The Mayor of London, Barclays and Transport for London (TfL) launched the first two Barclays Cycle Superhighways, which aim to help significantly increase the number of Londoners choosing pedal power for their daily commute.

Section of a Cycle Superhighway. Click to enlarge.

A key part of the Mayor’s commitment to stimulate a cycling revolution in the Capital, the two pilot routes run from Merton to the City via the A24 and A3, and Barking to Tower Gateway via the A13 and Cable Street.

Around 5,000 cycle journeys are currently made every day on both pilot routes, with TfL aiming to increase this to 27,000 cycle trips a day by 2013.

As well as installing distinctive and highly-visible blue cycle lanes along both pilot routes, at a minimum of 1.5m wide, works completed to make it safer and easier to commute by bike along these routes include:

  • Trialing 37 cycle safety (Trixi) mirrors at junctions along both pilot routes. These mirrors give drivers of large vehicles better visibility of cyclists when preparing to turn left.

  • Introducing 84 new Advanced Stop Lines at least 5m deep at junctions along both routes, providing a space for cyclists to wait at lights ahead of the queue of traffic.

  • Installing new segregated cycle lanes at the Stockwell Gyratory on the Merton to the City route, and upgrading existing segregated lanes at the Elephant and Castle bypass and on Southwark Bridge, Cable Street and the A13.

  • Re-aligning traffic and bus lanes to create more space for cyclists on busy stretches of the superhighways, for example on the southbound section of the A24 at the junction of Kennington Road and Brixton Road.

As part of Barclays Cycle Superhighways, TfL is also providing funding for the eight London boroughs and local businesses along the pilot routes. The money will be used to fund around 5,000 cycle parking spaces, over 17,000 hours of cycle training and more than 3,000 hours of cycle maintenance sessions.

TfL has already installed 300 new cycle parking spaces along both pilot routes to cater for the anticipated increased demand from cyclists using Barclays Cycle Superhighways.

The Mayor and TfL are investing a record £116 million (US$177 million) in cycling in 2010/11 with the money spent on Barclays Cycle Superhighways, Barclays Cycle Hire, infrastructure, training, promotion and education.

You have got to have a powerful and visible statement on the roads that asserts to every Londoner, whether on two wheels or four, that the Capital is a cycling city. The road space is there for everyone and I am confident that our superhighways will help switch legions of Londoners on to the pleasures of a pedal-powered commute.

—The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson

The two pilot routes will allow TfL to test all of the measures for their effectiveness, helping to determine the scope and detailed design of the remaining 10 routes, which will be up and running by the end of 2015.

Work is underway on the design of the next two routes, which will launch in summer 2011 and run from Bow to Aldgate, and Wandsworth to Westminster.