Cycling Crossrail: First of many bumps in the road

Artist's impression of dedicated cycle lane Westminster Council turned down a cycling superhighway in 2008 because of blue paint

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On Thursday we were given some details of how the future could look for cycling in London.

It received a rapturous welcome from cyclists who have fought a long campaign for these improvements.

Much of the detail had been outlined previously by Transport for London (TfL) - such as a grid of cycle routes and the junction review - although the really eye-catching addition is the east-to-west "Crossrail for bikes".

Reputed engineers have told me that scheme could cost around £15m.

Looking at what details we have, you quickly get an indication of how this is very early days in that scheme.

Below the Westway

Much has been made of a cycle way going on top of the A40 but there are actually plans for a cycleway to go below the Westway from Westbourne Park to Paddington.

Could we end up with one cycleway above the other?

You would think not, but it shows you at what stage the authorities are in talking to each other.

Also, the centre piece of the announcement was a CGI fly-through along Victoria embankment including blue, segregated cycle lanes.

But the route actually goes through a conservation area of historical importance.

Westminster Council turned down a cycling superhighway in 2008 due to the very same blue paint we see in the CGI.

It is still not keen on blue paint and already has concerns about the fly-through model put forward by TfL.

Rushed out

Critics say by putting out a rushed idea - that's already been rejected - it shows the scheme has been given little thought.

Westminster Council said the segregated lanes will have to fit in with the surroundings, so blue is probably out.

Councils are meeting TfL next week to start work on the detail and to start having an input.

Speaking to Sunday Politics London, Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan said: "We are not doing the blue.

"There's blue in that video graphic (you showed) but that's just because we didn't have time to remove it....

"It's not going to be blue. It's because we consulted with them (Westminster Council) they are remarkably signed up."

Cyclists want change quickly but this scheme will be welcomed when they are delivered.

Many experienced campaigners know this is just the beginning of a long process so patience will be required.

The hope is the central section will be finished by 2016.

For the full interview with Andrew Gilligan watch Sunday Politics London on 10 March at 11:00 GMT.

Tom Edwards, Transport correspondent, London Article written by Tom Edwards Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

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  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    I walk, drive and cycle regularly and have seen the bad on all "sides". In my old age I am favouring a zero tolerance approach to enforcement and some sort of "jay walking" law too. Road users who make minor mistakes - no indicators, undertaking, cycling on pavements etc. - are also the most likely to be a danger to others. If the rules are wrong then try to change them, don't ignore them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Cycling exists is a netherworld between the self-regulated anarchy of the pedestrian and the law-regulated world of the car. Are cyclists pedestrians with wheels or cars without motors? There-in lies the tension.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Cyclists ride on pavements? Complete mystery why one would?

    Fact is it is cars that kill - in world trade centre tower numbers of innocent dead in this country each year (no, maybe not you, but I don't ride on pavements either).

    Respect, yes absolutely. But hearing motorists pontificating about regulating cyclists is like the NRA in US arguing for laws on schoolboys pocket knives?

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    I got hurt riding in Rainham on the A13 towards Southend 20+ years ago. Head down, I was riding hard doing perhaps 25 MPH when a motorist wanting to turn left, misjudged my speed, passed me to my right then braked really late just in front of me without indicating and swept left. The a***hole didn't stop either leaving me with abrasions on the floor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    I drive through central London and I am keen on segregated lanes.Cyclists should be trained/registered and display a registration number on helmets so they can be tracked and held responsible for poor cycling (ignoring red lights, cycling over crossings when in use, using headphones, cycling on pavements, going the wrong way along roads). Promoting respect means equalising responsibility.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Blue helps navigate and raise sponsorship but otherwise as stated earlier is slippy and does not deter car drivers. Main thing is to be segregated. As for Westminster Council another dead cyclist is progress to them. By the way a lot of cyclists are members of cycling groups that give 3rd party insurance as part of their membership.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Good more being done for cyclists but it should be compulsory to wear helmets, lighting and some form of insurance, they want to use the road like others then they should accept being responsible.

    Many times ive been cut up by cyclists on pavements, jumping red lights and crossings.

    As for the blue its garish but does match the Barclays colours, if its to help shortsighted get some glasses

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    I commute by bike every day in London and have done for 20 years. I am concerned that the planned bike lane is 2 way. This is dangerous when used by large numbers of cyclists because overtaking leads to the potential for head on collision. Slow cyclists lead to backing up behind and people become impatient. If it was a 2 way cycle lane I would actively avoid using it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    I'm not super keen on the blue and I came off my bike and broke my hand on the paint on Cable Street, as it's slick paint on a smooth pavement, so gets very slippy in the wet.

    Segregated lanes make cyclists safer, the situation in Holland shows this. If we made London like Amsterdam more people would cycle and we wouldn't be waiting until 2025 for London to meet pollution targets.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    There's always someone trotting out the old chestnut of Road Tax, helmet, and hi-viz.
    Amsterdam and Copenhagen, the 2 most bike friendly cities require none of these and get along fine.
    And a little research would show that drivers suffer more head injury than cyclists.

    What's really needed is a drastic change in driver education and accountability.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    As I understand it, this is an pale attempt to salvage the slow and dog-legging bits of the London Cycle Network, an almost useful scheme that only failed because the signage consisted of a single number, without distances or directions and little to tell cyclists where each route went. As for the Westway, it's already segregated.

    This cyclist, for one, is a very long way from rapturous.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Segregated cycle lanes are a waste of money. These lanes are used for an hour in the morning and then an hour in the evening - the rest of the time they are empty. The segregated cycle lane along Torrington Place in Camden is an expensive, unused furrow for most of the day (and night). The money would be better spent improving accident hot-spots and dangerous junctions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Insurance, David, really? Odd, it's usually tax. Interested how you propose to enforce - not least with your (or any other) little kids? OK, then why not helmets for all road users - motorists, passengers, pedestrians? Equally, surely all vehicles painted high viz?

    Meanwhile, genuinely promising proposals. Just hope Mr Gilligan's done more homework than his last contribution to public life?

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    OK, get the cycle lanes up and running BUT on condition that a law is passed to make cyclists have insurance, just as motorists have to, AND the law requires all cyclists to wear head safety wear AND high visibility jacket

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    The blue colour is an attempt to make cycle lanes visible to short sighted drivers. If they are fully segregated as at Westminster the blue colour is not needed.



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