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London looks to give the bike an advantage over cars with bicycle super-highways

Posted Jan 19 2011 10:32am 1 Comment
Will the bicycle super-highways give bikes the edge on the Thames?

After London made headlines by being the first major city to charge a tax on cars entering the city, the English capital is looking to get serious about promoting the bicycle as a legitimate, mainstream choice with a new network of bicycle super-highways planned. The first two routes were opened last spring and have seen a stunning 70% increase in cyclists using the routes .

The English love their systems and icons, and the bicycle super-highway is no exception. The bike lanes on the routes are painted a strong blue color to give motorist the visual que that this is a bike only lane. The promotional video on the project also indicates there will be cycle paths as part of the network and traffic devices that will give the bicycle the advantage to keep bike traffic moving smoothly. Early feedback indicate the current system is little more than paint . While the strong colors are effective at keeping drivers out of the lane, safety at intersections has yet to really be addressed. As the video below from The Guardian shows, conflict between the bike lanes and buses stopping to drop off and pick up riders is a problem, one of my pet peeves about our bike lane system in Austin. For local buses with stops every block or two, the fit cyclist rides at the same or slightly faster pace than the bus creating a leap frogging of the two vehicles that forces the bike into auto traffic or the bus to speed up and cut off the cyclist.

The City of London is looking to give the bicycle a speed advantage over cars. While safety is always a concern voiced as a barrier to cycling, making cycling the easier, faster option for short trips is key in getting mass adoption as we saw in yesterday’s post . We should keep an eye on London that like New York City is attempting to push back on societies with a dominate car culture.

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The most obvious advantage of a  bike is the cost. You simply pay for the bike and ride off.No other taxation required.Second important advantage of bike over car is bikes are very versatile and can often navigate around places that cars can't such as small streets, and city centres.Third reason is fitness. Cycling every day gives you regular exercise..

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