Is there anything super about the cycle superhighways?

Cycling over to meet Nigel Hardy, the project manager for the cycle superhighways, I had one question running through my mind. “Why didn’t they just call it blue lanes and avoid all the hassle and criticism they’ve drawn?” Soon this question along with another barrage of questions from London Cyclist readers would be answered.

My test ride with TfL would finally put to rest which of the two visions would become a daily reality for 1000s of London Cyclists. Would it truly be continuous lanes that provide a safe and direct route into the capital. Or would it be more of a marketing gimmick, a glorified cycle lane that is a missed opportunity for real progress.

Aerial Shot of Tooting Bec junction of cycle superhighways

The first two of the cycle superhighways are on track for their completion date of the 19th of July. After this we will see an incremental increase in cycle lanes with two more superhighways being added every year. These two cycle superhighway routes are pilot routes and while a lot of criticism has been coming in it’s important to note that up until the 19th of July they are still not officially finished. In fact the final thing we will see is the signage being added and the last road markings going in on busy junctions.

Smurf lanes

The main criticism of the cycle superhighways is also the most obvious: “It’s just a lick of blue paint”. This is justified as large parts of the first two routes already existed as the more traditional green cycle lanes. However, TfL were keen to stress that a lot has gone into it that we don’t see. For example, the road surface has been re-done in many areas that were suffering from potholes. There’s also been a lot of behind the scenes engineering work, planning and testing. The blue paint has been running through light box tests where they run a tyre over it many times to test it doesn’t fade. A couple of previous revisions of the paint used have been scrapped as they were found to fade far too easily.

There are three types of road surface in use for the superhighways. The surface you will see near the junctions is high-friction to prevent accidents. I raised the reports that have been coming in of slippery road surfaces. TfL told me that they’ve run extensive tests and not found the paint used to be slippery.

Talking to Nigel Hardy I was also very keen to raise the point of “why the blue?” and “why call it a superhighway?”

Branding was the short answer. Perhaps fears of a “marketing gimmick” were coming true. The hope with the branding is to make drivers aware that high volumes of cyclists will be travelling along this route. It also makes it easier for cyclists to follow the route and know where it is leading them.

Three cyclists on a blue cycle superhighway

Why not segregate?

Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Rio De Janeiro, Barcelona. All places I’ve seen segregated cycling infrastructure work well. It’s one of the main things cyclists request to feel safer. A small barrier between drivers and cyclists would surely make this more of a cycle “super” highway.

Segregation however, is not something that is being considered for the cycle superhighways. TfL said the routes are simply not being used frequently enough to warrant separation of traffic. It is only during peak hours that you will see many cyclists in the lanes. TfL claim that segregating the lanes would create many problems for loading vehicles. They also claim that cyclists don’t want to be treated differently to other vehicles.

TfL are more keen to address the problem of motorists in cycle lanes through police enforcement, branding and working with companies to ensure their drivers are not blocking the lanes during peak hours. The experience of cyclists will tell if this approach will have the desired effect.

Cycle Superhighway CS7

Direct and continuous cycle superhighways

Cyclists have also been raising concern about how continuous the cycle lanes are. Around 80% of the route is covered by the blue lanes. The other 20% involves blue boxes with CS markings in them and crossings at junctions. The break in the continuity is meant to inform cyclists that they need to pay extra attention. It is used when a continues blue lane was deemed inappropriate.

A super experience

Riding the superhighway side-by-side with Nigel Hardy, which is barely possible along much of the route as the lanes are often just 1.5 metres wide, I wondered what he thought beginner cyclists would think of the experience.

As we stood at the final junction of our tour with Nigel pointing in various directions and explaining to me what cyclists need to do to pass this complicated junction I thought it was the right time to ask the question.

His response is perhaps the ultimate conclusion to the cycle superhighways. Without training he wouldn’t expect them to feel very happy riding along this busy A-road even with the superhighways in place.

A cycle superhighway should surely be designed to give beginners that confidence they need to tackle London’s roads. It should be a pleasure to ride along without any fear. This was my experience of the equivalent of superhighways in other countries and unfortunately it was not the same in London.

In the end the superhighways are a compromise. On one side you have organisations such as the LCC and bicycle activists calling for more to be done. On the other you have motorists. TfL and the Mayor have to try to decide how the two sides can work together. There has been a lot of obstacles to overcome in order to complete the first two routes. Whilst it remains hard to discover the “super” in the cycle superhighways they are a positive step forward in the vision to make London a cyclist friendly city.

