Cyclists face £200 fine for riding in Olympic VIP lanes - but you can use the gutter instead

Capital braced for Olympic traffic chaos - unless you're being whisked around town in a limo

by Simon_MacMichael   June 17, 2011  

London 2012 Olympic Stadium credit LOCOG.jpg

London cyclists face being slapped with £200 fines if they ride in lanes reserved for VIPs zipping around the city when it hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games next year, which will affect key routes including the A40, Victoria Embankment and Marylebone Road.

Officially, the 108 miles of roads affected are known as the Olympic Route Network, and are being put in place at a cost of £25 million, reports the London Evening Standard.

Informally, they are known as ‘Games Lanes,’ but a less flattering nickname is being used by politicians including the Green Party’s Jenny Jones – ‘Zil Lanes,’ a nod to the roads given over to the limousines once used to whisk Politburo members around Moscow without fear of being held up by the proletariat.

The Olympic Route Network will be in place from late July until after the Paralympics end in September, and are likely to cause huge disruption during their hours of operation, which are between 6am and 12pm.

They will result in the suspension of pedestrian crossings and bus lanes, right-turns being banned and the phasing of traffic lights to allow 82,000 competitors, officials and members of the world’s media to be ferried around the city as smoothly as possible.

Jim Walker, chairman of the London 2012 active travel advisory group, warned that the existence of the lanes might discourage people from walking or cycling to venues.
“As a walker or cyclist, you want that route to be as pleasant and safe an experience as possible," he explained.

The Evening Standard added that taxi drivers, who also face being barred from the lanes, are thinking about staging a blockade to reinforce their opposition to the plans.

A spokesman for Transport for London told the newspaper: "The network and associated traffic measures will cover around one per cent of London's roads and only operate when absolutely necessary."

That one per cent of the capital’s streets though is focused on some of its busiest routes, however.

The spokesman added that most of the lanes given over to Olympic traffic would be in the middle of the road, meaning that cyclists could carry on riding alongside the pavement.

That sounds to us like a polite way of saying that you’ll have to ride in the gutter, while being squeezed off the road by drivers frustrated with the inevitable delays that the VIP lanes will create.

It also seems like an accident waiting to happen. Let’s hope it doesn’t turn out that way during what should after all be a period of celebration for the city.

14 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I'm up for a Critical Mass blockade to show my anger.
One route goes past my daughters school in Wanstead, which we cycle to and then whichever way I commute into town I have no choice but to cycle in a Games Lane.
Having only got a couple of tickets to the games, I'm livid!!!
Stratford High Street Blockade. 1st Friday of every month.

Ian of Woodford

winprint's picture

posted by winprint [132 posts]
17th June 2011 - 12:33


Just another nail in the coffin for me. I've been against it from the start. It's just a great big promotion junket for people like Seb Coe and a load of politicians. I wish it didn't wind me up but it does.

And I have to say Ian, it's a bit rich applying for tickets and then moaning when you find out that the whole kit and caboodle is going to inconvenience you. I do feel sorry for you in some ways but at least it could be said you are a supporter of the event. What about the hundreds/thousands who will be inconvenienced and have no interset in the games?

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [495 posts]
17th June 2011 - 13:27

1 Like

winprint wrote:
I'm up for a Critical Mass blockade to show my anger.
One route goes past my daughters school in Wanstead, which we cycle to and then whichever way I commute into town I have no choice but to cycle in a Games Lane.
Having only got a couple of tickets to the games, I'm livid!!!
Stratford High Street Blockade. 1st Friday of every month.

I like your idea!

Those that are participating in the Global race will be passing through this are to get to the finish! i'm sure i am and neither of the others competing, will be listening to this stupid rule, cycling to the finish after 18,000miles on the road!!!!!!

David Clark- Competing in the 1st ever Global race, covering 18,000miles in over 20 Countries. 18th February 2012.
While trying to break the following world records at the same time;
- Fastest person to cycle the world
-Youngest person to cycle the wor

posted by David cycling t... [66 posts]
17th June 2011 - 13:43


Luckily my commute does not take me near the Olympic Routes. My wife may have problems on her commute though.

