Cycle “superhighways” looking, well, a bit rubbish *update*
They were billed as the answer to the battle for London’s streets raging between motorists and riders – dedicated lanes to provide cyclists with direct, continuous, safe passage along key commuter corridors.
A dozen “cycle superhighways” like spokes leading to the capital’s hub would bring a slice of Copenhagen to Clapham and beyond as part of Boris Johnson’s pledge to make his city a haven for bikes.
So how’s it going? Not great. The first two routes don’t open officially for another few weeks but long sections have already appeared, painted in a rather garish blue over existing cycle lanes.
Critics say there’s little super about these early highways, as this photo taken this week by Roger Geffen, a campaigner at CTC, the UK’s national cyclists’ organisation, shows.
Geffen had just returned from a trip to global cycling centre, Copenhagen, where, he says, “cyclists are made to feel gloriously welcome on the city’s streets, with wide areas of blue paint to give you clear priority through even the busiest junctions. The blue paint in London leads you into the back of parked cars.”
More damning is this helmetcam video taken in South London. Note how nobody pays attention to the blue lane – cyclists or motorists. Worse still are the riders who undertake the bus in the first few seconds of the video via the pavement. ALWAYS overtake. And if there’s no space, wait, well away from the kerb, or else risk being crushed on the inside.
In the meantime, let us know if you’ve had the pleasure of one of Boris’s superhighways, which are sponsored by Barclays (does that explain the colour?). What did you think?
Blogging cyclist, Paul Battley, identifies two main problems with the first sections of the superhighways.
The second: “The blue paint is invisible at night under the yellow sodium lights. This is basic physics, but didn’t seem to occur to Boris and crew.” Daft if true – we are investigating.
Meanwhile, the excellent New York-based online magazine, Slate, has a piece about superhighways around the world. It takes in Johnson’s blue lines and points out it’s early days for the Mayor’s plans. Even the genuinely super lanes in the Netherlands and Denmark took a time to evolve. Should I cut Boris some slack?
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