Transport for London (TfL) has revealed that the number of journeys made on the first two Barclays Cycle Superhighways has doubled on some stretches of the routes during rush hour.
Overall, the number of people riding on the two routes, from Merton to the City and Barking to Tower Gateway, rose by a combined 70% in October 2010 compared to a year earlier, prior to the introduction of the Cycle Superhighways.
The South West London route saw a 50% increase in cyclist numbers, while the one in East London achieved a more than two-fold increase.
The Mayor of London’s Transport Advisor, Kulveer Ranger commented: “It is great to see that the first two Barclays Cycle Superhighways are well on the way to achieving our goal to increase cycling in the Capital.
“This research shows that people do believe the routes are of value, make them feel safer and are allowing them to take direct and continuous routes into central London."
Ashok Sinha, Chief Executive of London Cycling Campaign (LCC), said: “LCC is delighted to hear that more Londoners are taking to two wheels because of the new Barclays Cycle Superhighways.
“Our members will continue to work with Transport for London to build on this positive result, so that we can further increase the quality of provision in the next set of routes and attract yet more Londoners to this healthy, environmentally-friendly and enjoyable way to travel.”
The Cycle Superhighways have not been without their critics, however, with drawbacks highlighted including the fact that they are too narrow and often have vehicles parked on them as well as the routes following busy main roads.
Indeed, just before Christmas, hot on the heels of a Transport for London report on travel in the capital that claimed that the two pilot Cycle Superhighways had been a success, a separate report from the Greater London Assembly recommended that lessons be drawn from those two initial routes, outlining a series of recommendations that should be incorporated into the other planned routes.
Those recommendations included:
- all the blue cycle lanes to be 2 metres wide and mandatory
- all the advance stop lines to be 5 metres deep
- all parts of the routes which are one-way to be made two-way for cyclists
- all junctions on each route to be improved
- 20 mph speed limits to be introduced for all busy sections and
- a Met Police Cycle Task Force enforcement campaign for each cycle superhighway when launched.
For its part, TfL says that it has worked on improving the safety of cyclists along the routes of the two pilot Cycle Superhighways in the first six months since their launch, including:
- 40 kilometres of new or improved cycle lanes
- 94 new or improved Advance Stop Lines (ASLs) at least five meters deep
- 46 signalised junctions improved to provide quicker journey times and create more space for cyclists
- 39 safety mirrors installed at junctions along the pilot routes
- 2,372 new cycle parking spaces installed to date in partnership with boroughs and local businesses
- 1,362 extra cycle training hours delivered
David Brown, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, claimed: “This research clearly shows that Barclays Cycle Superhighways are meeting the objectives we set out to achieve. Work has already started on the next two Barclays Cycle Superhighways providing cyclists with direct and reliable cycle routes into London.”
Those two routes will come into operation this Summer, taking cyclists from Bow to Aldgate (CS2) and Wandsworth to Westminster (CS8), with a further eight due to follow.
He continued: “TfL is also working closely with the relevant London boroughs and a whole range of interested parties to ensure that we maximise every opportunity to improve the cycle commute for those already using these routes, and attract many more thousands of Londoners to join them.”
Deanna Oppenheimer, Vice-Chair, Global Retail Banking, CEO Western Europe and CEO UK Retail Banking at Barclays, sponsor of the Cycle Superhighways as well as the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme, added: “Increasing transport capacity is important for investment and jobs in London."
She added: "With new cyclists using Barclays Cycle Superhighways, existing cyclists increasing their time on the roads of the Capital, and the cycling business industry continuing to see investment, this is evidence of the success of the first two pilot routes.”
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.