Bike paths along main roads are key

I’ve discovered a great new tool on Google Maps which shows the required cycle network in any city, town or village across the country!

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Open Google Maps
  2. Search for your location in the box at the top
  3. Et voilà! Your cycling network map is displayed clearly.

Here’s a bike network map for central London (I’ve removed the labels so you can see the roads more clearly):

A standard road map of London (with the labels removed)

It’s the vehicular cycling network of today, and the all-citizen cycling network of tomorrow!

Here’s how it works:

  • The green and orange roads are main routes which need good quality separated (aka segregated) cycle tracks. These roads are too busy to mix bikes with motor vehicles, especially the green ones. (Note: Since writing this, Google have changed the way they colour the roads, making the green roads yellow, the orange ones white, and the white ones off-white, so it’s not as easy to spot main routes any more. Bah!)
  • Most of the yellow roads require separated cycle tracks, but some of them can be made one-way or be blocked from being used as a through-route by motor traffic, in order to reduce the usefulness of them and therefore reduce the amount of motor vehicles on them.
  • The thin dark lines (or white roads if you zoom in) will all be either one-way streets or filtered to make them useless as through-routes and therefore vastly reduce the amount of motor vehicles on them, and the speed limit will be 20mph or lower, so cycle paths won’t usually be required on them.

Simple, eh? How great of Google to provide us with such a tool!

I’m joking, of course, but the point I’m making is a serious one. There are many advocates for alternative routes for cycling, but the important routes are already there: they’re the main roads, the big ones which go directly from one place to another, which people are already familiar with.

So I’m not entirely convinced about the “quietways” aspect of the Mayor of London’s “Vision”  (I’m not the only one) and nor am I convinced that Hackney has cracked it for cycling.

Of course, I genuinely applaud Hackney council for the filteredpermeability measures, 20mph zones, parking restrictions and removal, and the few cycle paths which they have installed (though I doubt I’d be heard above the sound of Hackney applauding themselves) but their main roads still leave much to be desired and are generally horrible.

While 20mph zones and low-traffic streets are good in themselves (indeed, they’re an important component of a “liveable” city), on their own these measures will not enable mass cycling.

With these cheap and easy options, Hackney is going after the “low-hanging fruit” (i.e. the people who are already eager to use a bike) who will put up with inconveniences such as back-street routes. To grow the cycling rate (and demographic range) will be much more difficult – do they want children riding bikes to school, or pensioners riding bikes to the shops? Do they want people with disabilities – such as wheelchair or motorised scooter users – to be included in this transport revolution?

The problem with the “quietways-only” method favoured by Hackney is that you can’t ride very far without coming up against a large, busy road.

Let’s imagine that every single minor road and street in London had been properly traffic-calmed to a level where everybody felt safe riding a bike on them, but the busy main roads were still places full of heavy traffic where bicycles and motor vehicles were expected to mix. The “safe cycling” map of London might look like this (black lines only):

A map of central London with the main roads removed.

Hmm, these quietways are rather restrictive and disjointed. (Note that the black lines include walking-only routes, so it would be even worse than this. If only Hyde Park was that cycle-friendly!)

Not much use, is it? All the useful, direct routes with the places you want to go are out of reach. The streets which are inviting for cycling don’t go anywhere useful, and each neighbourhood is disconnected from the next by a main road. Even if the main roads could be crossed without actually cycling along them, it’s not a good transport system because the small streets are difficult to navigate.

This is what cycling through Hackney feels like to me. There are some fine streets, but you’ll frequently come up against horrible motor vehicle-dominated thoroughfares. It’s not a network, it’s a patchwork.

Main roads are the main roads for many reasons: They are the direct routes from A to B. They have the shops, the pubs, the dentists, etc., which people want to visit. They offer social safety, in that they’re well-lit, visible and busy.

Similarly, the back streets are quiet for a reason. They’re not direct routes to anywhere. They’re mainly residential, with few locations people wish to visit. Late at night they can be largely deserted, which leads to people fearing to use them.

