Cycling levels soar thanks to ‘Superhighways’

11.10 | 19 January 2011 | | 3 comments

Cycle journeys have shot up by up to 100% during peak times on the first two Barclays Cycle Superhighway routes, according to Transport for London (TfL).

The pilot lanes run from Merton, south London, to the City and from Barking, east London, to Tower Gateway. They are the first of 12 superhighways earmarked to be in use by the end of 2015.

The blue painted routes have been created to make it safer by, among other measures, widening the lanes and using large ‘Trixi’ mirrors to give drivers a better view of cyclists.

TfL’s figures show that the number of cyclists along the two routes has risen by 70%, with increases of 100% or more on some sections during peak hours.

Research carried out just one month after the launch of the scheme, with people who live near and travel on the pilot routes, found that 34% of non-cyclists surveyed had begun to cycle on the Superhighways.

TfL has installed 39 new safety mirrors at junctions along the pilot routes to help improve visibility for cyclists and other road users. The majority of goods drivers surveyed said they would change the way they used junctions fitted with roadside safety mirrors, and 60% of cyclists said the blue coloured surfacing made them feel safer.

Overall, more than three quarters or respondents said that the routes had improved safety for cyclists.

Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor of London’s transport advisor, said: “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.”

Click here to read the full TfL report.


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    I was wondering if these “Blue Lanes” will still interact with other road users, or are they for exclusive use by cyclists? If they still have to interact we will see an increase in collisions, as more and more of the Lycra squad feel they are invincible on the blue ribbon – If they are totally detached from motorised transport then its a great idea!!

    Steve Barber, Northampton
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    In response to Mr Reynolds’ comment about drivers footing the bill for cyclists, one *could* argue that it is drivers who, by being involved is so many collisions, are the ones who cause the massive financial outlay on road safety measures and collision clean up on an annual basis. Why not, rather than blame the cyclists for causing drivers’ added expense, blame driving attitudes, poor decision making and driver ‘god complex’ for the amount spent on keeping other road users safe from them? Just a thought….

    Iain, Suffolk
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    A fancy new ‘Blue’ road to ride on, and a ‘feeling’ of being safer, fuel costs rising and parking facilities with them and we have a 100% rise in cycling in London. How much is this a misnomer? Safety is not a ‘feeling’, it’s a positive attitude of mind and action, regardless of road colour or conditions. When all the car drivers are priced off the roads, it will still be the non-cycling and non-driving who foot the bill for these novelties favoured by lycra clad helmet wearing whizzers. Excessive street furniture, signalling and signage, pavement build outs restricted turnings and four way signal changing, lane segregation crowding vehicles into ever narrower lanes creating more congestion than necessary have decimated London’s street environments and created hazards that never existed in the fifties. But still the march for more continues. This is not a campaign for Road Safety, it’s war against the driver for which the driver is largely paying for – in more ways than one.

    Derek Reynolds, St Albans
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