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.”