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46 Responses to Is there anything super about the cycle superhighways?

  1. Karl 07/07/2010 at 12:42 pm #

    Others have reported that under street lights the lanes don’t show up, so not sure what sort of light box they were using, just daylight I expect, not sodium lights.

    I cycle the CS7 and have done for 3 years now. The lane can be seen as a welcome addition but where it isn’t in effect it seems to give drivers of other vehicles the mindset that they don’t have to look where they are going, and frequently don’t give enough space.

    What is wrong with a continuous line? Why not make other vehicles look out and aware that the cycle lane crosses a busy junction, not to mention pedestrians deep in conversations on mobile phones or listening to ipods.

    Of course without segregation you will not get the masses using these. People still think I’m crazy cycling to work even though I can count hundreds of people doing the same any day of the week. Some days I think they are right when I run up against a lunatic white van man – often in the scaffolding trade for some reason.

    Osaka, Japan allows cycling on paths and pedestrians have to look out for them as much as cyclists need to look out for pedestrians. In many places this should be allowed, it will encourage people to cycle.

    • Andreas 08/07/2010 at 6:34 pm #

      Agreed that segregation is a necessity for getting that very scared cyclists to make the first step. It is something I think would be good at least along these main arteries. Though segregation is definitely not always the answer.

      • nununoolio 10/07/2010 at 11:56 pm #

        Very scared cyclists don’t need segregation. They need proper training.
        Aside from that, the last thing they need is to be sharing a ‘superhighway’ with so many other road users (including more experienced cyclists speeding past them at close quarters!).
        They would be a lot better off working out a route using the TFL cycle maps that will take them through parks and along quiet roads.


  2. Bassjunkieuk 07/07/2010 at 12:53 pm #

    On the subject of segregated lanes one issue that has come up amongst some friends when we discuss it is that they effectively force riders using the lane to cycle at the same pace as the slowest rider, this might not be a problem further out from the centre of town but by the time you reach Clapham the density of cyclists really increases.

    Having said that if they did segregate the lanes I’d most likely just not use them. As it stands at the moment CS7 runs along a small part of my commute (used to be a big part but now I’ve taken to diverting round Clapham Common and up Queenstown Road to avoid roadworks on Clapham-Stockwell) and IMO all they really amount to is brightly painted cycle lanes, motorised vehicles pay about as much attention to them as they do the standard green lanes.

  3. 100Climbs 07/07/2010 at 12:55 pm #

    I am not looking forward to riding on slick blue paint in the wet, not at all. Why not put a grippy surface an it all? saving money maybe? Lets wait and see…

    • Adam S 07/07/2010 at 3:53 pm #

      I’ve heard lots of people saying the blue paint looks slippy, but not heard of anyone who has come a cropper yet.

      My advice is that if you’re worried about it then you should observe the golden rule of going in a straight line and not trying to brake or turn – and hope that you don’t have to avoid any pedestrians, white-vans, or mobile-using drivers! So in other words, you’d better invest in some body armour.

      • Andreas 08/07/2010 at 6:36 pm #

        Yep, if anyone does hear of anyone falling off then I would be interested in this and happy to chase it up with TfL

        • Richard Masoner 27/01/2011 at 6:33 pm #

          I’ve never traveled on these blue cycle lanes (obviously, since I’m in California), but I’ve been on similarly colored surfaces with no problems when wet. It’s not quite the same as the striping used on road surfaces — for large surfaces like these “Superhighways”, a skid proofing binder is added to the thermoplastic resin so the surface is not slippery when wet.


        • Chris 20/08/2016 at 8:39 pm #

          I commute to battersea everyday. I came off yesterday coming off the A24 onto Rookery Road. The blue is not the issue its the white either side. Small bit of rain and I was down very hard. This needs to be addressed I won’t be the only one ….

  4. botogol 07/07/2010 at 12:58 pm #

    it seems to me the blue paint is there where it’s least needed (long straight stretches of bus lane, half-covered in blue… shrug) but at junctions, bus-stops, crossings .. ie all the places where you actually have collisions and near misses…. the paint is absent.

    still, I take your point about CS7 notr being finished to 19th july… I will be cycling much of it on the 20th and look forward to it.

