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Cyclists stream across Blackfriars Bridge as new routes open

On the eve of today’s election that will decide his successor at City Hall, two videos posted to social media yesterday highlight the success of Boris Johnson’s flagship Cycle Superhighways.

The North-South Cycle Superhighway is now open from Elephant & Castle to Stonecutter Street, while the East-West route will be officially opened tomorrow morning.

Posting this video of the North-South route to YouTube, Andrew Larssen said: “In places it feels like it is already nearing capacity - amazing after only 3 days.”

Jono Kenyon of Hackney Cycling Campaign also took a video from the northern end of Blackfriars Bridge, where the two routes intersect, and posted it to Twitter.

In November, Mr Johnson said that pushing through infrastructure such as those two major routes had been the biggest political challenge he had ever faced.

He told Assembly Members: “To be honest, this whole Cycle Revolution, which is really under way, is provoking the most incredible backlash, I’ve got to be honest with you.

“I can’t think of anything I’ve ever done that’s provoked such direct remonstrances from everybody. Virtually every senior government minister in one way or another has ticked me off in one way or another for the Cycle Superhighways.

“And every time they do, I get prouder and prouder of what we’re doing, it’s the right way forward for our great city.”

> Jenny Jones applauds Boris Johnson for taking on opponents on cycling

 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

25 comments

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ragtag [219 posts] 1 year ago
10 likes

What a wonderful sight. It was a lovely day in London too, so that helped bring more people out. Hopefully it will encourage TfL/Mayor to build more.

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Scoob_84 [435 posts] 1 year ago
11 likes

I rode this yesterday this yesterday and it was packed.  Dare i say it (and this is by no means a critasism), its probably not big enough.

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bogbrush [40 posts] 1 year ago
11 likes

It's happening, It's bloody happening! It might just be the weather but London really feels like it's changing for the better.

 

Although it's not a distinction I would usually make, the best thing about this has been that a larger and larger percentage are 'people on bikes' rather than 'cyclists'. Means we're getting over the message that given the right environment it can be the most convenient and fastest method (the deciding factor for most people)

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Jem PT [150 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Wow, and I thought Hyde Park got busy at times.

(but doesn't the person filming go through a red light at a ped crossing on the top video?)

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pakennedy [183 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes
Jem PT wrote:

Wow, and I thought Hyde Park got busy at times.

(but doesn't the person filming go through a red light at a ped crossing on the top video?)

 

Erm... no. I just watched it 3 times because of this comment.

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tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes

Boring rubbish.

 

We booby trap ours in Edinburgh to make the ride more interesting. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAVD4EXb8_M

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cdamian [171 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes

This is just beautiful.

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Duncann [1159 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

I've changed my commuting route just to take advantage of these. They are rather good.

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ibike [166 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes

Absolutely brilliant!

I attended the Blackfriars protest ride in 2011 and never thought I'd see chnage happening so quickly.

Now we need to do this all over the UK!

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congokid [325 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes
ibike wrote:

Absolutely brilliant!

I attended the Blackfriars protest ride in 2011 and never thought I'd see chnage happening so quickly.

Now we need to do this all over the UK!

 

Me too! And I cycled on the Blackfriars Bridge path from south to north just a couple of weeks ago before it was fully open. What a difference it makes!

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alexb [162 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

I used to use the ones in Chicago along the lake shore and they were twice as wide.

These are already looking dangerously overcrowded. However, looking at the numbers - bikes vs cars - it seems like about twice as many bikes go through the junctions as cars. It really does look like a tipping point has been reached.

On a day like this, many of the junctions I use have as many as twenty cyclists waiting to cross.

In the same time, perhaps six cars will cross in one cycle of the traffic lights.

 

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bdsl [201 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Simon MacMichael wrote:

East-West route will be officially opened tomorrow morning

What was the source for that? I looked for an announcement about the opening from TFL but I couldn't find one. I'd quite like to know exaclty when its officially open (even though I've alreayd used it) and what form the official opening will take.

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thereandbackagain [173 posts] 1 year ago
6 likes
congokid wrote:
ibike wrote:

Absolutely brilliant!

I attended the Blackfriars protest ride in 2011 and never thought I'd see chnage happening so quickly.

