The traffic and congestion within London has been a significant talking point for a number of years, one of the most viable solutions to this issue was investment to make cycle commuting more achievable for people. As a result, London began work to create its first cycle superhighway in 2010 and by 2011 two cycle superhighways had launched.
Introducing these bright blue cycle superhighways into one of Europe’s busiest cities was always going to be a big challenge, how do you find the space within a city with such little spare room? The answer appeared to be smaller paths, which could be justified as some of the former pedestrians and vehicles would now be on their bikes. However, not everyone agreed with this as there is so much competition for every square meter of land within London, people did not think these cycle superhighways would be successful and compete with the popular cycling culture within Amsterdam for example. Eight years on and the project is finished it was definitely worth the investment as they attract thousands of commuters, on the Blackfriars bridge alone cycles account for 70% of all traffic in a morning peak.
Between 2012 and 2015 there was a change in approach from Transport for London. After various off-street trials they decided to begin segregating cycle lanes from vehicles, implement new road markings and traffic light programmes, as well as this a new ‘better junctions’ programme was launched. Once all of the plans for these changes were finalised and approved the second wave of new and improved cycle superhighways could be built. Throughout this project the designers were adamant to maintain the external roadside curbs, maintaining all of the original path and ensuring greenery was unaffected instead they vowed to reduce the number of vehicle lanes, remove median strips or reduce the width of lanes to achieve the desired outcome.
There is no doubt about it creating these new cycle superhighways within London required significant investment, but they have been justified by the figures relating to them. In peak hours between 7-10 you can expect to see thousands of cyclists passing through these superhighways, some figures relating to this showed that cyclists in the morning peak were:
• 4695 (70% of all traffic) on Blackfriars Bridge (CS6)
• 3608 (52% of all traffic) on Victoria Embankment (CS3)
• 4019 on Kennington Road (CS7), with the highest peak hour flow between 08:00 and 09:00 being 2081 cyclists.
This amount of cyclists on the road during peak hours is only further evidence that fleet operators should be carrying out Safe Urban Driving training.