Transport for London design for westbound junction of Bow won't guarantee cyclist safety

LCC has written to Transport for London calling for separate cyclist crossings at Bow roundabout, rather than persisting with the flawed 'early start' design, which offers cyclists just 2 seconds head start to cross this large dangerous junction.

We've called for separate cyclist traffic lights, which are phased with pedestrian crossings.

See details of TfL's plans here and read our response.

On the plus side, TfL intends putting in continental-style cycle tracks between Bow and Stratford, providing cyclists safe passage across the nightmare gyratory at Stratford town centre.

We haven't seen the plans for this section yet, but this would be hugely welcome, and makes it even more of a pity that cyclists travelling between central London to Stratford will still be at risk crossing Bow roundabout.

Flawed 'early start'

We're objecting to the use of so-called 'early start' traffic lights at Bow junction because:

  • The design doesn't give enough time for all cyclists to clear the junction safely
  • Rather than an early start, the design guarantees delay for every cyclist
  • There's still no provision for pedestrians to cross the busy roads at Bow safely

We've described in detail our objection to 'early start' to TfL previously.

In our letter to TfL, we remind Mayor Boris Johnson of his pledge to make London’s streets “as safe and inviting for cycling as they are in Holland”, and point out that these proposals aren't good enough.

We accept the new design is better than the one where two cyclists died in 2011, but we're concerned this new flawed junction design could be rolled out across London even though it fails to adequately address the problem of getting all cyclists to cross junctions safely. 

We've asked TfL to publish a timetable for review of this innovative design at Bow.

Other concerns with CS2 design

As well as commenting on the overall design, we've offered further detailed comments:

  • We welcome that the design addresses the main problem facing cyclists on the approach to the junction by passing the bus stop and negotiating queuing traffic

However, we have the following criticisms:

  • Access from the carriageway to the track should be much clearer and more direct as oppose to the tight swerve required by the proposed design
  • The bus passenger crossover appears very short. We don’t think reducing the conflict area to such a small point is helpful as it exacerbates conflict. People should be given more, not less space to negotiate the crossing. We suggest using the whole length of the bus stop as a cross over.
  • 1.5m lane width is just too narrow to ride side by side. Even a small increase to at least 1.7m would make it possible to ride side by side. This would also reduce conflict with crossing bus users as cyclists can clear the area quicker than by riding single file.
  • People will only use the facility if it is maintained to a high standard. Therefore a maintenance schedule has to be in place to ensure the track does not become littered quickly
  • It is unclear from the consultation what type of kerb is used. We suggest 45 degree kerbs that are more forgiving to cyclists making an error.


Finally good news for bicycle lovers in london who are daily commuting on cycle to maintain fitness that LCC has written to transport for London calling for separate cyclist lane at Bow roundabout. Extending the cycle superhighway is a very good idea for safe cycle riding.

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