Now we need to do this all over the UK!

 

Me too! And I cycled on the Blackfriars Bridge path from south to north just a couple of weeks ago before it was fully open. What a difference it makes!

 

Yeah, amazing to think how far things have come. I don't normally travel that way, but I had business in town that meant I used the E-W portion along The Embankment. It's excellent, was being used by loads of people, but the numbers coming North over Blackfriars to get to work took my breath away. SO. MANY. CYCLISTS!

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zanf [966 posts] 1 year ago
9 likes

Can we just get something straight otherwise this will never get resolved: These segregated cycleways are not Johnsons legacy!

For the first 5 years while he was mayor, he would laugh in peoples faces that dare to suggest that we needed to 'Go Dutch' and build segregated cycle paths. He only paid lip service and signed up the Londoners On Bikes and LCC's campaign prior to his re-election.

It was only after 6 cyclists were killed within a fortnight, with public outcry, the renewed and increased pressure from cycling and pedestrian groups, he realised his legacy would be that of the mayor who killed cyclists, that he was was jumpstarted into action.

He has continually avoided doing anything about pollution or about the vast number of collisions that buses have with pedestrians and cyclists.

These cycle lanes are the legacy of those people who have campaigned long and hard for them.

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Mungecrundle [866 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Really great to see this happening in our capital and hopefully will lead to a more open minded approach to similar schemes in other towns and cities throughout the UK especially where public transport alternatives are not so good.

Just to throw 1 turd into the pool of happiness:

How many of these cyclists are using bikes instead of;

A. Their car

B. Public transport

Because if the answer is mostly B then all that has really happened (happy commuters getting some exercise aside) is that revenue has been lost from public transport and the number of car journeys is still the same.

 

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Duncann [1159 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
zanf wrote:

Can we just get something straight otherwise this will never get resolved: These segregated cycleways are not Johnsons legacy!

For the first 5 years while he was mayor, he would laugh in peoples faces that dare to suggest that we needed to 'Go Dutch' and build segregated cycle paths. He only paid lip service and signed up the Londoners On Bikes and LCC's campaign prior to his re-election.

It was only after 6 cyclists were killed within a fortnight, with public outcry, the renewed and increased pressure from cycling and pedestrian groups, he realised his legacy would be that of the mayor who killed cyclists, that he was was jumpstarted into action.

He has continually avoided doing anything about pollution or about the vast number of collisions that buses have with pedestrians and cyclists.

These cycle lanes are the legacy of those people who have campaigned long and hard for them.

You're right that those who fought for them should certainly get the credit - but they needed a political champion. Unlike many other aspects of his mayoralty, Boris delivered.

Many political legacies (good and bad) didn't start out as the ideas of the politician they're attached to - it's just how it goes. 

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Duncann [1159 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes
Mungecrundle wrote:

Really great to see this happening in our capital and hopefully will lead to a more open minded approach to similar schemes in other towns and cities throughout the UK especially where public transport alternatives are not so good.

Just to throw 1 turd into the pool of happiness:

How many of these cyclists are using bikes instead of;

A. Their car

B. Public transport

Because if the answer is mostly B then all that has really happened (happy commuters getting some exercise aside) is that revenue has been lost from public transport and the number of car journeys is still the same.

In London it'll be largely B, since very few people drive to work in the central area. But with population growing at 100,000 a year, freeing up some space on trains, Tubes and buses is no bad thing. Happiness and health are also important.

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a1white [72 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes
Duncann wrote:

I've changed my commuting route just to take advantage of these. They are rather good.

Me too! So much more pleasent than negoitiating Waterloo bridge daily. So happy this has opened.

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Mr. Sheep [60 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

I rode over last night for the first time since it opened - fabulous. Just fabulous.

I expect that the official opening date for E-W has been set to tomorrow morning (if that's correct) as it's after the end of Purdah for the mayoral election, but before the new mayor is announced, giving Boris one last (and, in this case, deserved) hurrah.

Mungecrundle wrote:

How many of these cyclists are using bikes instead of:

A. Their car

B. Public transport

Because if the answer is mostly B then all that has really happened (happy commuters getting some exercise aside) is that revenue has been lost from public transport and the number of car journeys is still the same.

