Boris Johnson officially opened the new Oval to Pimlico cycle superhighway yesterday, shrugging of an abusive gesture from one commuter in the process.
The Mayor of London was greeted by a raised middle finger from a fellow cyclist as he posed for pictures riding his bike on Vauxhall Bridge.
Cycle Superhighway 5 runs for 1.4 kilometres providing a cycle-friendly route through Vauxhall gyratory, a complex and frightening roundabout for cyclists where a rider died after colliding with a tipper truck in June 2014.
Boris said: “We’ve brought a bit of Amsterdam to the unlikely environs of Vauxhall – opening up access to huge swathes of south London for safer cycling.
“The astounding rise in cycling through Vauxhall should lay gently to rest any doubts about the need for my new superhighways, the pent-up demand in London for cycling, and the part my cycle lanes can play in taking other vehicles off our crowded streets.
“With London’s population growing by 10,000 a month there are only two ways to keep traffic moving: build more roads – which is for the most part physically impossible – or encourage the use of vehicles, such as bikes, which better use the space on the roads we’ve already got.
“I’ve always believed that more Londoners would cycle if they felt safer, and this new route already proves it.”
Tooting MP Sadiq Khan voiced his support for increased cycling safety in the capital at The London Conference 2015.
He called for an increase in protected cycle lanes in London, particular boroughs where cycling is actively encouraged – known as mini Hollands – a ban on heavy goods vehicles during rush hour as well as an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
Cycling Works tweeted: “Interesting @SadiqKhan adamant in supporting more protected cycle lanes, more mini Hollands, HGV ban in rush hr & extending ULEZ
— Businesses in London (@CyclingWorksLDN) November 18, 2015
City Hall figures reveal that more than 750 cyclists are using Cycle Superhighway 5 since it opened three weeks ago, a 29% increase to the total number of riders crossing Vauxhall Bridge, the equivalent of 113 fewer cars per hour. The £18million scheme will see ten superhighways built in the capital, but the construction of the routes has caused an increase in traffic on London roads. The congestion hasn’t been greeted with as much enthusiasm as the mayor with Lord Sugar tweeting his discontent in June, bemoaning the fact he was stuck in traffic thanks to road works on the cycling lanes. He tweeted: “I am stuck again on lower Thames Street with this stupid @MayorofLondon road works cycle lane, traffic at a standstill.”
Another Twitter user was astonished that his journey from Hornchurch to Heathrow took him three hours late at night, a route that could reasonably be expected to take over an hour.
— Sanjay Chadha (@SanjayChadha) November 20, 2015
Others remain cynical about the route claiming it’s ‘nothing special’ and underused. John Bingham-Hall wrote: “Just cycled the entirety of “cycle superhighway 5” from Oval to Pimlico. Took all of abt 5 mins #notverysuper #space4cycling”
— terry the cab (@telthecab) November 20, 2015
Image courtesy of BBC via YouTube, with thanks