Cycling in Sydney Australia
An update on a project that will hopefully inspire Sydney transport planners is London's Cycle Superhighway (CS) concept. (pics below)
Today I rode on the part finished CS8, along Chelsea embankment, one of the busier routes into London from the west. The route I cycled was a 3 mile stretch along the north side of the Thames ending at Parliament (Big Ben)
On much of the route they have taken a lane from the cars and given it to cyclists.The Superhighway surface has improved. On most of it the surface is low rolling resistance paint, but coming to intersections the surface changes to become a lot more gritty/grippy to allow for harder braking etc.
The new route is much wider than CS7 allowing 3 abreast each way in some sections. A great example of "build it and they will come".
Some stats from Transport for London (TFL) on the 2 of 12 completed routes:
Peak hour increases of 100% in some sections of the routes
This years cycling budget for TFL and the Mayor is £116
Coming up to Vauxhall Bridge
Outside Tate Britain on Millbank
I do like the amount of people using these Cycle Superhighways - and wonder with the increase in Sydney - we will encourage more cyclists into the bus-bike lanes. I would like it if King St, Newtown was converted to a bus-bike lane in both directions - removing the parking - although I suppose the small gap between the parked cars will do for the moment.
Here is the CS7 in use.
Close friends I know that live & cycle there aren't that impressed with the way the money has been spent and they don't feel safer on the blue paint no matter which of the 'CSx' routes they take. And neither is the Transport Committee it would seem. Those photos show some of the 'best' sections. Most are nothing more than a bit of blue paint, barely wider than your handlebars, requiring swerving around buses & parked black cabs.
"The upgraded cycling network, an investment of 166 million pounds, is so far not a resounding success, according to the Transport Committee. Eventually this is to generate an additional 120,000 bicycle journeys, but the two pilot superhighways are attracting 5000 cyclists a day, and one per cent of those interviewed indicate having taken up cycling because of the cycling superhighways. And 60 per cent say they do not feel any safer on the blue lanes."
...and just because there are a lot of cyclists out and about doesn't mean that an appreciable increase in the mode share has occurred. If we (and the UK & the US) aim low enough we will always hit the target. Percentages mean more than raw numbers. There are a lot of people in central London and far too much motorised traffic.
Cycling on these CSs is like being in a race. Forget cycling here if you are an average person.
Only 2 of 12 Superhighways are built and both were pilots, CS3 and 7. I used to ride CS7 (in the video) daily. Agree that it is narrow in places and doesn't provide as much segregation as many would like.
One can only hope that the designers of future routes (such as CS8) build on the learnings from the initial two pilot routes
I politely disagree with "Cycling on these CSs is like being in a race". I'm very average (when it comes to cycling speed) and trundle along on my 40yr old Raleigh, Gazelle, Giant or foldie and have no sense of it being a race. I get overtaken a lot, but I also overtake others trundling along. This evening I'll have to ride home in my business suit and will see quite a few others similarly attired. It might feel like a race to some, but I'd argue they are the minority.
The wide ones are good and they do need to ensure that they are not interrupted by bus-stops - which may well be very difficult to achieve with paint alone!
They were referring to CS7 during peak periods when referring to it as a race but I'm glad that that is not the case from your experience. The only opinion I have on it personally is based on many videos on YouTube of riders using it - usually at great speed - but perhaps these guys are the only ones riding like that (ie. the ones filming it)!