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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower