The capital’s cycling provision keeps cycling campaigners in business; a list of junctions that weren’t designed for cycling would include 99% of the junctions in London. But what are the worst of the worst? The real places that cyclists dread to go? Here are twelve infamous candidates.
Images courtesy of Google Street View.
Southampton Row/Theobalds Road, Holborn
This junction is utterly vast, and it has absolutely no serious cycling provision. Three people have died here since 2008. After years of doing nothing, Camden council are looking at letting cyclists use the bus lane – police have in the past fined people for doing so.
Aldgate East, Whitechapel/Commercial Street
One of the most deadly junctions in London to feature the infamous unbordered blue paint. Two people on bikes died here in 2013. A horrible, hostile place to cycle, with a big, blue invitation to cyclists to put their lives at risk.
Five lanes of endless taxis and coaches coming from each and every direction. Parliament Square is particularly ridiculous because at some points in the morning rush-hour bikes outnumber cars, and still get a derisory amount of space. Fingers crossed: if Boris gets his East-West route along the Embankment, one side of it could become a massive, segregated cycle track. For now, if you’d like to plan an alternative route, we thoroughly recommend BikeHub.
Shoreditch Highstreet/Commercial Street
Particularly disappointing as it’s right next to one of the busiest stations on the relatively bike-friendly London Overground. Trendy Shoreditch is supposed to have an infatuation with bikes, but big, messy junctions like this probably aren’t the reason. You’d have to really love your fixed-gear to throw yourself through this on it.
Camden Town station
Camden is supposed to be one of the better boroughs for cycling, which is what makes the mess outside Camden Town station so galling. The youthful area is probably one of the biggest missed opportunities for latent cycling demand in the capital; a circuitous one way system, not enough space for pedestrians (who end up on the road), and high volumes of fast moving, multi-lane traffic means using a bike here can be incredibly unpleasant.
Euston Road/Grey’s Inn Road/Pentonville road
Euston Road is essentially a motorway, unleashed on central London. That’s bad enough, until you add in a vast one way system with no contraflows, and huge junctions. Giant amounts of available space and no provision suggest the authorities simply don’t care. It’s little wonder most people on bikes try to avoid King’s Cross.
See also: What I’ve learnt from hitting the tarmac – Michelle shares her lessons from two collisions caused by drivers.
The north end of Blackfriars bridge has seen fewer serious injuries and fatalities since a successfully cyclists’ campaign to make simple changes to its layout. Despite this, using the bridge as a cyclist is still subjectively terrifying, with huge amounts of space devoted to multi-lane motor traffic, despite the numerical superiority of bikes at the morning rush-hour.
Elephant and Castle roundabout
A wind-swept, multi-lane roundabout, with five arms, some one-way, some not, and each with as many as four lanes of traffic in each direction. The bus hub of inner-South London, and irritatingly on the way to everywhere you want to go unless you plan your route around it. Challenging enough in a car, never mind on a bike.
Old Street roundabout
The Elephant and Castle of East London: not somewhere you want to end up in the middle of on a bike. Ride around it and you get the feeling you’re really not supposed to be there. Stick to the side streets in this area if you want an easier life.
Somehow both confusing and limiting at the same time. A mega junction of ten lanes, some one-way, some not; right turns in particular are an absolute nightmare here, crossing several lanes of traffic moving in different directions. Literally no cycling provision to speak of.
Lambeth Bridge roundabout
Two lanes and fairly clear roads means that motorists plough through Lambeth Bridge roundabout at high speed. The high number of collisions here has led to the London Cycling Campaign calling for this junction to become the first in London to try out the new segregated ‘Dutch style’ roundabouts being tested at the Transport Research Laboratory.
Two tragic deaths in late 2011 cast Bow roundabout into the public eye, and TfL made a number of changes to its deadly design. Late last year these proved to be insufficient, and another cyclist was killed here. The number of lorries using the route, its geometry, and the inadequacy of the protection for cyclists are a deadly combination.
If you are ever in an accident and you’d like to talk to someone about any damage to your bike or any injuries, London Cyclist is partnered up with CAMS to offer advice. Click here to find out more. Most cyclists chalk it down to bad luck, but we are strong believers in not having to pay for repairs to your bike, if it isn’t your fault.