We applied for tickets to BMX events and didn't get any. As BMX is not a major headline sport, I was a little surprised. Most of the people I know who applied for tickets got none in fact. It would've been easier for us to get tickets had we bought them from overseas through friends in germany for instance.


posted by OldRidgeback [2581 posts]
17th June 2011 - 15:01


I hope none of my money is going into the games. It will be a hideous jingoistic load of tosh. Mind you, if I lived down there I'd join you on a Critical Mass ride every morning!

posted by neslon [51 posts]
17th June 2011 - 17:22


Here's hoping police and council officers have better things to do than ticket cyclists.

posted by Evski [23 posts]
17th June 2011 - 18:40


I'd even come down just to join a blockade/mass Devil

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9362 posts]
17th June 2011 - 20:04


I agree. Why should 'bigwigs' get preferential treatment. £200 seems pretty excessive!

We live within 30 minutes ride of the Mountain biking course. 30 minute train ride of the track and less than an hour of the TT and RR course. We haven't got any tickets. I don't know anyone who has been allocated tickets Sad


scarlettandem's picture

posted by scarlettandem [38 posts]
17th June 2011 - 21:23


OMG... It's the f**kingOlympic games? It should not, but it winds me up that someone could be so miserable:

"What about the hundreds/thousands who will be inconvenienced and have no interset in the games?"


London2Paris24: 450km, 24 hours, 5th-6th July 2014

I will miss TdF in Yorskhire!!! Please donate! Big Grin

koko56's picture

posted by koko56 [335 posts]
18th June 2011 - 0:10


We had the same BS in Vancouver I rode my bike like usual and nobody cared. Cars had disruptions tho ...

posted by chickeee [14 posts]
18th June 2011 - 8:07


Believe it or not koko56 lots and lots of people really don't give a stuff about the Olympics. I'd say bikeandy61 underestimated it, there are millions of people who are not interested in the Olympic Games.

Seems like a massive palaver for two weeks of sports that at any other time the vast majority of people wouldn't be remotely interested in. The attraction of the Olympics seems to be that's it's big… so it must be good. The plain fact is that most of it is tedious and boring to everyone but the fans of each particular sport.

At least London gets a nice velodrome out of it I suppose and the Hammers get a new stadium, but personally I'd have been happy if they'd just cut to the chase and spent the money on re-developing that bit of East London without all the Olympic hooplah.

Obviously we'll be covering the cycling though Wink

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
18th June 2011 - 10:58


During the Athens 2004 Olympic Games i cycled the "olympic Lanes" and the Freeways with only the finalk days of the Para Games being pulled over once on the Freeway by a 4star cop with a "grudge" against the "Disabled"!

Was safer on the Freeway than around the suburban streets where the locals were unaware of cycling and walked out onto the street or opened car doors without a thought for passing traffic .

Gridlock in London now means that the whole place will come to a standstill when the Games are on ! Best place for All is on holiday whilst the Games are taking place ! RENT your home to a visitor and profit from their suffering ! Must be thousands that will enjoy a home style holiday in preference to the "hotel Rippoff"that will take place !

Athens had a bed tax that took the YHA daily price from 8euros to 25 euros BUT the tax was even higher on 5 star hotels ! Guess the same will take place in London .

Visit to register to win Continental "goodies" and help Para Athletes !

BE IN IT TO WIN and help others .

Skippy(advocate for "Disabled / Para Sport")@skippydetour. blogging as skippi-cyclist.blogspot & Parrabuddy.blogspot currently on the road with ProTour Grand Tour Events .

skippy's picture

posted by skippy [409 posts]
18th June 2011 - 11:13


Yawn This is going to be two months of upheaval for London. It will be a feeding bonanza for the few and a trial for the many who live and work in our capital city. A display like critical mass will cause some disruption and hit the short term headlines but will not make one jot of difference to the self glorification of the Sebs of this world.

And don't get me started on the legacy benefits........

posted by Posh [47 posts]
18th June 2011 - 12:40


Have to disagree with Tony, I love the Olympics (Summer and Winter) and I'm really looking forward to them.

True, I'm not going to go out of my way to watch archery in the four years in between (although post-Beijing, I did actually have a go at it), and the only time I've watched biathlon post-Vancouver has been while waiting patiently for the cycling to come on Eurosport.

It even took me a while to work out that the nice chap I was chatting to at Paris-Roubaix this year who had the look of a sportsman about him was actually Graham Bell. Oops Smile

The missus and I were in Trafalgar Square to cheer the announcement, and we'll be proud that the eyes of the world will be on our former home city - though living 80-odd miles away now, we'll obviously miss the disruption it's going to cause and which living halfway between the Dome and Greenwich Park we'd no doubt have got caught up in.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [9507 posts]
18th June 2011 - 13:46