A recent piece on infrastructure for cyclists at the Cycling Mobility website, charting the debate amongst cycling advocates about the utility and safety of protected cycled lanes, is illustrated with this picture of Southwark Bridge, on Superhighway 7.
The picture serves to contradict a comment that Mark Ames (of ibikelondon) makes about the Superhighways, in the article –
because there is no barrier to separate cyclists from traffic, the riding experience can still be very frightening
The Cycling Mobility author immediately notes, in brackets, that this is not strictly correct –
as the picture opposite shows, the planners have incorporated raised kerbs for at least part of the routes
This is obviously true, but the ‘part’ of the routes we are talking about are minimal. The vast majority of the Superhighways are just paint on the road, as this video of Superhighway 7 shows –
Besides Southwark Bridge, there are only two other bits of separation on the entire length of the route; some brief, superficial kerbing at the intimidatory gyratory at the A3/A203 interchange, and some short parts of the lengthy diversion onto back streets that allows cyclists to avoid the horrible Elephant & Castle roundabout.
But don’t take it from me. Transport for London actively argued against separation on the routes, on the grounds that they are not used frequently enough throughout the day (i.e. outside commuting hours) to justify it. Boris is also against separation, but for a different reason – there isn’t enough room. (See the excellent comment by David Arditti here).
When it comes to the separation on Southwark Bridge itself, as Joe Dunckley notes in the comments, far from being ‘incorporated’ by the Superhighway planners, the kerbs were there already, and weren’t constructed with cyclists in mind.
Here is a picture of Cycle Superhighway 7, just south of Southwark Bridge –
The ‘Superhighway’ plays second fiddle to short-stay parking bays, which could have been removed to make way for a proper cycle lane, separated or otherwise, but haven’t been. And deliciously, the bit of blue paint that signifies that this is a ‘Cycle Superhighway’ has been partially obliterated by some recent roadworks, which have also helpfully left a large pothole.
This is the Superhighway.