Crossrail for bikes: Boris unveils fully-segregated cycle lanes in billion-pound plan to revolutionise cycling in London

Scheme includes improvements at worst junctions and outer suburbs targeted for high spending trials

The Mayor of London led a celebrity cyclist through rain for what looked like another boring photocall. But as Boris Johnson and Chris Boardman pedalled back into traffic yesterday, they left behind a billion-pound vision for cycling hailed even by some of the mayor’s critics as a potential revolution in British transport.

The mayor, dressed in suit and tie, said he wanted to “de-Lycrafy cycling” and push conflict and fear off the roads, revealing a 10-year plan that represents an unprecedented challenge to the supremacy of the car.

The £913m vision includes extensive Dutch-style segregated cycle ways, including a 15-mile “Crossrail for the bicycle”, and the redrawing of dangerous junctions.

Parts of the elevated Westway road will be repaved for cyclists. “The ultimate symbol of how the urban motorway tore up our cities will become the ultimate symbol of how we are claiming central London for the bike,” Johnson said. “Cycling will be treated not as niche [but] what it is: an integral part of the transport network.”

Boardman, the Olympic gold medallist credited with kick-starting Britain’s bike boom, called the plans “the most ambitious cycling development and promotion plan in the UK in living memory, perhaps ever.”

Sir Peter Hendy, London’s transport commissioner, added: “This is about much more than routes for cyclists. It is about the huge health and economic benefits that cycling can bring.”

There was some restraint at City Hall. Caroline Pidgeon, chair of  London Assembly Transport Committee, claimed the money, which is due to come from existing budgets, was “not a significant advancement on current funding levels.”

But the scale of the announcement surprised many campaigners who have criticised the progress of a mayor known for his fondness of cycling.

Johnson was jeered at a hustings last April after suggesting riders were typically dreadlocked, Lycra-clad racers who believed themselves to be “morally superior”. 

The backlash was fiercer still after his re-election in May when he implied the majority of cyclists killed in accidents were to blame for their deaths, citing statistics he later admitted were false.

“I can only assume it stung him into action,” said Carlton Reid, a cycling historian and editor of the Bike Biz website. “This plan is a shopping list of all the things people like me have been calling for for years.

“The beautiful thing about it is that it’s not for cyclists, but for all people. Campaigning for cyclists is a hard sell when they remain a minority. But as soon as you start saying to motorists there’ll be less traffic and to pedestrians that there won’t be cyclists on the pavements, it gets easier.”

Reid said the vision was greater than plans drawn up in the late 1930s that would have steered Britain along the path taken by cycle-friendly cities such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen. The Second World War dashed those plans and Britain later hitched its transport policy firmly to the car.

The new plans were a potential national “tipping point,“ Reid said. “The obvious worry is that they will be put into action but the fact Johnson is putting up this money and talking about taking space away from cars is ground-breaking.

“With a billion pounds you could build 33 miles of motorway, or you could turn London into a world-class beacon cycling city for transport and public health. Which is better?”

The plans will include:

* 15-mile continuous 'Crossrail for bikes' spanning London with considerable segregation using Westway and Embankment.

* More Dutch-style fully-segregated lanes

* Greater “semi-segregation” on other streets

* A new network of “Quietways” – direct, continuous, fully-signposted routes on peaceful side streets.

* Big improvements to both existing and proposed Superhighways.

* A new “Central London Grid” of bike routes in the City and West End.

* Substantial improvements to the worst junctions, with measures such as segregation and cycle-only paths or phases.

* Trials of “Dutch-style” roundabouts and eye-level traffic lights for cyclists.

* “Mini-Hollands” in the suburbs, with between one and three outer boroughs chosen for very high spending concentrated in those relatively small areas for the greatest possible impact.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Technician - 1st Line

£19000 - £21000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPOR...

Year 3 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 TeacherWould you like ...

Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to have a b...

KS2 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Ofsted said "A good larger...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London