After showing perhaps the most dangerous cycle crossing in the UK a few days ago, now here's a chance (courtesy of gaz545) to see one of London's newest and most impressive pieces of cycling infrastructure: "Cycle Superhighway" number 7 - or should I say "Barclays Cycle Superhighway 7" as these things now have a corporate sponsor.
Just as before when I've covered London's "superhighways", there is very much to criticise. Here's a start, annotated with the time on the video:
- 0:00 The "superhighway" is not continuous. At the start of the video there is nothing to see.
- 0:02 At the road junction the white lines are missing, making it less obvious that drivers should not cut across cyclists in order to turn left.
- 0:13 The cycle lane was narrow enough already, but becomes narrower - especially if you were looking at the line.
- 0:15 The cycle lane is narrow, but also note the pavement (sidewalk) width
- 0:23 Detritus in the cycle lane.
- 0:24 The red line from the left crosses the "superhighway" and takes the place of the white line. I lived in the UK for many years, but I don't know the significance of this. Does it mean cars can park on this part of the "superhighway."
- 0:37 Road works overflowing into the "superhighway," leaving even less space for the cyclist
- 0:39 Arrows on the "superhighway" directing someone to the right. Presumably not cyclists...
- 0:40 Oh, it's become a "bus lane". Over here we don't ride in bus lanes even when there are road works on the cycle path. Buses are really not compatible with bicycles, and there's nothing like them to lower subjective safety.
- 0:47 The blue disappeared again, but returns, apparently a bit narrower than before.
- 0:53 and it's gone again...
- 0:54 A bus stop in the superhighway. There are better ways of taking cyclists past bus stops.
- 1:05 Rough manhole cover nearly half the width of the "superhighway"
- 1:06 Again the red line goes to the other side and back again.
- 1:12 Another large manhole cover
- 1:16 The "superhighway" gets a bit thinner again, and then another manhole.
- 1:19 Railings against which cyclists can be crushed by motor vehicles.
- 1:38 Another bus stop
- 1:48 Another narrowing and then it disappears again
- 2:03 Another narrowing, right next to a left turn and a change in the style of white line. This could give the impression that cyclists have lower priority.
- 2:06 and another bus stop
- 2:08 Passing another cyclist, but the "superhighway" isn't wide enough to do this without pulling onto the rest of the road.
- 2:10 Disappearing blue paint again, right next to parking for cars so this could lead to drivers thinking they don't have to take any notice of cyclists going straight on.
- 2:15 The "superhighway" suddenly swerves to the left.
And that's the end of the video. I didn't note all the problems I saw, it was a bit repetitive. However, I hope I gave a good impression of why this is bad infrastructure. I have pointed out 24 possible problems which occur in just over 2 minutes of cycling.
What do we have here ? It's not continuous, it doesn't offer cyclists a more direct journey than drivers, there is no proper segregation from the road so low subjective safety, the on-road lanes are too narrow, the surface quality is bad (manholes etc.), there is no special treatment for cyclists at traffic lights. It's really an extraordinarily poor example next to what the Dutch are doing, without any of the fanfare.
For more on the London "superhighways", click here. To see what we get here in the Netherlands, click here.