  5. botogol 07/07/2010 at 1:03 pm #

    your second picture nicely illustrates another problem with the construction of cycle lanes (not just CS7) :

    If I am not mistaken it shows a section where they have done that deeply irriating thing: painted the blue around the existing red lines.

    this means that the two red lines form two parallel depressions in the road surface, which is not at all good for bikes – most people have had experience of the front whell getting caught on some kind of ridge ruinning in the direction of travel.

    When making a superhighway they need to apply the blue paint / blue surface evenly all over, and then repaint the red lines on top.

  6. Darren 07/07/2010 at 1:09 pm #

    I find myself indifferent to these lanes. Maybe that will change when I actually cycle on one. Generally my opinion is that I’ll be using the route most useful to my destination as I’ve always done and if a blue lane is naturally a part of that then so be it. I can’t see me searching one out especially for any reason whatsoever.

  7. Mike 07/07/2010 at 4:36 pm #

    There appears to be some circular logic going on here

    “…segregation however, is not something that is being considered for the cycle superhighways. TfL said the routes are simply not being used frequently enough to warrant separation of traffic.”

    Could it be that less confident cyclists won’t start cycling until there is segregation, but until they do in numbers they won’t segregate?

    • Andreas 08/07/2010 at 6:38 pm #

      A very valid point. Think for TfL they are in a tough position to start taking road away from cars. If they segregate then the lane will definitely be too slow for those fast commuters.

      • Sam 09/07/2010 at 7:26 pm #

        There are places in London where the pavements are beautifully wide but cyclists have to share dual carriageway-style roads with cars, buses and all the rest of the motorised populace, or find a much longer, less direct, far hillier route (anyone else loathe Holland Park – Notting Hill Gate?).
        I’ve seriously never seen pavements as wide anywhere else, and this stretch would make brilliant shared pedestrian/cycle use.
        Instead you have to cycle up what would be an okay but long slope with taxis, loading vans, buses pulling in and out and a lot of less-than courteous cars, and hold up large amounts of traffic. I’m all for being a bit bolshy and making the odd car slow down every now and then, but I can’t bring myself to cause that much disruption, and hop off the bike to walk up the lovely wide pavement which has more than enough space for me, the lady with the pram and a Chelsea tractor!

        When I got back on my bike, I took the approach that I had to just throw myself at the more difficult bits, or I’d be limited to riding up and down my street like an oversized five-year-old forever. But most people would be much more cautious, and they won’t get on their bikes unless they know they don’t have to face their own version of Holland Park – Notting Hill Gate, or CS7 without the finishing touches.

        A bit of *sensible* segregation would bring so many more people out on their bikes, and then there’d be a better argument for more (or less) as needed in future.

        • Andy 14/10/2010 at 5:03 pm #

          I share your frustration about Holland Park – Notting Hill Gate since I cycle this route everyday. I too have thought that the pavements could easily accommodate the kind of segregated cycle lanes you see in Holland. In fact, I would even propose that the trees are cut down to make way for an even bigger segregated highway (although that would be deeply unpopular with the well-to-do locals). Those trees are massive and old and I’m sure they are starting to release more CO2 than they absorb.

          But even assuming the trees are kept, a properly segregated cycle lane on that all the way from Shepherd’s Bush to Marble Arch with proper right of way at the T-junctions would be something the city could be proud of!

    • Cooper 08/09/2010 at 12:32 pm #

      i feel that there needs to be someone who knows more about the plans of these super cycle highways introduced to a forum like this, however i am not this person. what i would like to tell you however is that;

      as much as you may feel segregation is the answer, it will never happen. councils are being forced to look at street clutter, this is any type of apparatus on any road within the borough to make sure it is at its minimum.

      this means that and kind of fence, barrier or anything else would never be put in, the new scheme’s being put into place are called shared access. meaning that both pedestrians and cars have both go to be more aware of whats around them, barriers bollards and any other device used to prevent pedestrians from being run over are being removed.

      so im sorry to burst your bubble but any indication that TFL are giving you about segregation being brought in. i dont see it happening.

      • wulfhound 08/09/2010 at 6:03 pm #

        Which is all very well, if they had the gumption to implement and more importantly ENFORCE 20mph speed limits across London other than red routes & urban motorways…

        • Bassjunkieuk 08/09/2010 at 10:00 pm #

          20mph is rather optimistic in Central London tbf! During the rush hour as you get closer to the centre of town traffic speed gets a lot slower and people only get past 30 if they really stamp on the accelerator between each traffic jam 🙂

          One day they’ll see the light and get a bike!