A photograph of a dark, empty, spooky street

“This quietway might be a little too quiet…” (Photo: Sereno Casastorta)

Why should people be relegated to fiddly routes through small streets just because they’ve chosen to ride a bike, while people driving cars have the most convenient, easy and direct routes?

Furthermore, if we really are planning for huge increases in cycling, why should these quiet residential streets be over-run with people on bikes? Can they really become a safe place for children to play if they’re also rat-runs for thousands of bike users who have no more connection with the area than a taxi cutting through from one station to another?

As far as I can see, cycle paths along main roads is the headline. Filtered permeability and 20mph zones are great, but they’re just the support act. Without dedicated bike paths on the main roads these streets are nice but disjointed fragments which will do little to encourage more cycling.

Most of the major roads in London could easily support decent cycle paths, and I suspect that’s true for much of the UK also. (Certainly, it is the case in Leeds.) It may be a politically difficult step to take, but it’s a necessary one if cycling is to become a serious transport choice for everyone.


If you’re wondering how I made the custom maps, I used this.


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31 responses to “Bike paths along main roads are key

  1. I cycle to get somewhere and so meandering around back streets doesn’t help. My commute is a blast down a cycle track next to a trunk road and then a principle route into town. There are a couple of alternatives on quieter roads, but they are longer and yes, you cross busier roads. Day to day business trips will be a combination of back streets (where they are most direct) and main roads. The answer is as you suggest, both.

    • I almost exclusively use the back streets, because I just can’t be bothered with the stress and hassle of mixing with all those motor vehicles – but I’m a weirdo who actually wants to use a bike. I’m not just low-hanging fruit, I’m windfall fruit, lying on the ground! Most people want to stick to the direct routes they already know.

      The answer is to have both, as you say, but I think that cycle tracks along the main routes are actually more important if we’re wanting to get millions of people on a bike for transport.

      Looking at the map at the top of this post, if I was only allowed to ride along the green, orange and yellow roads (i.e. not the black ones) I could get pretty much anywhere in London easily, with only a few minutes’ walk at either end.

  2. “Main roads are the main roads for many reasons: They are the direct routes from A to B” this is almost word for word what I’ve been arguing for a while. Main roads are main roads to get people from one place to another as easily and quickly as possible, cyclists should never be expected to take round the houses routes, as if we were second class citizens and have time to waste.

    • Ah, thanks for the link! I’ve added it to the article (just below the third image) as your article is a great example of why back-street routes are really second best.

      I’m sure that so many cycling campaigners push for these measures because they’re politically easier than asking for proper cycle paths along the main routes.

  3. Dan

    I completely agree with what you say here. Direct routes are absolutely key. In the Netherlands, in many places, it is the bike that gets the direct route, and cars are forced to go a longer way. Not sure there is the political will for that here, except in a few towns, like Cambridge and Oxford.

    • I’m glad you liked the article!

      The political will thing is a funny one. It’s been a cornerstone of UK cycle campaigning for decades – “if only we can convince enough people to start riding on the roads, we’ll have enough political power to change things for the better.”

      Unfortunately, Cambridge and Oxford rather disprove this! Both cities have much higher cycle use than elsewhere in the UK, yet provision is still very poor and the local cycling campaigners have very low ambitions.

  4. There’s also the question, alluded to in this correspondence, of what’s “politically easy” or “politically possible”. When I look at the streets of Outer London, and think of how many attempts there have been to get “alternative routes” through back streets and paths, and how, due to one political obstacle or another (parking pressure, pressure to keep rat runs, bus routes, dog walkers on paths etc) or practical obstacle (the roads/paths don’t go where they are needed to go, hills are too steep), or a combination of many of these obstacles, they have never actually come to anything that is of good enough quality to be a viable alternative to cycling on the main roads, I conclude that, along the line, a political miscalculation was made. It turns out, empirically, it is NOT politically easier to get excellent, useable routes on back streets than it is to convert the main roads, because nobody has so far ever succeeded with either, whereas all the effort thus far has gone into the former!

    • @angus_fx

      Not sure that your empiricism holds water. A man attempts to lift a car, and it barely budges. This does not necessarily mean that a lorry would be easier to lift.

