Friday, June 23, 2017

A Colchester view of the new London cycleways

Jim and friend on Santander hire bikes
By Jim Rayner

During a recent visit to London with a friend I used the cycle hire bike and the cycle superhighway along the Embankment in order to get around the city.

I highly recommend the experience if you have never done it before.

The dedicated cycleway is between 3-4m wide and for a large part runs alongside the Thames. The road engineers created the space largely by taking a lane away from general traffic.

The cycleway is well used and the feeling of freedom when travelling by bike through one of the world’s greatest cities in exhilarating, but also highly practical.

My only complaint is the cycle routes don’t stretch far enough!

Not everyone sees it this way, however, and some people have blamed the new lanes for a range of ills — including helping the terrorist to attack Westminster on March 22 to bus stop bypasses being a danger to hospital patients (read the case for such bypasses here).

Thankfully, the cycleways are here to stay, despite Chancellor Philip Hammond trying his hardest to twist the arm of London mayor Sadiq Khan.

The proof must be measured in the number of people riding on them. This article in the Guardian helps debunk the myths. It supports the arguments put forward in Bike Nation, a new book about cycling infrastructure. One key quote from the Guardian is:

"So why does this myth (of cycle lanes causing congestion) persist? I’m afraid it probably comes down to – as I have written about before – how cycling and cyclists remain one of the few areas of life in which newspapers and columnists feel able to write sweeping generalisations without worry. 

"This is a complex and longer-term issue, as are the many reasons why separated cycle lanes and other infrastructure are so vital for a modern city or town
"But in the meantime, when someone repeats the bike lane myth, ask them for evidence."

Bike Nation: How Cycling Can Save the World by Peter Walker is out now.

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