  8. To-jo 07/07/2010 at 4:56 pm #

    “For example, the road surface has been re-done in many areas that were suffering from potholes. ”

    Yeah that’s true. The road was horrendous up to Clapham North and its much better now. Light wheels, heavy rider and seeing a pothole late were threatening to ruin a good set of wheels.

    Ok the name is a bit of a joke, what’s super about them apart from the colour ? But this is a step in the right direction. And about as much as we can expect right now. It shows some clear demarcation between road and cycle lane and therefore encourages vehicles to stay out. In my experience buses are the ones that drift into it the most, probably due to the width of the bus and road and the quite common rubbish driving.

    If they encourage more cyclists then you never know one day we’ll get dedicated cycle lanes with no traffic lights please…..I can dream !

    • Andreas 08/07/2010 at 6:42 pm #

      That does sound like a dream! Always imagined what it would be like if they closed Oxford Circus to all traffic apart from bikes. So much more room for pedestrians!

  9. Ruth 07/07/2010 at 5:27 pm #

    My route to work takes me on a couple of Cycle Superhighways. Personally I think the bright blue is a little harsh on the eye and I preferred the more discreet green cycle lanes… but then again, if the job of the new Cycle Superhighways is to make other road users more aware of cyclists, then I guess it works.

    With regards to the surface, I tend to prefer cycling on the actual road – but I’m lucky and go against the flow of traffic during my commute (out from the City, over the river and down South) so I have the luxury of having enough room to be able to do that.

    Before I read this article there didn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason behind why some parts of the Cycle Superhighways were more gritted than others – I simply thought some workmen had been lazy, and some slightly over zealous!

    Overall as a daily commuter I’m not fussed, but in conjunction with the cycle hire scheme this should give new cyclists more of an incentive/confidence to ride about as certain routes are clearly marked out for them.

  10. Jim 07/07/2010 at 10:40 pm #

    “They also claim that cyclists don’t want to be treated differently to other vehicles.”

    I wonder how many cyclists would really complain if you gave them a route that was just as direct and ‘continuous’ but safer as a result of being segregated. TfL are just covering up for the fact that they are scared of taking any road-space away from motorists.

    Accepting that limitation, I’d like to see the superhighways incorporate a cyclist-only traffic light phase at the more dangerous junctions. There appear to be no plans for this at the moment, but it’s something we could push for in the routes to come.

  11. Gaz 07/07/2010 at 11:19 pm #

    Beat me to it. I’m riding the route with Nigel tomorrow. Not sure my write up will be as good as yours.

  12. Denis 08/07/2010 at 9:28 am #

    About the pavement being resurfaced, I’d like to point that most of the carriageway around Oval and Brixton have been resurfaced at the benefits of all road users at the “expenses of the “cycling ” budget…
    I find this a bit unfair as pavement resurfarcing should be funded by the general “maintenance” budget and not really in the cycling budget. I even find it even more unfair as this resurfacing happened at night and I wouldn’t be surprise if it take more than half of the “superhighway” budget…
    Unfiortunatly in London, the highjacking of the already small “cycling” budgets for junction redesign, traffic signal upgrade, etc is very common.

    Actually I belive, as it is the case in the Netherlands, that the cycling budgets are used exclusively for cycle parking facilities and that cycle highway improvements be funded from the general road improvement budget. As redesigning a road involves all the actors of mobility.

    • Chris 08/07/2010 at 9:56 am #

      I absolutely agree: why the hell should cycling money pay for the damage to the roads done exclusively by trucks/cars/buses? If the roads were kept up to a decent standard out of general maintenance then the cycling cash could be spent on better facilities.

      I also don’t get Nigel Hardy’s argument that the routes isn’t being used heavily enough to warrant segregation. As others have said, good quality (a major caveat there) segregation would definitely get more people cycling; narrow blue lanes and no change to speeds of cars won’t make much difference.

      And anyway, cycle volumes are pretty high down some of these routes. According to TfL there are around 13,000 cyclists a day on Clapham Road. That’s a big chunk of traffic.

      Good review, Andreas.

  13. Alex 08/07/2010 at 10:05 am #

    A cycle a large portion of CS7 on my commute, and I was a bit sceptical when the blue paint first appeared. But I drove the same route recently, and I have to say, when behind the wheel, it did make me more aware of cycle space. So my verdict is: good but not great.