      Neither the CSes nor the LCNs are as good as they could or should be, we all know that, but the better bits of Southwark’s LCN are closer to being something I’d let my kids cycle on than any part of CS7 or CS8.

      Maybe my part of town is unusual, but there are quite a few main roads around here that pre-date mass car ownership – the only way you’ll get cycle infrastructure along them is to CPO chunks of peoples’ front gardens. Something I’d thoroughly support, for sure, but not likely when modal share in the borough is maybe 2%.

  5. @angus_fx

    Agree to some extent, but with a few caveats.

    Main roads can be crossed. If we’re talking about kids cycling to school, I’d be more comfortable with them using a Toucan (or a Zebra, although too many scummy drivers around here ignore them) to cross a main road than sharing a lane with buses and taxis to ride along one, or use an ASL to negotiate a right turn. Even with proper infra along main roads, the need to cross on a bike doesn’t go away. A patchwork of little roads joined by Toucan crossings isn’t what I’d want as a middling-distance fast commuter, but for the kind of trips where most people might be persuaded to ditch their cars – two or three miles, crossing maybe three big roads on the way – it doesn’t sound too bad.

    I want to go places where there’s stuff, but my commute is longish by London standards (7.5 miles) and I don’t need or want to visit every town centre on the way. These are busy, crowded places, usually with a few sets of traffic lights; a cycle route that bypasses them by a couple of hundred metres – preferably offering a safe spur for those who want to go to that particular town centre – may actually be more useful. Again, even with proper infra, long waits at town centre junctions aren’t going to disappear.

    Cyclists disrupting play… file that under nice-problem-to-have. Cyclists have a lot more skin in the game, quite literally, than people behind a windshield, they’re much more aware of what’s going on around them. In places where this has already become a problem (usually shared use paths intended for a mix of recreation and transport, much narrower than a residential road), signs to remind people to cycle considerately tend to work well.

    London’s air quality is never exactly fantastic, but Quietway-style routes have a significant advantage over Superhighways there. Less noise pollution too. Riding up a hill breathing taxi exhaust is not my idea of a nice commute. Just as a matter of interest, I plotted my commute (which mostly follows LCN route 23, an existing Quietway-ish route through Southwark albeit of variable quality & less-than-adequate signage) on Google Maps & compared it to the recommended car route along main roads. The distance is the same to within 10% (the back streets route actually slightly shorter thanks to Southwark’s filtered permeability), and the quiet route has about half the number of traffic lights, and virtually no signalled pedestrian crossings as they’re not needed on back streets.

    • The back street route from Waterloo to Euston is similar in terms of distance to the main road route, and not that complex (here). Moreover, it has the advantage of allowing you to cycle right up to the front door, and not having to lug your bike up some steps.

    • With proper infrastructure in place (as seen in Netherlands/Denmark) crossing a road would be handled similar to how a car would cross in the same situation. With either light controlled junctions or, in areas with low traffic flow, priority given to cyclists (both of these would of course include being fully separated from motor traffic). Being kettled into signalised crossings, where priority would most likely be given to motor traffic, i would argue is not most people’s idea of *convenient*, safe and continuous bicycle infrastructure. Which is what is needed to get the majority of people cycling.

      I do, however, agree with your point on ‘play disruption’, even if a proportion of cyclists do cycle at speed through these areas. I imagine it would still be preferable to speeding motorists and the behaviour can be dealt with if or when it appears (the police have often demonstrated how easy it is to go after cyclists….).

    • Thanks for your good points, Angus!

      Regarding the “bikes disrupting play” thing, I think my point has been missed a little!

      What I’m saying is that quiet residential streets shouldn’t be used as the main (or only) route for thousands of commuters on bikes.

      Of course, quiet streets should be available to ride a bike along, but they shouldn’t be promoted as the main traffic arteries.

  6. In your comment on to me on the aseasyasriding blog, you say that you don’t understand where I am coming from. But why is this? Can you not see that developing isolated bits of infrastructure where they’re most needed is best done within the framework of a functioning cycle network?

