Support for Cycle Superhighways reiterated as Boris Johnson rejects call to introduce partial segregation

Nine in ten Londoners, including non-cyclists, would feel safer riding a bike in their city if fully segregated cycle lanes were put in place, say campaigners Cycling Works London. Their reiteration of support for the infrastructure came as Mayor of London Boris Johnson rejected calls to dispense with full segregation on the planned East-West Cycle Superhighway.

Last month, Cycling Works London, which has co-ordinated expressions of support for the proposed infrastructure from more than 150 employers in the city, commissioned a poll from YouGov of 1,002 of the capital’s residents, most of whom do not currently ride a bike in Central London.

People were asked: “Thinking about different types of cycle lanes, how much safer would the following make you feel about cycling or cycling more in London?” The options given were painted lanes, rumble strips, light segregation (ie plastic wands), and full kerb segregation.

They were asked to rate how much safer they believed each of those types of segregation would make them feel, with answers comprising “much safer,” “a little safer,” “not very much safer,” “not at all safer” and “don’t know.”

Just 10 per cent of respondents said that painted lanes or rumble strips would make them feel much safer, while the percentage for light segregation was 15 per cent.

More than half of respondents, 56 per cent, said that full kerb segregation would make them feel much safer, however.

Including responses from those saying such infrastructure would make them feel a little safer, and filtering out the “don’t knows,” almost nine in ten respondents, 87 per cent, said that full segregation would make them feel safer cycling in London.

Support was roughly equal between men and women, while by age 25-39-year-olds emerged as the group most in favour.

Cycling Works London said: “The perception of safety is the single greatest obstacle to increased cycling in London.

"If any politician, council or business is serious about increasing active travel, then the only solution is the delivery of kerb-protected routes on main roads.

"There simply is no amount of training or marketing that will have the same impact as basic, proven, kerb protection.”

The organisation’s survey results were first published last month and found that 64 per cent of Londoners supported the planned Cycle Superhighways even if they took away traffic lanes from motor vehicles, while just 24 per cent were against the proposals.

Rejecting the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry appeal for the East-West Cycle Superhighway to be semi rather than fully segregated, a spokesman for Mr Johnson said yesterday: “The Mayor is of the strong view that segregation will save cyclists’ lives and that semi-segregation would not save any more road space.”

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.