  14. David 08/07/2010 at 7:08 pm #

    Anyone using the CS7 around the elephant and castle?… that needs a lot of work. The junction priority needs to be changed at Keyworth Street and Gaunt street to give priority to bikes and the stupid dogleg coming south at the end of Southwark Bridge Road going back into Keyworth Street should have been removed altogether.

    And then there’s simple little things like the buttons for the cycle crossing at Churchyard Row and Newington Butts being in the wrong place.

    • Kath 08/07/2010 at 10:56 pm #

      Agree the CS7 around elephant could be better but the resurfaced roads there are a big improvement.
      I (somewhat naively it seems) hoped that the superhighway would mean an end to taxis parked in the cycle lane on Southwark Bridge Road. But no, on average going north from Borough Rd there are 4 taxis parked on the CS7 (and the double yellow lines), then there’s a break in the continuous lane for parked cars and then a couple of delivery vans/trucks stopped in the lane, all within a few hundred meters. If they aren’t going to do anything to keep vehicles off the superhighway, what was the point?

    • Wulfhound 20/07/2010 at 1:53 pm #

      Also – is it me or do the blue lanes crossing St George’s Rd and London Rd give a potentially dangerous false sense of priority? Of course, there are the traffic lights but as far as I could see there was no clear STOP line or indicator of the traffic signals on the blue itself? You have this great dominant blue stripe going horizontally across the road akin to a Zebra crossing, but the traffic is under signal control.

      • Wulfhound 20/07/2010 at 1:59 pm #

        .. oh, my other big bugbear about the layout at Elephant – coming in from the SW, the bus stop /immediately/ in front of the left turn in to the bypass route (Churchyard Row). So having battled the buses all the way up the A3, we now have to pull out to pass stopped buses and then immediately swing in to the left? Could easily be remedied by moving the bus stop 50 yards in either direction.

  15. Gary 09/07/2010 at 10:40 am #

    In short no, there is nothing super about the super highways.

    As far as I can see they are just green cycle lanes painted blue.

  16. Peridot 09/07/2010 at 11:19 am #

    Can anyone explain to me why the cycle superhighway through Poplar and Limehouse is less of a superhighway and more a series of blue rugs, scattered indescriminately at random intervals? I genuinely don’t understand what this is supposed to signify.

  17. Phil Russell 09/07/2010 at 5:51 pm #

    I’m just wondering how long before bikies will be Legally Required to Stay on the Magic Blue Carpet at all times, and be penalised for not doing so…..however, I do expect lurching pedestrian sleep-walkers to be more aware of the blue bayou than they are at present….at least for a while. (Watch this space).

  18. Tom Leeks 10/07/2010 at 11:11 pm #

    A few days ago I answered a phone survey about the ‘Cycle Super Highway’. At that time I had had only seen it but not used it. Although I do cycle frequently, I had not done very much recently, particularly since some of our local roads were painted blue (with no explanation that I had seen at that time and very little since). I was therefore only able to answer questions about my life and cycling style. Since then I have taken more trouble to look at what has been painted and it seems that very little has changed but the colour. Just what is one supposed to do when suddenly confronted with the message,’end of cycle lane’ or worse still the blue paint just stops with no information. Get off and walk perhaps, I don’t think so.just struggle across the barren area at the mercy of all the other traffic. Taking particular care to avoid buses and taxis.
    Although some perhaps even most bus drivers are competent even expert although in the main somewhat arrogant (When I learnt to drive many years ago I was told that a right indicator meant ,’I intend to pull out as soon as it is clear’, most bus drivers use it to say,’I’m pulling out, get out of my way!’), the vehicles they have to drive are in many cases totally unsuitable for many of the roads they use making even a safe driver very dangerous for cyclists. The longer the bus, the worse the danger (bendies of course most dangerous of all, equal to articulated trucks). Buses seem to be getting longer and many of them cannot safely negotiate many of our streets without crossing far over the central line. Taxis!! well that is different. Again many Taxi. drivers are safe and courteous but far from all of them. How many cyclists have been nearly taken out by a taxi just passing then immediately pulling left as they are hailed. It has certainly happened to me many times. So, although as I said many taxi drivers are safe and courteous my experience is that on balance they are amongst the worst drivers on our streets.
    Although these days I do not cycle as often as I used to since I have now retired, a few years ago I used to cycle every weekday (during term time) from Marble Arch to Haverstock Hill (Chalk Farm). I was cycling at the time the first congestion charge was introduced and my observation was that the streets immediately became more dangerous due to there being more Taxis (and many of them empty of passengers for nearly half of the time).
    I said earlier that I had found very little publicity about Super Highway before I found this site so I am not yet sure if buses and taxis are allowed to use the blue painted section. If they are then I can see very little improvement over the system we have now had for several years with the green paint.
    There is a similarity to the story of ‘The Emporer’s New Clothes’. If enough people say often enough that they are good, then they ‘will’ be good.