    In this blog, you write that main roads are the main roads for many reasons: they are the direct routes from A to B, and they have the shops, the pubs, the dentists, etc., which people want to visit. Could you identify a main road on this map which has not been incorporated into the proposed network and which has shops, pubs and dentists on it?

    Why don’t you understand where I am coming from? Perhaps it is because you know better than these funny-sounding people. Or maybe it’s because you listen to a different sort of music. Whatever it is, I find your attitude towards me unnecessarily aggressive.

    • I’m sorry if you think I’ve been aggressive towards you Simon, although I don’t see where I have been. I’ve had this blog post in draft form for quite a while, so it wasn’t inspired by our discussion on As Easy As Riding A Bike (for anyone else following, it’s here) but of course your points came to mind while I was finishing it off.

      Yes, I agree that developing infrastructure is best done within the framework of a network – but we already have a network. The main roads are already the network for a great number of bike users, so let’s build on that.

      You keep using the word “isolated” which I think you’re using in a derogatory manner, but of course any new infrastructure is going to be isolated to begin with. The M1 wasn’t built in a day!

      I still don’t understand why we need a completely new map for bikes. (The map link you sent to doesn’t work.) Even if we did have a new set of preferred, marked, signed routes for bikes, we would still need cycle paths along all the main roads. There’s no getting away from that!

      It seems that you want the government to adopt your network plans wholesale before you’ll countenance the building of anything. Well I don’t agree. There are many, many roads and junctions which would benefit from Dutch-style infrastructure in complete isolation. (But of course, I’d much rather they were part of a network of good infrastructure.)

      Oh, and thanks for the songs. :s

      • Okay, apology accepted. But I will just say that research is research wherever it comes from, and shouldn’t be dismissed entirely on the grounds that it comes from a country which doesn’t do cycling very well. Can you imagine, just by way of example, some guy writes a paper on human rights, and then somebody else says, “Human rights! What do you know about it? You’re from North Korea! I ain’t going to listen to you. No, if I want to know about human rights, I am only going to listen to Norwegians.”

        But anyway, if we are only going to listen to Europeans, let’s at least listen to them. To quote Cycling: the way ahead, “A large number of potential cyclists are already thinking about cycling today. But they are simply waiting for a sign from the public authorities before they get back on their bicycles along the lines of ‘it’s safe to ride a bike — your area authority is taking care of what needs to be done.’”

        To be clear, then, when I suggest that <a href=those painted cycle images on the road would make a difference to anyone who’s thinking of using a bike, I mean it. As Andrew Davis from the Environmental Transport Association has pointed out, “It only needs people on the margin [to begin with]: the people who are more likely to do it, to encourage them. Of course there are people who won’t do it whatever, but if enough people start to do it, it does make a change.”

        Let’s just recap some of the comments you have made over the last couple of days:

        “I’d like to cover the whole country in infrastructure overnight! But that’s not feasible, is it?”

        “The answer is to have both [back street and main road routes] but I think that cycle tracks along the main routes are actually more important if we’re wanting to get millions of people on a bike for transport.”

        “Even if we did have a new set of preferred, marked, signed routes for bikes, we would still need cycle paths along all the main roads.”

        Apart from needing cycle paths on all main roads, I would agree with these points. I do, however, fundamentally disagree with this: “We already have a network. The main roads are already the network for a great number of bike users, so let’s build on that.”

        I don’t know how long you have been doing this, but I remember the time when the LCN was abandoned in favour of “a slimmed-down network focused on direct, high demand, high quality routes reflecting key strategic commuter routes.” This network was rebranded LCN+, and contrary to what David Arditti keeps saying, was mainly routed along main roads. A few years ago I called TfL and asked them to give me a single example of the LCN+ working well, and had the phone put down on me.

        I recall Ken Livingstone writing to Lynne Featherstone on 28 September 2001: “In the current financial year a high quality, high profile cycle route is being developed from the Elephant and Castle to Euston.”

