Blog [270 posts]
20th April 2010 - 17:15

3 Likes

I'm in Munich at the moment, which has great cycling routes. it makes London look very poor by comparison.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2302 posts]
21st April 2010 - 6:54

1 Like

Quote:
this negativity about the blue route seems to miss the point that its not even finished yet

unless finishing it involves some road widening it's hard to see how it's going to improve matters. if you paint a blue line on a road that's not wide enough for a segregated lane, then a blue line's all you've got. it seems fairly pointless. Bristol's taken a lot of stick for its inability to come up with the goods to match their cycling city status but fair play: the routes they've built so far are proper, dedicated routes in a lot of cases.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7492 posts]
21st April 2010 - 8:38

3 Likes

OldRidgeback wrote:
I'm in Munich at the moment, which has great cycling routes. it makes London look very poor by comparison.

were you ash cloud affected?

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4160 posts]
21st April 2010 - 11:47

3 Likes

The Real Cycling Blog has a nice post on the SuperHighways.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1376 posts]
26th April 2010 - 14:29

2 Likes