Road Safety News

Boris outlines revolutionary cycle plans for London

Thursday 7th March 2013

A £913 million plan to revolutionise cycling in London has been unveiled today (7 March) by the capital’s mayor Boris Johnson.

Saying he wanted to “de-Lycrafy cycling”, Mr Johnson outlined plans for a 15-mile cycle route from the western suburbs to Canary Wharf in Docklands and Barking in east London.

The route will include Dutch-style fully segregated cycle tracks along the Victoria embankment and the Westway flyover, among other places.

Under the plan, a range of new cycle routes will open over the next four years, parallel to and named after tube lines and bus routes.

The plans include: a network of ‘Quietways’ (routes on peaceful side streets, running far into the suburbs, and aimed at people put off by cycling in traffic); better segregation between bikes and other vehicles; improvements to existing ‘superhighway’ bus routes; improvements to junctions deemed the least safe for cyclists; encouraging more out-of-hours deliveries by lorries; 20mph speed limits for all traffic on some cycle routes; and an electric bike hire scheme will be trialled.

Mr Johnson said: “I want to de-Lycrafy cycling. I want to make it normal, something for everyone, something you feel comfortable doing in your ordinary clothes. Our new routes will give people the confidence to get in the saddle.

“I do not promise perfection, or that London will become Amsterdam any time soon. But what I do say is that this plan marks a profound shift in my ambitions and intentions for the bicycle.

“The reason I am spending almost £1 billion on this is my belief that helping cycling will not just help cyclists. It will create better places for everyone. It means less traffic, more trees, more places to sit and eat a sandwich.

“It means more seats on the tube, less competition for a parking place and fewer cars in front of yours at the lights. Above all, it will fulfil my aim of making London's air cleaner.”

The IAM gave the plans a cautious welcome but added that they do not go far enough.

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “We welcome this announcement particularly the changes to junctions and the segregated cycle paths. But any plan must improve safety for all roads and not just cycle super highways.

“Poor driver and rider behaviour occurs all over the capital and to limit the improvements to main cycling routes does not go far enough.”

The London Road Safety Council welcomed the prospect of better segregation in the belief that it will also improve the safety of pedestrians.

Cllr Maurice Groves, executive chair of the London Road Safety Council,  said: “Currently many young and unconfident cyclists will ride on the pavement rather than the road, even where there is an on road cycle margin. This in turn adds to the danger that pedestrians face, and so this measure is likely to boost the safety of both road users.

“Our members are looking forward to continuing their support to the cycling revolution through training the public. Many councils run schemes that teach people to ride as well as how to become proficient on the roads.”


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I'm all for these plans. It will encourage people to cycle more, especially with short journeys. I really don't see why everyone doesn't have a cycle.
Mark Crosby, Southend-on-Sea

Agree (0) | Disagree (1)

Thank you Idris,

If a bicycle takes up more space than a bus or train passenger, then it would be a good thing that they would be riding on a separate carriageway or lane, therefore freeing up space for the remaining, single occupancy motor vehicles, each taking up 5 x the space of a wobbly bicycle, thereby improving traffic flow, but more importantly the safety of road users.
Steve, Merseyside

Agree (4) | Disagree (0)

Thanks Steve. I don't overlook those points at all. My concern is purely arithmetical and geometrical, (a) the number of relatively slow-moving cyclists each taking more area than bus or train passengers cannot contribute enough towards the people movement to overcome the adverse effects of taking space from vehicles and complicating junctions.
I have no detailed analysis as I have no data, it's just that it seems self-evident. That cycling might be enjoyable healthy - for those who survive it - is irrelevant to my assessment. If someone has done the sums and I am mistaken, fine, but it would not be the first time by any means that policy has been based on wishful thinking in ignorance or even in defiance of the facts.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (1) | Disagree (7)

What you do seem to be neglecting Idris is that improved cycle facilities will overcome the barrier to cycling that many face at the moment - that of fear of motor vehicles. With this barrier out of the way, many more will take to the bicycle lanes, leaving more space for buses, relieving congestion somewhat. For evidence - look at countries that have been planning for people rather than motor vehicles such as Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany.
Steve, Merseyside

Agree (6) | Disagree (2)

On further consideration: Cyclists and wobble room take up many more square feet than do rail or bus passengers and travel at a fraction of the speed. Buses and cars limited to 20mph will increase journey times and therefore congestion while reducing passenger miles per day, putting up costs and in due course fares. This will be made worse - unless the planners have found a new way of creating land - by existing roads being made narrower and in bad weather the cycle tracks will be little used but remain unavailable to other traffic. Junctions will be nightmares.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (4) | Disagree (19)

Them trouble with his £1bn scheme is that it cannot possibly cover more than a very small fraction of the routes that cyclists need to follow. That the danger and other problems will remain on most routes most of the time surely mean that the scheme's benefits will remain limited.

Has anyone done a cost/benefit estimate for this plan? If so might we see it before contracts are agreed?
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (4) | Disagree (14)