        So I have heard it all before, you know? Now, I don’t doubt for a second that it is different this time around, and that Boris and TfL will deliver on their high profile schemes. But what actually do they amount to? Paul M has recently commented on the Cyclists in the City blog, saying, “Who wants to go from Hillingdon to Canary Wharf?” Even if there was such a person, why would he or she not travel along something like the most direct route?

        You say that I want the government to adopt my network plans wholesale before I’ll countenance the building of anything. I don’t understand why you believe I am saying this. We know what’s going to happen over the next two or three years, and all I am saying is, we can do much more than this. Indeed, I predict that a year or two after this network has been “introduced” – which could be as soon as 2015, by the way – at least 5% of all journeys in London would be made by bike.

        If you think there are any main roads missing from my proposed design for a comprehensive, city-wide cycle network, please can you use this facility.

        The link that I tried to send you, by the way, is here. Golly gosh! It’s half-past three already! Doesn’t time fly? Nighty night.

        • Hi Simon, sorry for my delayed reply.

          I’m not sure that Andrew Davis is correct – there’s only so far you can go with pictograms of bikes on the road. Look at Hackney, it has some decent off-main-road bike routes, yet the modal share is still only 6%. I doubt they’ll make it far into double figures without tackling the main roads, and the only way to make them conducive to mass cycling is to have cycle paths along them.

          Or look at Cambridge, the cycling capital of Britain, where the evening paper is full of hatred for cyclists and the local campaign is reduced to asking for minor vehicular cycling improvements. So I’m sure that small improvements don’t get us anywhere fast. They seem to me to be a case of vehicular cyclists suggesting things which would make vehicular cycling more comfortable, and have nothing whatsoever to do with getting millions of people riding bikes.

          So what you’re saying is that cycle networks have been announced many times before and have come to nothing? I agree. There are mysterious hieroglyphics painted on the road around here referring to LCN route 3 (or something route 3, anyway). So what was wrong with those networks that yours will fix?

          You often talk of a “network to a minimum level of functioning” (or words to that effect). Genuine question: what does this mean? In what way would such a network differ from the LCN and NCN “routes” which meander across London? To adopt your network to a minimum level of functioning, what would be required?

          • You ask, “To adopt [my proposed] network to a minimum level of functioning, what would be required?”

            In Car Sick: solutions for our car-addicted culture, Lynn Sloman writes: “The focus of our attention should switch from a few grandiose engineering schemes to thousands of small initiatives.”

            Paul M recently left a comment on the Cyclists in the City blog: “Much as I applaud the Mayor’s apparent conversion […], it does seem to me that he is still too enamoured of grandiose trophy schemes, where a zillion small improvements would deliver more benefit.”

            Even if the impact of such small initiatives “is not massive,” Cycling: the way ahead observes, “it will be real [my emphasis].” Granted, the sorts of things that the authors have in mind are not likely to flip your pancakes – improvement of cyclists’ comfort, raising the awareness of motorists, encouraging the mass of non-cyclists who are most likely to take up cycling again – but their approach is informed very much by realpolitik, and by pragmatism, and not so much by idealism.

            The path you are advocating – “isolated bits of infrastructure where they’re most needed (junctions, fast/busy roads), then join up the gaps, in order of neediness” – is known as an “Adjustment policy” or a “bottom-up approach”. In short, this involves “micro-measures aimed at improving specific situations”, and this might sound like a good idea to you, but actually it is possible to “go much further than [such] a strictly pragmatic and ad hoc approach.”

            “Once there is a connected network,” Matthias Doepke from Northwestern University has suggested, “the attractiveness of biking goes up a lot.” Now, either you accept this point of view or you don’t. If you do accept it, Cycling: the way ahead makes the following point: “The network can be introduced on the basis of an overall plan (preliminary plan).”

            The rationale behind this approach is simple: it cuts through the red tape. Certainly I do not oppose parts of the network being developed to very high standards, so long as the introduction of the whole of it is not unduly delayed by these works.

