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19 July 2011 | News | By: Dean Nicholas

Two New Cycle Superhighways Open

Two New Cycle Superhighways Open

A year to the day that the first two opened, London's pedal-pushers can officially ride on a pair of new cycle superhighways from today.

CS2 runs from Bow to Aldgate along Whitechapel Road (a truncated version of the original route, which was banned from Newham thanks to the interference of mayor Robin Wale), and CS8 wends from Wandsworth to Westminster. Maps for both can be found on the Transport for London website. The BBC's Tom Edwards has been out in east London following the route of CS2, where he's already found one truck driver who isn't playing by the rules.

According to TfL, the superhighways become "fully operational" today, although anybody passing near the routes will have seen scraps of the bright blue lanes emerge over the past eight months or so. As they're little more than demarcated sections of existing road, there's been nothing to stop cyclists using them before; presumably they've been given an official opening date so that TfL can start the meter rolling for usage statistics.

Speaking of which: new figures from TfL suggest that the existing superhighways have proved a hit, with an 86% increase in cyclists for the Barking - Tower Gateway route, and a 46% increase on the Merton - City route. They may be little more than double-width cycle lanes that, according to critics, are inconsistent and offer a potentially dangerous illusion of safety on the road, but they seem to be popular.

After a fallow 2012, the rest of the planned 12 superhighways will open in 2013 and 2015.

Photo / ponyintheair

Dean Nicholas

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They are, sadly, rarely 'double-width cycle lanes' let alone little more than that. In the absence of a solid white line (which is the case for most of the CS7 route, which I use) they are just blue paint on the road. 

There have been some sections of real improvement, but the refusal to reallocate road space hampers their concept. The areas best improved are where crosshatching has been removed or overly wide single lane roads have been narrowed.

What (I think) they show is that good way-finding assistance can make a big difference to peoples routes (on CS3, for example, good sections of segregated route were linked together to make a more useful corridor), and the safety in numbers of being busy with other cyclists makes using these busy roads far more pleasant. 

Dean Nicholas

Agreed that CS3, which is the only one I've regularly used, is a useful run-through. I've heard anecdotally that the cross-river sections (I think only Southwark Bridge at this point) are helpful.


It is great to see a large increase in people using pedal power to commute although most of them have been forced to due to financial pressure rather than keep fit aspects. However, if they wish to use the roads and have cycle super highways then they do need to contribute their fair share of road tax and cycle insurance should be compulsory as for motor cycle riders car/vehicle drivers.