A network of protected cycle tracks is the difference between cities where most people cycle, and those where most don’t.
A network of physically-protected cycle tracks, on roads where there are lots of cars, or fast-moving cars, is the single most important thing we can do to get London cycling. Those of us who cycle today in London are a minority and we won’t get most people cycling without tracks that enable a far wider range of people to access shops and schools and amenities and to go directly from A to B.
It’s important to have a network of these routes that combine together. That’s the lesson from cities like Seville that have seen rapid growth in cycling. Most people will only cycle if they can come out of their front door, pootle through their quiet neighbourhood, turn onto the main road and cycle comfortably nearly all the way to their destination. People don’t want to have to wiggle or stop all the time. They also won’t cycle a route which gives up 4km before their destination.
LCC’s Love London, Go Dutch campaign around the Mayoral election in 2012 saw the first two major cycle track schemes delivered in London, despite fierce and organised opposition.
Since then, our campaigning has delivered and continues to deliver cycle tracks across London – from Waltham Forest’s Lea Bridge Road, to Wandsworth’s A24 and far beyond.
What type of cycle tracks are there?
Cycle track types explained in detail
Full kerb separatedA full, fairly continuous kerb (made of stone or rubber) put between cycle track and motor traffic. These generally give the highest feel of safety to users.
Semi-separatedRegularly spaced protective barriers used to separate people cycling on carriageway from motor traffic. This can be with rubber “wand” poles, bolt down rubber blocks (often “orcas” or “armadillos”), or with temporary schemes large red and white Lego-style water-filled barrier blocks.
SteppedThe cycle track is built at a higher level than the road, but next to it, with the pavement higher still (or, in some cases, with a very low triangle divider between pavement and track). Ideally, the kerb between track and pavement should be at a “forgiving” angle (circa 30 degrees), so that those cycling don’t skid if their wheel touches the kerb, and can even move onto the pavement if/when needed, but with enough height for visually-impaired cane users and others to understand the space.
With flowWhere cycle tracks are laid on both sides of a road, each with those cycling riding in the same direction as traffic flow on their side of the road. Bidirectional – Where the cycle tracks is laid out as two-way, on one side of the road. These use up less space, have less impact on the motor traffic capacity of the road, and work very well where those cycling are mostly riding in one direction at one time of day, the other at other times. But they do need to be carefully designed around side roads and big junctions to ensure those driving do not cause collisions with those cycling who are travelling against the flow of motor traffic.
Cycle SuperhighwayThe first protected cycle tracks in London were primarily delivered under previous Mayor Boris Johnson, who badged them (and previous blue-painted cycle lanes) “Cycle Superhighways”. Under Mayor Sadiq Khan, all higher-quality cycle routes, whether main road cycle tracks or on quiet side streets, are now badged “Cycleways”.
Bus stop bypass/boarderThese are design approaches for what to do for those cycling around bus stops. Simply expecting those cycling to ride through the bus “cage” (where buses stop), negotiating with buses, isn’t inclusive for most people. Bypasses work by routing the cycle track around the rear of the bus stop/shelter – so pedestrians cross the track to reach an “island” to wait for the bus. Following intensive research, TfL uses speed humps with zebra markings and tactile paving to enable pedestrians to more easily cross the track. Boarders are more controversial, but the data from TfL and European cities would indicate they also work well, despite some concerns. In this arrangement, the track continues between the road including the bus “cage”, and the bus stop where people wait. So when the bus arrives, people get on and off by crossing the track (usually with a small marked area between road and track).
What about bus lanes and bus gates?
Why are schemes going in using temporary materials now?
What about routes through parks and on quiet streets?
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