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Planning safe cycle routes

How to plan new cycle routes in London for your commute, cycle to school, shopping or just to explore London.


With the right route, you can enjoy a pleasant, quiet and scenic bike ride even from the center of London.

In a hurry? Visit our pre-planned routes page to find your perfect route.

Avoid the traffic

There’s an increasingly large network of safe and pleasant cycling routes in London using cycleways, bike lanes (many built thanks to LCC campaigning) and quiet back routes that keep you away from busy motor traffic. Cyclestreets shows most cycle routes (although also shows planned ones that have not yet been built). Citymapper is a good app to have on your phone to plan your journeys.

Cycle routes are often marked with a white bicycle painted on the road or on a blue sign. The cycle network in London is still being developed and quality of the wayfinding is variable. Transport for London and local councils have built number of cycleways, cycle superhighways, quietways and numerous cycle paths. The newer ones are of high quality and are continuous – older infrastructure may not be so good and often stop at difficult junctions. There is also the National Cycle Network often marked by a red square – these often go through parks or other off road routes which may not be safe or open after dark.

Not all good cycling streets are marked as cycle paths. There are many low traffic streets with less motor vehicles that are good for cycling as well as many off-road routes.

Although nothing beats exploring your local area and discovering shorts cuts and back streets cafes.

Route Planning Tips

When you plan your route you will want to consider the following:

  • There are often quieter roads parallel to the main road where you might drive or catch the bus. As well as there being less motor traffic there are also less traffic lights so your journey will be quicker.
    • There are many roads and path that you can cycle down where cars aren’t allowed. These are often shorter routes and can reduce your journey time
    • Many parks allow cycling but some don’t, so make sure you check
    • Many parks shut at sunset and open at sunrise so your winter cycle route may be different to your summer one.
  • Some quieter routes may not be suitable at night or at quiet times of the day. Make sure you think about personal safety and plan alternative routes. Also some off-road routes may be very popular on sunny days, if you want to cycle quickly then again plan alternative routes for these sections.
  • If you plan routes down busy roads make sure you have the skills and confidence to cycle there – especially if there is no protected cycle lanes. See our page on cycle skills for more info [LCC LINK]
    – When cycling along an unfamiliar cycle routes beware that cycle signs may point in the ‘wrong’ direction – this could be because a safe cycle route is detouring away form a hazard. It could also mean that the sign has been spun around.

Route Planning with Cycle Buddies

If you want help in planning a new route then LCC’s cycle buddies project can help link you up with experienced cyclist. They will use local knowledge to help you plan new routes and then practice using it with you. Cycle Trainers can also incorporate this into a cycle training session.

LCC are campaigning for a network of well signposted cycle ways and quiet routes across all of London.

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LCC is highly effective because it's supported by more than 10,000 members. If you cycle in London please consider joining today. You'll be supporting our work and you'll get a huge range of benefits too.


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