Cycle Superhighways – not superficial highways

London Cycling Campaign pressures Mayor Boris Johnson

London Mayor Boris Johnson is coming under pressure to deliver on his Cycle Superhighways promise

London Cycling Campaign is petitioning Mayor Boris Johnson to ensure that London’s planned ‘Cycle Superhighways’ come up to scratch. They are appealing to all cyclists to sign their petition to gain as much support as they can.


BikeRadar reported on the announcement of the first Superhighway pilot schemes back in June and it seems many of the same concerns are still hovering over their implementation, despite Mayor Johnson’s enthusiastic words at the time.  

The new routes are to be built in stages, the first two routes ready by May 2010 and the next four by spring 2011, with all 12 ready in time for the 2012 Olympics. Click here for a map of all the proposed routes.

LCC chief executive Koy Thomson told BikeRadar: “The first two Superhighways are critical to getting the rest right. We have asked the Mayor to sign up to our manifesto, a manifesto which sets  out the very minimum that the Superhighways need to acheive. So far we have yet to hear back from the Mayor.”

Thomson was quite specific on the types of person high quality cycle routes would attract: “Many young, professional white males will cycle regularly and whatever the circumstances. SuperHighways should be good enough to attract a different audience, the occasional cyclist who currently avoid the roads.”

LCC is quite specific in the apparent watering down of the initial scheme – which it guardedly supported – saying, “Official reports show that we are falling disappointingly short of exemplary or visionary solutions. The mayor has set tough deadlines which are perversely making people avoid challenges and conflicts. What the mayor can do is encourage officials to bust through the barriers and use his influence to make things happen.

The organisation also believes that ‘barrier busting’ is the key to making the Superhighways truly ‘safe, fast, direct, continuous and comfortable’, to quote the words of Mayor Johnson’s original commitment. 

A particularly controversial planned Superhighway is the A10 corridor between Tottenham and the City, planned for 2011 – a potential cycle route that has been the subject of a campaign by Hackney cyclists for years but one that has met with a total lack of ‘barrier-busting’ from Transport for London, the body responsible for the implementation of Superhighways. Only last year TfL refused to sanction a cycle-friendly scheme for the infamous Stoke Newington gyratory – exactly the kind of thing needed to make Superhighways work.

The LCC Manifesto and TfL’s response

The LCC campaign and its 10-point manifesto can be seen and signed up to here. In brief, LCC’s Manifesto for Superhighways is for routes that:

  1. Make my journey a pleasant experience and not a daily struggle for space.
  2. Give me and other cyclists priority over motor traffic.
  3. Include sections free of motor traffic.
  4. Stop buses, lorries and cars passing too close and too fast.
  5. Keep my path free of parked cars and the danger of opening car doors.
  6. Enable me to cycle at the speed I prefer.
  7. Don’t force me to cross lanes of fast-moving traffic.
  8. Do away with hazardous or difficult one-way systems and roundabouts.
  9. Are continuous and don’t stop and start.
  10. Allow me to stop at red lights ahead of other traffic and move off first.

We asked Transport for London to comment on whether they would be signing up to the LCC Manifesto. In response they issued a statement:

“Cycle Superhighways will deliver tangible benefits to cyclists in London by making it safer and easier to commute by bike between outer and inner London on direct and continuous cycle routes. We have been liaising closely with the relevant London boroughs and a range of stakeholder groups, including the London Cycling Campaign, to ensure that their views on Cycle Superhighways are taken into account. Information on the detailed schedules for each pilot route is currently being drawn up and will be released as soon as it is finalised.”


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