            Finally, a brief response to your question about what was wrong with the old LCN. Firstly, the architects of the project never accepted the prudence of introducing the whole of it all in one go. Thus it was never made to function, as this map [pdf] shows. Secondly, routes on the LCN tended to be selected on the basis that they are ‘safe’ before they are anything else, whereas in my proposed design, routes are selected on the basis that they are meaningful and direct before they are anything else. (If you haven’t already done so, please could you read this comment which I posted on Rachel Aldred’s blog.)

            In the specific case of the route between Waterloo and Euston, it is easier to get the back street route to function at an “adequate” level that the main road route. But do please bear in mind that the design process often involves many iterations and cycles before we can be happy with the final result.

            • I still don’t understand, Simon! What does this “network to a minimum level of functioning” look like? Are you talking about a paper map? Signposts? Road markings? Filtered permeability? Please, be specific about what you’re suggesting!

              If Cycling: The Way Ahead really does recommend “improvement of cyclists’ comfort, raising the awareness of motorists, encouraging the mass of non-cyclists who are most likely to take up cycling again” then that just sounds to me like more of the same old failed ASLs, poster campaigns and training.

              • My brother and his wife are looking to buy a new house. When they came back from one of their viewings, I asked them what the house was like. They said it was ‘functional’. I understood what they meant by this, and I imagine that you do too.

                If you know what ‘functional’ means when it is used to describe a house, or a car, or a mobile phone, or whatever else, why do you not understand what it means when it used to describe a cycle network?

                With regard to the network of Quietways that the Mayor has proposed, the idea, as I understand it, is to remove barriers where they have been installed across paths (e.g. here), to make more routes available through parks <e.g. here), to install drop kerbs where needed (e.g. here), to make one-way streets available to two-way cycle traffic (e.g. here, to introduce more filtered permeability (e.g. here), and so on.

                On a network of Quietways, such facilities as these would obviously help to make a difference. For “the mass of non-cyclists who are most likely to take up cycling again”, these routes are already safe and pleasant. Attending to the various issues outlined above would also make them usable.

                Welcome as this is likely to be, the fact remains that this network would only have limited strategic value. In order to take a truly strategic view, some form of provision for cycling is also needed on main roads. However, in this instance, as we both know, only segregated cycling facilities would be appropriate. Unfortunately, as we also both know, segregated cycling facilities cannot be installed with just a click of the fingers.

                So, until such time as segregated cycling facilities can be installed, what should be done? Some people take the view that because not ‘everything’ can be done, this is as good a reason as any to do ‘nothing’. I am not one of those people. For me, ‘something’ is always better than ‘nothing’, even if that ‘something’ doesn’t amount to much.

                The “prudent course” would be to do as much as possible at least bureaucracy first. Get the network up and running! If a comprehensive, city-wide cycle network sounds to you like “more of the same old failed ASLs, poster campaigns and training”, and not “a basic precondition of mass cycling”, then you’re completely – perhaps even deliberately? – missing the point.

              • Ah, so you mean quietways!

                “…until such time as segregated cycling facilities can be installed…” – Remind me why cycle paths can’t be installed now? Why shouldn’t campaigners ask for them to be installed? I’ve planned out my network, now I want it implementing!

                There will never be a time when segregated cycling facilities could be installed with just a click of the fingers, it will always take time, so why not start now? Why wait until some second-class back-streets “quietways” network has been completed first?

                “If a comprehensive, city-wide cycle network sounds to you like ‘more of the same old failed ASLs, poster campaigns and training’…” Again you mis-quote me. I was referring to this: “…improvement of cyclists’ comfort, raising the awareness of motorists, encouraging the mass of non-cyclists who are most likely to take up cycling again…” which really does sound to me like the same old failed nonsense of small “improvements” for existing cyclists, “raising awareness” and “encouragement”. They use those exact words! Which bit am I not understanding?

  7. Koen

    In an ideal situation, the cyclist would have a choice. Let’s say, it’s a beautiful day, you’re going for a ride with the kids, so you would like to take the quiet byways. But next Monday, it’s foggy, it’s dark and late at night, and as a woman you would be a bit uncomfortable on those same streets. You’d prefer a well lit, busy main road. That leaves something to aspire to. It will not be achieved in three years, but ten years could make a whole lot of difference, given the vision and political will to implement it are there.
    Yet I agree, good provisions on the main routes which are used by the most cyclists will benefit much more people in those first years, than just the quiet bakways. After all, most of the important destinations will all be along those same main roads.

