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Key milestone in cycling revolution to switch ‘legions of Londoners’ onto bikes

Mayor of London Boris Johnson today launched the first two pilot Barclays Cycle Superhighway routes in London.

Both routes – the CS7 from Merton to the City, and CS3 from Barking to Tower Gateway – are about 12.5km long.

At the launch event at Clapham Common earlier today Boris ducked questions about his private life. He said he had cycled to the launch at "roughly the speed of a French onion seller”, adding that around Elephant and Castle he had overtaken a "young fit muscular chap" in a convertible Peugeot.

The London Mayor said, "I told him he should have been on a bike. Was it not a disgrace that on a beautiful morning like this he was stalled - a single man perfectly young and fit - in traffic travelling some trifling distance across London in a car.”

road.cc’s man in London TR was a marshal on a ride on route CS7 joined by Boris and around 30 people from London authorities, Barclays and other interested parties. He said, “Boris made a point about how the blue of the Superhighways had been carefully chosen so it wasn’t Barclay’s blue or Tory blue. Apparently it's the blue of freedom and the blue of a wonderful new cycling revolution.”

Around 5,000 cycle journeys are currently made every day on the two routes. Transport for London (TfL) aim to increase this to 27,000 cycle trips a day by 2013.

Ten more routes will eventually open, giving cyclists clearly marked, continuous and hopefully safer routes into central London. The Barclays Cycle Superhighways are a key part of the Mayor’s commitment to stimulate a cycling revolution in the Capital.

As well as installing highly visible blue cycle lanes along both pilot routes, at a minimum of 1.5m wide, other completed works on the routes include:

  • trialing 37 cycle safety (‘Trixi’) mirrors at junctions, giving  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
  • realigning 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 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 the Barclays Cycle Superhighways.

Boris Johnson said, “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.

“Alongside Barclays Cycle Hire, these radial routes are set to transform our great city into one where cycling is the first choice for many thousands of Londoners. As well as being good for your health and wallet, encouraging more people to commute to work by bike will in turn help us improve air quality, cut carbon emissions and reduce congestion on the transport network.”

David Brown, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said, “The Barclays Cycle Superhighways aim to offer a comprehensive package to improve the commute for those already cycling to work and encourage many thousands more to join them, with guided cycle rides and cycle training on offer for those wanting a little extra support.”

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.

More information on the pilot routes is available on the Transport for London site.

Lifelong lover of most things cycling-related, from Moulton Mini adventures in the 70s to London bike messengering in the 80s, commuting in the 90s, mountain biking in the noughties and road cycling throughout. Editor of Simpson Magazine (www.simpsonmagazine.cc).