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Cycleways are getting more Londoners in the saddle, says new TfL report

Latest Travel in London report finds big increases in cycling where safe infrastructure has been built

The share of trips undertaken by bike in the capital is going up, with particularly strong growth seen in areas where high-quality cycling infrastructure has been put in place, according to new figures from Transport for London (TfL).

In its latest Travel in London report, TfL says that on an average day, 2.5 per cent of trips in the city were made by bike during 2018, compared to 2 per cent for the previous year.

TfL also highlighted “the major success” of new Cycleways – the branding adopted earlier this year that encompasses the former Cycle Superhighway and Quietway initiatives – opened during 2019.

Figures from traffic counts show a 61 per cent increase on Cycleway 17 on Southwark’s Portland Street since 2014, and 120 per cent growth on Cycleway 23 on Lea Bridge Road in Waltham Forest since July 2016.

Meanwhile, the recently opened northern extension of Cycleway 6 in Camden saw cycling numbers rise 120 per cent compared to September 2018.

Cumulatively, London cyclists undertook 745,000 trips and rode an average of 4 million kilometres each day in 2018, the highest level since records began in 2015 and up 5 per cent on the previous year.

The average daily distance ridden in central London was 8 per cent, while in outer London it was 6 per cent.

London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, said: “Enabling more people to cycle is vital to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing London, such as our toxic air, congestion and the inactivity crisis.

“It’s fantastic to see continued growth in the numbers of people cycling,” he added. “These figures show why it is so important that we continue to invest in our network of cycleways and enable even more Londoners to choose a greener, cleaner and healthier way of getting around our city.”

Sadiq Khan, who will be seeking re-election as Mayor of London in the New Year, aims for 80 per cent of trips in the capital to be made by bike, on foot, or on public transport by 2041.

Providing safe, fully segregated infrastructure is a key element of getting more Londoners cycling, but local opposition, particularly in affluent areas of the city, has caused some key schemes to be delayed or scrapped altogether.

A planned cycleway from Swiss Cottage to the West End was shelved after the Court of Appeal upheld a legal challenge to it from the City of Westminster, which had argued that TfL had failed to obtain the required consents.

The decision led to London Cycling Campaign describing the council’s efforts to block the route as “shameful.”

> Court of Appeal upholds Westminster's legal block to Cycle Superhighway 11

In West London, work finally started on Cycleway 9, which will run from Brentford to Olympia, last week. Initial plans for parts of the route, on Chiswick High Road and at Kew Bridge, were put to a second consultation after opposition led by local Tory councillors.

Even once built, there will be a missing link between Olympia and Hyde Park, where it would join Cycleway 3, with the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea firmly opposed to allowing a Cycleway to proceed along Kensington High Street.

Elsewhere in the same borough, TfL was thwarted in its efforts to route a cycleway through Holland Park Avenue and Notting Hill Gate when the council said it would not be backing it even before a consultation had closed.

Work has started at the western end of the route, on the A40 in Acton, but as with Cycleway 9, it will end when it hits the Kensington & Chelsea boundary – in this case, at the Shepherd’s Bush roundabout after the route turns off the A40 and heads south along Wood Lane.

The geographical location of both that borough and Westminster magnifies the impact that their opposition to fully segregated infrastructure on roads they control – rather than the ‘red routes’ for which TfL has responsibility – has on efforts to create a city-wide network of safe routes for cyclists.

It’s a different story in many other boroughs, however, and work is currently underway on an extension of Cycleway 23 in Waltham Forest, one of London’s three Mini Holland boroughs.

The route currently runs along Lea Bridge Road between Millfields Park and Whipps Cross and the 2-kilometre extension, with a protected two-way cycle path, will take it eastwards to the Water Works Roundabout in Redbridge.

There are also plans to extend the route westwards to Dalston, where it would link up with Cycleway 1.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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bobalobalob | 4 years ago

Dear road cc

Whilst you are right to criticise the London Boroughs of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea for blocking vital cycling infrastructure proposals, Road CC needs to add the London Borough of Wandsworth to those two boroughs for its blocking and abandonment of those sections of Quietways 4 and 5 and 21 that go through the borough. That council's ability to frustrate, ignore and misinform the public about its safer family-cycling infrastructure plans demonstrates a lack of recognition about the contribution safer cycling infrastructure makes to safer roads, safer pedestrians, families and to a healthier climate. Sustrans attempted, but failed to get the council on board for these structural improvements and Transport for London does what it can, faced with concrete opposition.  In future issues about safer cycling infrastructure in London, please Road. CC give a call-out to the LB Wandsworth.

Muddy Ford | 4 years ago

Maybe a mass cycle up and down RBKC for a while during peak time (Chelsea tractors off to Harrods?) might convince the overprivileged twats in that area that a cycle lane would be beneficial...

tulip_girl100 | 4 years ago
1 like

Cycleways are great but given that you can't get everywhere in London by using them I would like to see more being spent on the following;

1. All cycle boxes at the front of junctions to be re-painted and painted blue so that vehicles can properly see them and have no excuse for stopping in them

2. On a non-segregated cycle lane, the lines to be re-painted and also the lanes to be blue

3. Sometimes we should be able to turn left at a junction given that we won't impede cars coming from the opposite directions and of course as long as pedestrians aren't crossing (pretty much like what they do in other countries)

ktache | 4 years ago

Build it and they will come...

(But build it well!)

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