    • Absolutely – the quiet streets should be available as an option, but here in the UK they’re pushed as the primary route for cycling. If we’re serious about increasing cycling levels in the UK, it just won’t work! We need bike paths along the main roads regardless of any other solutions such as new bike maps or “quietways”. I just don’t see any alternative.

      • The problem i have with networks of quiet roads are that they are a pain to learn to navigate through, especially when you’re learning a new route. I’d rather just have to manage two or three road changes, than a whole network of them. (Main road A to Main road B and onwards to destination C. Vs : Road A to destination C through minor roads B,D,E,F and G.)

  8. Pingback: Thoughts on Cambridge’s Cycling Infrastucture | Ely Cycling Campaign

  9. 19th July 2013

    I use the North-South route through Holborn all the time, I didn’t realise you were behind it! The best bit is the cycle path along High Holborn.

    It’s very annoying that Bury Place has been blocked off without even so much as the usual “cyclists dismount” sign. I carefully use the footpath (if it’s busy I’ll get off and push). But I shouldn’t have to, there should be a proper, safe diversion in place.

    Anyway, thanks for creating that route. Without it I wouldn’t have cycled half as much as I have done, as it provides a largely non-scary way through. It ties up pretty well with the Torrington track, which ties up with Royal College Street (via Ossulston Street) so for me it’s enabled many journeys between Camden and Waterloo.

    23rd March 2013

    To get from Waterloo to Euston, the obvious route is over Waterloo Bridge and up Kingsway to the top, crossing over Euston Road and you’re there. If that’s not the route – if bike users are instead directed along a complex network of back streets – then we’re not going to convert many people off the buses and tubes. Those “Enthused and Confident” cyclists will know the way already, and go straight up Kingsway, as I described.

    • Sigh. What’s your point Simon, are you suggesting that my two comments are incompatible? Because they’re not.

      I’m enthusiastic about cycling, I really love riding my bike, but I hate riding among motor traffic. Therefore I’m willing to go round the back streets for a more pleasant, but much less convenient, journey. The disjointed wiggly route to avoid Kingsway works for me.

      But it won’t work for many. Wiggly back-street routes are not the way to get the masses cycling. They’ll want direct, clear, continuous, obvious, safe cycle paths along roads they know.

      I’d also argue that the wiggly route couldn’t handle large numbers of people on bikes, especially at the many junctions, whereas a direct cycle path along Kingsway/Southampton Row would.

      • Who said anything about back street routes about being a way to get the masses cycling? Not me. Definitely not me.

        I think the greatest dishonesty from London-based cycle advocates is the idea that, within a relatively short period of time, it is possible to develop a cycling environment which could be used by The Interested but Concerned.

        The case is, this group requires that the bar be set very high indeed. Even so, people genuinely seem to believe that we can just turn up on Sports Day, so to speak, fat and wheezing from all of our inactivity, and launch ourselves over this bar at the first attempt! You know, as if by magic!

        I detest this way of thinking. I genuinely believe it is killing people. Because while you lot are talking, absolutely sweet fuck all is happening.

        On 9th December 2002, Mary Hansen, a singer and instrumentalist with the band Stereolab, was hit by a truck and killed whilst riding her bicycle in London. She was 36-years old.

        Can you point to any decent bit of cycle infrastructure that has been installed since then? Anything at all?

        No? Me neither.

        • What’s your point, Simon? I don’t understand what you’re getting at. You turn up here quoting comments I’ve made elsewhere without any reason I can see, then you go off on a tangent about Mary Hansen. What are you trying to say?

        • “Because while you lot are talking, absolutely sweet fuck all is happening.”

          And what has your over-complicated mapping system achieved in the past 10 years?

  10. Pingback: Study Abroad – First Stop: London | Cycling in Christchurch

  11. Pingback: Flashback Friday: Study Abroad – First Stop: London – Cycling in Christchurch

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