Major success for LCC as Mayor opens Dutch-style extension to Superhighway 2 and promises substantial upgrade to inner section

Today, the London Cycling Campaign hailed a major success as Mayor Boris Johnson (pictured above) opened the Dutch-style extension of Cycle Superhighway 2 from Bow to Stratford (read more) and committed to upgrade the inner section to a much higher standard of cycling safety.

The Mayor also announced a North-South Superhighway would provide protected space for cycling from Elephant & Castle to Kings Cross, as well as committing to upgrade all existing Superhighways with better junctions, segregation or semi-segregation. 

Another victory for our campaigning is the announcement there will be substantial improvements to the proposals by the City of London to redesign Aldgate High Street.

City had already agreed to remove the dangerous one-way system, but it's proposals failed to provide protected space for cycling, which it's now expected to do.

Transport for London also said it is recruiting 100 more designers, engineers and traffic modellers to deliver its expanding cycling programme.

Today's announcements come on top of an announcement earlier this year to build a protected East-West route along the Embankment, allowing Londoners to cross central London safely by bicycle.

LCC chief executive Ashok Sinha said:

“The new cycle lanes opened today, and the commitments to major new projects and upgrades existing schemes, show that the political wins of our Love London, Go Dutch and Space for Cycling campaigns are now translating into substantial safety gains for Londoners.

"Today’s announcements represent a major victory for our supporters, and we thank them all for their efforts, which are finally bearing fruit."

Inner section of Superhighway 2 faces major upgrade, including cyclist-specific traffic lights

In 2012, 10,000 LCC supporters took to the streets calling for “streets that are as safe and inviting as they are in Holland”, a protest that changed the political direction of cycling in London.

The Mayor promised to deliver on our Go Dutch demands for high-quality cycling routes, including building the Cycle Superhighways to a much higher standard and delivering other major cycling projects.

During the summer of 2013, we redoubled our campaigning efforts, organising three Space for Cycling protest rides – at Aldgate, Holborn and Westminster – where 10,000 Londoners made clear their support for safe space for cycling.

Sadly, the new section of Superhighway from Bow roundabout to Stratford opened less than 24 hours after 62-year-old Brian Holt was killed by a tipper lorry while cycling on Superhighway 2 near Mile End Hospital, where he had worked as a porter for the last 40 years.

Today, the Mayor promised – in line with LCC demands - that this sub-standard section of Superhighway 2 would be totally rebuilt

The new route from Bow to Stratford provides cyclists with protection from motor traffic, with lanes separated from the roadway by kerbs.

It uses bus stop bypasses, allowing people on bikes to proceed without having to go around buses and enter a stream of fast-moving motor traffic, or disrupting passengers getting on and off the buses. 

At several junctions on the new section of Superhighway 2, there are junction treatments allowing riders to make a right turn without having to cross lanes of fast-moving motor traffic.

Not all the junctions have had this treatment, and there are still risks that left-turning motor traffic crossing the cycle lanes won’t give way to cyclists travelling straight on as happens in the Netherlands. (Update: Following representations from LCC, the Mayor's Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, has said that the issue of danger from left-turning traffic will be addressed).  

Despite some flaws, LCC recognises this new section of Superhighway 2 as a major step forward for London's cycling, but is still calling for improvements, especially at the major junctions at Bow Roundabout and the Stratford one-way system.

North-South Superhighway will follow Blackfriars Road, featuring protected two-way track

The upgrade to the inner section of Superhighway 2 promises improvements to separate cyclists from motor traffic and substantially improve safety.

At Whitechapel High Street, where an HGV crash caused the death of 20-year-old French student Philippine de Gerin-Ricard in June 2013, the Mayor promises full segregation and cycling-specific traffic lights to remove the risk from turning motor traffic.

This represents a major shift in policy and a victory for ours efforts to have this junction redesigned.

This level of cycling protection was initially rejected by Transport for London’s junction review process, but complaints from ourselves and Andrew Gilligan, the Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner, were reinforced by comments from the Coroner investigating the deaths of Philippine de Gerin-Ricard and Brian Dorling, both of whom died on Superhighway 2.

Beyond the short 300m section of Whitechapel High Street, the upgrade plans are not clear, with only a promise for "full or semi-segregation and cycle-separated junctions".

We’ll be lobbying Transport for London to ensure the promise of high-quality Dutch style infrastructure is fulfilled including the reallocation of roadspace from motor traffic to provide protected cycle lanes or tracks where required.

East-West Superhighway to follow Embankment, also featuring protected two-way track