London Cycling Campaign have been trying to gauge cyclists’ reactions to the first test sections of the pilot Cycling Superhighway between Merton and Southwark Bridge, and the results aren’t too promising.
They’ve posted a video on YouTube that shows cyclists on the A3 in Lambeth jostling for space with passing motor traffic while riding down the new bright blue bike lanes.
It includes interviews with a couple of riders about their experiences on the test sections in Clapham and Tooting, and they seem less than impressed. However, Transport for London (TfL) insist there’s plenty more work to be done.
One rider says: “They haven’t taken away the car lane. So what will happen if there is no bike present on it is they (cars) will just take up the blue lane anyway and therefore it’s going to restrict your access. I don’t think these blue lanes make a blind bit of difference.”
Another rider admits to feeling unsafe on the main road route and says that, if she had to cycle along that particular stretch, she would use the wide pavement instead.
Another YouTube video shot by an independent cyclist shows headcam footage of a ride through Superhighway sections on Clapham Road (cyclists detouring onto pavement to get round a slow moving bus), at Tooting Bec (sunken manhole cover) and on Tooting High Street (lane blocked by queuing traffic).
David Hembrow, a UK-born blogger living in the Netherlands, reckons the new bike lanes are too narrow and says it’s a bad idea to mix bikes with buses. “Cyclists in the UK quite often have problems with buses, and cycling in bus lanes in Britain can be a thrilling experience,” he says. “A bus lane is not a ‘cycling superhighway’ even if there is a blue stripe in it.”
Asked to comment on the videos, a TfL spokesperson said: “We started main works on the two pilot Cycle Superhighways routes this week, although three junctions on the Merton to the City route have had blue surfacing in place since early March as part of a trial to test the reaction of road users.
“The package of measures that TfL is introducing to make it safer and easier for cyclists to commute by bike on the Cycle Superhighways are wide ranging. They include infrastructure improvements along the routes such as realigning traffic lanes and bus lanes, and re-designing junctions to make them safer for cyclists, improving signage and installing blue cycle lanes.
“In addition, TfL will resurface sections of the Superhighways to ensure a smoother ride, install Advanced Stop Lines at many junctions and trial cyclist safety mirrors (Trixi mirrors). We’re also increasing the amount of cycle parking along the routes, providing cycle training for those wanting to build their skills and confidence, and providing bike maintenance sessions to support the increased number of cyclists that we anticipate using both routes.”