Whether you like it or not, the River Thames is there, cutting through the centre of the Capital. But what happens when you have to cross it? On the Tube, you might not even notice; but on a bike, it can be a real pain. Here’s London Cyclist’s ranking of central London’s bridges, from worst to best. All images are from Google Streetview.
0/10 Millennium Bridge
No cycling allowed whatsoever – get off and push.
2/10 Tower bridge
No cycle lane at all, narrow lanes, and dangerous railings that mean you can’t even bail onto the pavement if you’re about to be crushed.
2/10 Battersea bridge
A similar story to Tower Bridge, with dangerous railings blocking the emergency exit.
3/10 Vauxhall bridge
Has a laughable gutter cycle lane that spends most of rush-hour under cars on one side; bus lane can be found on the other. Access also involves cycling through the scary Vauxhall roundabout.
4/10 Waterloo bridge
Cycle lanes inexplicably give out half way down the bridge – and Westminster Council is happy to let people park all over them on Sundays.
4/10 Chelsea bridge
A partial, unprotected, very narrow cycle lane crammed in despite two lanes of traffic in one direction – all the more awful considering it is supposed to be a Cycle Superhighway
4/10 Lambeth bridge
A narrow mandatory cycle lane on one side, a bus lane on the other, with fast-moving traffic and no segregation.
5/10 Westminster Bridge
There are narrow, optional cycle lanes the whole way across the bridge. Huge amounts of space given to motor vehicles despite the fact that the pavements are so crowded that tourists taking picture of Big Ben habitually stand in the road (usually the cycle lane). Should really be completely pedestrianised.
5/10 Blackfriars bridge
A mandatory cycle lane on one side and a non-mandatory on the other. Neither are segregated, but both are buffered from a general traffic lane by bus lanes. Doesn’t sound too awful, but unfortunately the actual access to the bridge featured in our worst junctions in London.
8/10 Southwark bridge
Not perfect, but by London standards, still glorious. Fully curb segregated cycle lanes with gaps if you need to leave, incorporating ‘forgiving’ curbs on one side. A little bit narrow so overtaking is difficult, and some annoying ironwork on the road surface, but still a pleasant experience.