London Cycling Campaign welcomes ‘long overdue’ upgrade to Cycle Superhighway 2

CS2 upgradeLondon Cycling Campaign welcomes the arrival of long-awaited plans to improve Cycle Superhighway Route 2 (CS2) between Aldgate and Bow roundabout. Six cyclists have died on this route since it became a cycling superhighway in 2011.

The original route was strongly criticised by LCC in 2011. After the inquests into the deaths of Brian Dorling and Phillipine de Guerin-Ricard the Senior Coroner produced a 'Prevention of Future Deaths' report highlighting the problems on this road. The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, and every other local politician have called on Transport for London to make the upgrade of this route the highest priority.

In The Times today the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, welcomed the strong business support for his Cycle Superhighways schemes. He wrote,"There is only one way to create this paradise, and that is to invest massively in making cycling safer."

CS2 runs along a busy main road with two or three lanes in each direction, all carrying a constant stream of motor traffic - including around 1200 lorries per day. It has long been accepted as offering poor protection for cycling. 

A consultation on the proposal to introduce segregated cycle tracks along the route, and junctions which separate cyclists from other traffic, opens today (23 September 2014). 

LCC’s Campaigns Manager Rosie Downes said, “These plans are long overdue, and urgently needed. The current strip of blue paint offers no legal or physical protection for cyclists. As with the North-South and East-West cycle superhighway proposals we will be looking closely at the detail, but we’re pleased to see the Mayor is finally delivering on his promise to provide the dedicated space for cycling that’s so urgently needed on this route.”

CS2 has now been the site of several LCC protest rides. In July 2013 over 1500 Londoners rode from Tower Hill to Aldgate to call for dedicated space for cycling following the death of French student Philippine de Gerin-Ricard, who was run over by an HGV on the route. The route is also home to the notorious Bow roundabout, where three cyclist fatalities have occurred since 2011. TfL say they will be consulting on their proposals for the ‘Vision for Bow’ this winter. 

LCC will be looking at the proposals in detail during the consultation period, which runs to 2 November 2014. Key elements of the proposals are that:

  • The route will be mostly kerb-segregated, with 11% of the route semi-segregated (using wands). Traffic lanes would be reduced to 3m along the route to enable this, and the central reservation would be removed. The width of the footway would also be reduced.
  • At larger junctions, the ‘hold the left turn’ design (cyclists run with ahead traffic while left turning traffic is held), that reduces danger of the infamous left-hook collision, is proposed. Several banned right turns for traffic heading east are also included.
  • At several junctions cyclists will get a green light before other traffic. This is different from the failed 'cyclists gate' or 'early start' design used at Bow junction.
  • All bus stops on the route will have bus stop bypasses. A similar approach is proposed for bypassing parking and loading bays.

Improving this route could lead to thousands of people making the switch to cycling. Despite the poor infrastructure and hostile cycling conditions currently on CS2, the number of cyclists increased by 32% in the year after the route opened, and at points the road carries around 2000 cyclists a day in each direction. Providing safe space for cycling along this route could mean it’s a viable option for thousands more who don’t currently feel able to cycle.  

As well as providing safe space for cyclists, the plans – if implemented to a high quality – could also have a much needed positive impact on air quality. As highlighted by LCC trustee Rachel Aldred in her blog Mile End Rd keeps failing to meet EU limit values for nitrogen dioxide levels – largely due to exhaust fumes. A shift towards cycling could lead to improved air quality and a positive impact on the health of everyone who lives or works in the area – as well, of course, as the health benefits of physical activity for those who choose to take up cycling. And the upgrade could have benefits for business too - evidence from New York showed that local businesses saw an increase in sales of up to 49% when a protected lane was installed in Manhattan. 

You will be able to see details of the proposals, and respond to the consultation, at