Boris wants bikes off the road, TfL says “Not yet”

For those people who ride bikes, London Mayor Boris Johnson reportedly wants to make some bicycle facility use mandatory where available, according to ITV news. Transport for London (TfL) responded to multiple media requests for comment, saying they have no plans to mandate cyclist use of London’s bicycle superhighways.

“Cyclists would be absolutely crazy not to use safe cycle superhighways,” says Johnson of the distinctive blue cycletracks. Johnson asked TfL to mandate the use of these facilities by cyclists where the cycletrack is fully segregated from adjacent motor traffic with physical barriers.

TfL says they have received similar request from the Mayor’s office in the past, and they have no plans to mandate the use of these cycletracks. Under UK law, people have the right to access any public road with their bikes except controlled access highways (or motorways in British parlance).

Among London cyclists, the general contention seems to be that if the bike facility is worth using, mandatory use laws are unnecessary.

Meanwhile, in Elsewhere…

  • The Netherlands, which famously prohibits people from biking on the road where bicycle facilities are adjacent, began allowing faster cyclists to use the road in a pilot program last year.
  • California recently approved the designation of cycletracks as Class IV bikeways. These are bikeways immediately adjacent to the road, but separated from other traffic with devices such as grade separation, flexible posts, hard barriers, or on-street parking. A big part of the discussion at the recent Class IV Bikeway Summit at Caltrans HQ last month focused on maintaining cyclists right to continue using the road. Current law says cyclists traveling slower than the speed of traffic must use a bike lane where available (subject to various exceptions). There’s a fear that law enforcement in some California jurisdictions may interpret CVC 21208 so that it applies to these new cycletracks.

One Comment

  1. The consensus of London cyclists is correct – if facilities are well designed and well built, they will be used; if they are not they will not, regardless of regulation. Perhaps the “speed of traffic” should be the issue which needs to be addressed.

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