New cycling schemes from Boris
Friday, 04 June 2010
An injured cyclist is helped into an ambulance
But the plans have been criticised by cycling groups and politicians who fear not enough is being done to protect those on their bikes.
The very real danger faced by cyclists is illustrated by the number of accidents and fatalities on our roads.
London Mayor Boris Johnson announced in May that the first of his so-called cycle superhighways would open on July 19.
The first runs from Merton to the City via Tooting High Street, Balham High Road, Kennington Park Road, Elephant & Castle and Southwark Bridge Road.
Roadworks are currently taking place near Kennington Park in preparation for the new route.
The painted lanes, along the side of roads, will be at least 5ft wide, allowing cyclists travelling in opposite directions to pass each other.
The Mayor’s Cycle Hire scheme will also soon be rolled out, with the bikes expected to be available from July 30.
The £160million project will allow residents to hire a bike for £1 a day or £45 a year.
Mr Johnson said: “I am determined to transform London into a city that cycles and where hundreds of thousands enjoy using two wheels to get around.
“Our cycling revolution is rapidly gathering pace but there’s still huge potential to increase the number of journeys that Londoners make by bike.”
Transport for London said the two superhighway routes will cost £23million, with 10 more planned.
The highways are painted blue, but are not monitored by CCTV to make sure other vehicles do not use them.
Statistics show there has been a 117 per cent increase in cycle journeys in the last 10 years.
But on May 25 a cyclist was knocked down by a car in Tower Bridge Road – an area not included in the first superhighways.
This year has already seen two cyclists killed in Southwark, including medical student Muhammed Ahmed.
The 21-year-old was pronounced dead in Weston Street, London Bridge, in March after being knocked down by a lorry.
Val Shawcross, London Assembly member for Lambeth and Southwark and City Hall transport committee chairwoman, said the highways would not provide enough protection to cyclists.
She said: “I have had quite a lot of critical comments about the scheme for cyclists.
“It does nothing for the appearance of the environment with a blue lane down the road.
“I have also been told it doesn’t offer much protection for cyclists.
“I think it works out at a million pounds per kilometre. The whole concept was overblown. People expected to have a lane where they got priority and instead what they’ve got is a decorated bit of road.
“These lanes seem to disappear just when cyclists need them most.”
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