Coroner to question safety of London's blue cycle superhighways

Blue paint "confusing" and gives cyclists false sense of security, court hears

The coroner investigating two fatalities on a controversial London Cycle Superhighway will question whether its characteristic blue paint contributed to their deaths.

Coroner Mary Hassell will deliver a narrative verdict on the death of Brian Dorling, 58, who was killed at Bow roundabout on Barclays Cycle Superhighway 2 (CS2) in October 2011, based on evidence from the previous two days.

Charlie Lloyd, Campaigns Officer for London Cycling Campaign, told BikeRadar that Hassell, who today hears evidence from the death of 20-year-old French student Philippine De Gerin-Ricard, at the western end of CS2 at Aldgate in July this year, will also deliver a 'prevention of future death' report combining evidence from both cases.

Lloyd, who has attended the hearings, said the coroner described the characteristic blue cycle lanes integrated in road lanes as a "security blanket" that does nothing to protect cyclists' safety.

Lloyd said: "One of her main concerns was the use of blue surfacing which looks like a bicycle lane but isn't a bicycle lane [and] leads to confusion. 

"Cyclists feels safe on it and definitely aren't."

Lloyd also added there are sections of blue lane on CS2 where motorists have no choice but to drive over the designated bike path. "[Drivers] tend to disregard it and they don't see the purpose – they're confused by it," he said. 

Four Barclays Cycle Superhighways are already open, with a further eight planned to be opened by 2015.

Lloyd said pressure was building on Transport for London (TfL), which could have consequences for the plans and construction of the new lanes and the appearance of existing routes.

TfL was criticised yesterday by Brian Dorling's widow, Debbie. In a statement, she said: "It’s only after Brian’s death that TfL have seen fit to act to change the junction’s layout so that vulnerable road users such as cyclists are given priority over larger vehicles, which would otherwise pose them a greater risk."

TfL are also expected to make an announcement on the redevelopment of CS2 shortly.

"We're expecting something to happen there but we don't know what," said Lloyd.

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