  19. Tom Leeks 10/07/2010 at 11:22 pm #

    Ever since I started regularly cycling in London (9 or 10 years ago) I have thought that many cyclists are their own worst enemies and even a danger to themselves. I consider that I cycle safely and sensibly. I do NOT ride on the pavement, I do NOT ignore pedestrian crossings, I do NOT cross against a red traffic light (although I will admit to the occasional left turn there). The large numbers of cyclists who do ALL of these things can never do anything to improve the general public’s opinion of all cyclists. I am strongly in favour of enforcement and serious fines for ALL of these offences. This would probably do more to reduce cycle accidents than any number of Blue Safety Mats.

  20. David Arditti 11/07/2010 at 2:40 pm #

    “TfL said the routes are simply not being used frequently enough to warrant separation of traffic”

    This is interesting, because it is not what I have heard them say. Boris, when asked why the Superhighways are not segregated, always says “There is just not room on London’s roads”.

    This is a different “explanation” to Boris’s, if this is really what Nigel Hardy said to Andreas. It clearly makes no sense at all. Is he saying that if the Superhighways, by some miracle of divine intervention, really succeeded in getting thousands of new cyclists on to the roads, that they would segregate them? BUT, if that happened, the Superhighways would have succeeded in their object without segregation, and segregation would not be necessary!! Carts and horses flying around here – does anyone understand this?

    It seems that TfL does not really, deep down, believe in the “Cycling Revolution” it proclaims. It seems this cycling revolution is desired only if it does not produce too many cyclists. It hasn’t been thought through.

    The big thing that tends not to be understood in the UK about segregated cycle lanes, Dutch-style, is that their main purpose is not safety, per se, as cycling is inherently quite safe anyway, it is the prioritisation of space for cycle traffic. It is, in other words, to give the bike a competitive advantage in the struggle for space on the roads, which makes bike journeys quicker and more efficient, as well as more pleasant. There is no other effective method of preventing parking, loading, queuing, bus and taxi stopping in cycle space, and general obstruction by motor vehicles, other than physical segregation. This is why it is used so extensively on the continent. It is not that the continentals have some malign control agenda to push cyclists off the general roads. Arguments that segregation slows down fast commuter cyclists are incorrect. It only has this effect if badly done, with insufficient capacity or other design faults. Fast commuter cyclists benefit equally with slower cyclists from the advantages that proper continental-style cycle tracks create.

    My prediction is that either these new blue highways will be allowed to fade away in time, and be forgotten, and we will have no “cycling revolution,” or a new set of politicians and officials in the future will decide they really want a cycling revolution, with that vital ingredient, lots of cyclists, and will turn them into proper segregated cycle tracks, which would involve cutting back the space for motor traffic a lot, particularly at junctions, and removing all the parking. I don’t see any other possibilities. Judging by recent history, the former is the more likely possibility.

  21. Steve 15/07/2010 at 1:14 pm #

    The reason the ‘superhighways’ are blue is because Barclays are sponsoring them. No need to pretend it’s for visibility or any other spurious reason – it’s so that Barclays gets some value for its investment.

  22. botogol 15/07/2010 at 1:44 pm #

    people might be interested in this statement from TFL regardng the slipperiness of the surface.

    The three surfaces
    – High Friction
    – Standard Use (Carriageway)
    – Light Use (Footway)
    make sense to me.

    Note that Light Use (footway) is just paint – no chippings. I have this funny feeling that I have seen stretches of Light Use on the carriageway on CS7 – Anyone else think that? I will have my camera ready.

    Anyway, comforting to know that tests have been done, as you would expect.

  23. rossthboss 16/07/2010 at 12:44 am #

    Hmmm didn’t embed. Try this:

  24. Johann 16/07/2010 at 12:40 pm #

    My gripe with these is the way they named the routes. CS3 or CS7 etc. At first I had no idea what the CS stood for – and I’m a cyclist! Ah it is Cycle Super something… there is no H to help people. But they go to the effort of painting a bicycle pictogram above this. So it reads from top to bottom Cycle Cycle Super 3. Erm?! Why on earth did they not call it SH3 and SH7, etc since then it will read Cycle Super Highway. Doh!!!

