Olympic countdown - Reasons for a London Cycle Map, #39. The LCN has a huge carrying capacity.

#39. THE LCN HAS A HUGE CARRYING CAPACITY. According to my estimates, the roughly 2000 kilometre-long London Cycle Network (LCN) could carry about 800,000 cyclists at any one time, based on a very comfortable one cyclist per 10 metres in each direction.

That means that during each daily peak period (7am - 10pm and 4pm - 7pm), if every cyclist on the LCN was travelling a distance of 12 kilometres (the average commuting distance in London) at a fairly leisurely pace of 12 kilometres an hour, the number of cyclists who could be accommodated very comfortably on the LCN would be 2.4 million.

If you allow for a cyclist every 5 metres (or for cyclists to travel two abreast, or to continuously overtake each other), then the carrying capacity of the LCN during each peak period would double to 4.8 million.

And if you extrapolate these figures to account for the whole day, then 38.4 million hour-long cycle journeys could be undertaken on the LCN.

To put this in perspective, there are around 24.4 million journeys undertaken in London in total each day. That’s 24.4 million journeys in total including all means of transport – walking, cars, buses, trains, bikes, etc. And that figure is swollen by the inclusion of people coming in and out of London as well.

Encouraging even a quarter of all these journey-makers to use the LCN would utterly change the face of London, making it a greener, healthier and happier place. That’s why Simon Parker’s London Cycle Map is such an important proposal. By signing and marking the streets of the LCN with the routes depicted on Parker’s map, we could make navigating by bike as easy as catching the Tube - just following a few coloured routes - and encourage millions more people to give cycling a go.

And why not? There’s plenty of room on the LCN (apart from the odd silly sign, anyway...)


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