Mostly B for sure, but in London in the morning peak, the vast majority of tube lines are running well over their maximum capacity, as are many bus routes; the more people who can use a different form of transport the better for the network as a whole.

The number of cyclists using CS7 from Kennington to Elephant a couple of years ago was equivalent to two fully loaded tube trains per hour on the northern line in the morning peak (which would be the alternative for the majority of those cyclists). There isn't any way of adding capacity to the northern line - well, Crossrail 2 might help, in 10+ years time and at a cost of £15bn+ - and there certainly isn't space for that many extra people on the existing service.

With the population of London growing rapidly, people cycling frees up public transport space for others who can't / don't want to cycle.

For London, the real problem is "how do we get the absolute maximum number of people from their A to their B", not "how do we get people onto public transport".

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Leviathan [2868 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Those people look like thay are going to get very hot.

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bikebot [2119 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
unconstituted wrote:

Boring rubbish.

We booby trap ours in Edinburgh to make the ride more interesting. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAVD4EXb8_M

You can come down and do that in Croydon if you feel like it.  3

I don't need to travel into town much at the moment, and finding myself at a loose end for a few hours on the bank holiday morning, I went for a very touristy spin whilst London was near deserted.  Apart from the mad EW speed bumps, it really has turned out to be proper infrastructure.

They're important strategic routes, but it's still a small area.  In my area of outer London I sttruggle to name anything that's improved in the last ten years.

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crazy-legs [947 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
bikebot wrote:

They're important strategic routes, but it's still a small area.  In my area of outer London I sttruggle to name anything that's improved in the last ten years.

Yes but what happens in London tends to spread outwards. Eventually. Most areas of the UK are 10-15 years behind London in terms of cycle infrastructure.

I'm fron London originally and I remember my days of commuting up to Waterloo (way before hire bikes, cycle lanes etc) and it being a regular jousting match with buses and taxis, regular gridlocked traffic even back then.

Last time I was in London a few weeks ago I had a free weekday so I deliberately got up early, got the bus up to Oval (nearest hire bike docking station) and then rode the newly opened Oval - Vauxhall cycle route. It was amazing. Really wonderful experience. LOADS of people on bikes. All obeying the lights and traffic signs, all just regular people in regular clothes travelling around by bike. No "lycra louts" or other derogatory media terms.

Build proper infrastructure and people will ride bikes. They'll do it sensibly and they won't jump lights because you know what, there's no need to! They're not trying to escape from a truck blind spot or a taxi in the ASL, they've got their own little space. Long may it continue!

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bikebot [2119 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
crazy-legs wrote:

Yes but what happens in London tends to spread outwards. Eventually. Most areas of the UK are 10-15 years behind London in terms of cycle infrastructure.

 

I'm fron London originally and I remember my days of commuting up to Waterloo (way before hire bikes, cycle lanes etc) and it being a regular jousting match with buses and taxis, regular gridlocked traffic even back then.

Yeah, just emphasising the point that we really haven't won yet, and some are talking as if we have. We've won battles in central London, but in outer London we're still regularly losing. As examples, I'd point to the Norbury Avenue and Loughborough Junction trials which both failed and were both hugely damaging. It's really difficult to argue for filtered roads now, councils are scared of the bikelash.

A lot of hope is being pinned on the minihollands, but so far I think only one might be a success. I'm next to Kingston, which has been woeful, and my instinct is still that the council will bottle it as soon as there's any significant opposition.

BTW, if I head to Waterloo, most of my route is still LCN3. Old infrastructure, though bits are getting upgraded now.

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Jem PT [150 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
pakennedy wrote:
Jem PT wrote:

Wow, and I thought Hyde Park got busy at times.

(but doesn't the person filming go through a red light at a ped crossing on the top video?)

 

Erm... no. I just watched it 3 times because of this comment.

 

Yes, sorry, my mistake. At 28 secs the cyclists coming the other way stop (don't know why) but it is still green for our guy going the opposite way.

I had the pleasure of this route across Parlliament Square this morning.

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Critchio [240 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Good to see and practically everyone in the video I watched is wearing a helmet showing that it's not an issue ever worth debating about now. Good, clean transport, reduces congestion and more importantly helps people stay healthy and trim.