#96. MAKING LONG, STRAIGHT CYCLE ROUTES OUT OF BACKSTREETS. When it comes to continuous, direct cycle routes, the authorities and major cycle advocacy groups have had an imagination failure. London’s major roads provide continuous, direct routes, so let’s put more cycle lanes there, right?
Not necessarily. When segregated cycle lanes can be slotted into major roads and junctions, there’s no harm in doing so. But this policy will realistically never provide a set of continuous, direct and safe cycle routes unifying all areas of the capital. Too much infrastructure change would be required.
But there is another way to create a set of continuous, direct and safe cycle routes unifying all areas of the capital: identify long, straight routes in the existing London Cycle Network – which is composed mostly of smaller, quieter streets – and then sign these routes properly.
Parker’s London Cycle Map has provided the template for such a plan. Properly implemented, his map would be equivalent to making cycling motorways out of backstreets. Instead of remembering hundreds of street names to pursue a straight trajectory on the London Cycle Network, you’d just need to follow the signs for a particular route code.
In signing the London Cycle Network in this way, all areas of London would instantly be connected by long, straight cycle routes on safer streets. Given that cyclists are currently dying, month on month, on major roads, simply trying to get from A to B as directly as possible, the authorities and cycle advocacy groups are showing great hypocrisy in overlooking the London Cycle Map.
The imagination failure which is afflicting cycling development in the capital is, in effect, ushering people into harm’s way.