Westbourne Bridge off-road route

Before cycling home from Paddington yesterday I looked at my TfL 'Local Cycling Guide 7', dated 2012/2013, and noticed a green-coloured route shown on Westbourne Bridge, linking the north end of Westbourne Terrace to the southwest end of Westbourne Terrace Road. The key describes this as "Off-road routes: Either alongside roads, through parks, or along towpaths. Some routes may not be available or suitable for use at night. Routes may be shared with pedestrians".

I cycled northbound along Westbourne Bridge and got totally stuck at the north end. I couldn't find the "Off-road route" at all, and I found it pretty hazardous crossing on foot, because the roads here resemble the Tokyo motorcycling scene from Kill Bill Volume 1.

I noticed today that my older TfL 'Cycling in central London' map 2010/11 shows Westbourne Bridge as a purple-coloured "Pedestrian-only route which connects cycling sections - you must dismount as cycling is not permitted at any time".

So does the Westbourne Bridge "Off-road route" shown on the TfL 'Local Cycling Guide 7', dated 2012/2013, actually exist?



I pass here everyday, and am surprised this is described as an "off-road cycling route", although perhaps I'm not doing exactly what the authors had in mind. It seems to me (the best spin I can put on the authors' stance) that if you were travelling southbound and were in Westbourne Terrace Road (this is not my route - so I am surmising a little) there is a route which traverses the Harrow Road and lets you enter Westbourne Bridge at some lights to continue south (or southeast) -bound. This little "let-though" at the lights is not shown on the internet map you have linked to. It is used by cyclists (and I've seen an ambulance use it).

If you wanted to reverse this and head north, I don't think there's anything to help you. Indeed, trying to make it into Westbourne Terrace Road from the bridge would be incredibly scary. The road on Westbourne Bridge northbound turns left just after the bridge, thus heading westbound. It joins the two-lane Harrow Road in the fast lane, thus creating a 3-lane Road, and then comes to some traffic lights, which have no ASL.

This is the journey I do every morning, and is scary enough, because traffic speeds along the Harrow Road, being a dual carriageway which has just left a tunnel. Sometimes the police mount a speed trap here, but that only make the risk worse for cyclists as they take up some of the 3rd lane, giving less margin for merging with the traffic on the Harrow Road. I tried to show a police officer the error of his ways, but he wasn't prepared to listen and accused me of wanting an argument (!). I actually simply want to live, and when I'm feeling alturistic, I might want my fellow cyclists to live as well!

This route only comes close to working in the soutbound direction, from Westbourne Terrace Road to Westbourne Terrace. In order not to break the law, you need to cross the Harrow Road on foot, using the pedestrian crossing. Only emergency vehciles are allowed across Harrow Road towards the bridge - one day we may be able to get that relaxed. After crossing the bridge, you need to be careful to get in the correct lane at the junction with Bishop's Bridge Road, unless you are turning left.

Don't even think of using this route in the northbound direction - unless you want a long walk over the bridge. The canal towpath, reached from London Street, is more convenient.

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