    But whoever is supplying that white paint for these must be in cahoots with someone at TfL since they are painting an awful lot of these and most within visible distance from each other. What is the point? Ah yes someone is making money from supplying white paint to TfL…

  25. Tom Leeks 18/07/2010 at 12:33 pm #

    After my last outburst I have scrolled back through all the earlier comments and I am pleased to see several others agree with at least some of my points and some have persuaded me to modify my views. e.g. having previuosly been outspoken about cycling on the pavement (translate for American readers), I will now agree with Karl (07 Jul) and Sam (09 Jul) that there are several places where wide pavements are safer than narrow road lanes and will not always inconvenience pedestrians although more use of the obligatory warning bell would be advisable. ( I frequently both walk and cycle on the Thames Path between Putney & Hammersmith and note that most cyclists seldom give any warning.) Botogol and others reoeat my point about sudden ending of cycle lanes at junctions, just the place where they are most needed.(e.g. CS7 at Colliers Wood–long straight section before it then as approaching the lane split at the junction to Tandem Centre, Sainsbury’s etc., no blue path through the junction nor one to help the lane split if travelling straight. In situations like this the suggestion from Jim (07 Jul) is worth considering, Cycle only phase of the traffic lights would certainly help a lot at normal junctions but would still not do much for the split and ‘peel off’ lane situation.
    Final comment on the reply to To-jo (07 Jul) by Andreas —” So much more room for pedestrians!” and I would say, “so much more dangerous for pedestrians”.

  26. Iain 09/08/2010 at 3:33 pm #

    Took a trip along CS7 yesterday, I don’t think we need to worry about them being bright blue for long, as there’s already varying shades on there, and quite a lot of dirt…For someone who’s new to cycling in London (every ride’s a new adventure!) the blue ribbon is handy as you can easily follow it knowing where it goes so can concentrate on traffic etc, rather than worrying about roadsigns and working out where you’re trying to go. I did nearly miss a set of lights, but that was more down to the number of people arguing nearby (at 0700!) [I did consider rolling on to stay clear of them] 1.5 metres sounds a lot, until that is you’re riding in one, I found myself generally hugging the outside of the lane to keep a normal gap to the kerb. There were a few points where I did get a bit confused – I didn’t notice anything indicating the jump from the left of the traffic to the right at one point, it was easy enough to do on a Sunday morning, I wouldn’t like to try the same move today though. Similarly, when the lane ends and you move to a pavement stretch caught me out, but I guess that’s something I’ll remember next time (hopefully!) The traffic lighted sections (the special ones for bikes) were impressive, at first I thought “what twit put the button over there where you can’t reach it?” but then the lights changed having picked me up approaching. It is a bit unnerving though to be stopped so far back from the road, in some places out of view of traffic, if they see no one using the crossing, will they just ignore the lights, leading to a collission? My only other issue was that I didn’t pay enough attenton to the buildings etc, so on my way back trying to work out where I had to leave CS7 was tricky, but second time lucky on that one! It’ll be nice when there’s more lanes, hopefully a nice network to cross the city, maybe even encourage some pedestrian/cycle only streets – we can dream!

  27. smiffffy 16/12/2010 at 11:21 am #

    The CS3 through the eastend toward City basically follows the route taken by myself prior to it becoming a “superhighway”, that is backstreets, across pedestrian walkways (carefully!), down singleway roads, and is broken up in many places. Oh and it’s now blue.
    waste of time and paint.

  28. tomk 20/01/2011 at 5:35 pm #

    I rode from the City to Tooting on the Superhighway last night – my debut! Some bits of it were great. Other bits, a joke. Numerous missed opportunities, that I suspect are a function of cost. I would like to see TfL commit to upgrade the route as funding becomes available. I also think Andreas should invite Boris to cycle the length of CS7, and see first hand what it is like…

  29. Cory 02/08/2011 at 9:41 pm #

    I live in a flat overlooking the CS3 that flows past the T-junction at Branch Road & Horseferry Road in Limehouse. At least once per day, a cyclist runs into a car turning right off of Branch Road onto Horseferry Road one way system (the cycle route runs opposite in the opposite direction to the one-way system).


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