Two of the projected twelve cycle superhighways in London are about to be opened. They officially start on the 19th July. They are quite wide compared to normal cycle lanes and run either on roads or alongside them, are painted a bright blue, and clearly signed with bike symbols and signposts. Some of the signs for cyclists are covered until they open, but for drivers they are very visible already. The rest open over the next several years. Details and route maps here.
The two routes about to open are from Tower Gateway to Barking, and City (Southwark Bridge) to Merton (Colliers Wood). I’ve cycled both in recent days. It’s difficult to be critical of something being done in London for cycling, but they are not great. The one out to Merton is on pretty major roads through Clapham and Tooting, and other traffic doesn’t seem to pay much attention to them. Lots of parking in the lanes, stopping in the bike boxes at junctions, and most of the way they are shared by bus lanes. The one going east is less on roads, and they have divided some of the wider pavements, but this means you share it with pedestrians who continue to walk in it despite the pavement alongside, exercise dogs, stop and talk, etc. And even though there are markings for traffic crossing the bike lane to give way, these don’t seem to have been noticed.
They’ve painted the roads to do this, but over whatever potholes, bumps and cracks are already in the road. The paint is on pretty thick, and like other roads markings can be slick when wet. Some parts are a more gravelly consistency, which is better for grip, but judging by the amount on my tyres it won’t last for that long. So, a good idea, but a way to go.
update 7.20pm – some good discussion here