Eyes on the Street: London “Cycle Superhighway” Teems With Bike Traffic

In case you’re looking for a good visual to show how bike lanes can be extremely efficient transportation infrastructure, check out this short video from the UK-based advocacy group Sustrans. It shows rush hour on the Blackfriars Bridge “cycle superhighway” in London on a Tuesday morning.

London has been building out a network of “cycle superhighways” since 2008, but only in the last couple of years has the city started to emphasize physical protection from motor vehicle traffic in its bikeway designs. Here’s a look at what the Blackfriars Bridge bike lane looked like before a recent upgrade.

Bicycling in London has risen dramatically in recent years, with bikes now accounting for about a fifth as many trips per day as the Tube, according to Transport for London. In addition to better bikeways, policies like congestion pricing and slow speed zones have made the city’s streets safer and more appealing for people to get around by bike.

Hat tip: NACTO, Jacob Mason

  • Vooch

    LOS ‘C’ or worse, Time to discuss a BILLION pound superhighway Expansion; oops forgot this Is a Cycling Superhighway. Maybe soend 5 Million to double the size

  • Nope. More bikes mean more congestion. Just look at all that stopped motor vehicle traffic!

  • DCUrbanist

    Better yet, count the number of bikes and then cars traveling over the bridge in the same amount of time and ask yourself which part of the bridge is doing a better job of moving people.

  • Vooch
  • I think you 60 bikes is the geometric equivalent of 1 car. That picture puts it closer to 60 bikes being similar to 4 cars, I’d say. But your point stands, it is a geometry problem.

  • Vooch

    whoa so like if we all cycled instead of drove huge SUVs there’d be Like totally no congestion – Awesome dude !

  • SSBK

    “I want to go to there”

  • HamTech87

    “Brenter” instead of Brexit!

  • There are far more bikes passing by in that space than the number of cars that could fit there if it wasn’t a bikeway instead, probably by a factor of 10.

  • keenplanner


  • Mcass777

    Are you all to young to remember the comical stories media relayed abouth the traffic jams in China? .could this happen here?

  • Vooch

    love your sarcasm funny

  • Mcass777

    And so true! Having commuted by bike for 20 years, I have seen the change in bike traffic. I think we have all ridden to a big intersection like Grand/Milwaukee and there are groups of riders waiting at a light. Very exciting but there is the occasional bike weaving into another – it is tight at times!

  • Alicia

    Why do so many of them wear neon? Is that a thing in the UK too?

  • oriordan

    Unfortunately yes… the cycle lanes shown are only on a small percentage of roads so a lot of cyclists are dressed like the guys digging a hole to the right of the picture. Hopefully with an expanded network there will be more people not dressed like a construction worker.

  • BigSofty

    It’s because in the unfortunate event of being run over by a driver who is distracted while posting to Facebook, some shyster lawyer will undoubtedly attempt to blame it on the cyclist for not wearing hi-viz clothing.

  • RichLL

    The reason is more prosaic. London is much further north – almost as far north as Edmonton, Canada. It is often raining, cloudy or foggy, and with much less sun that is typical in the US. In winter it can be dark for up to 18 hours a day.

    So all manner of people in the UK wear high-vis outer-wear, such as cops, road workers and anyone else whose safety depends on being easily and clearly seen.

    Why wouldn’t you want to be seen?

  • BigSofty

    I’m a Londoner born and bred mate, and a cyclist for over 50 years. Our weather’s not that bad, and I haven’t seen fog here for a couple of years,
    There’s a culture of victim blaming when cyclists are involved in accidents, and 2 questions always come up: “Was he wearing a helmet?” and, “Was he wearing hi-viz?”
    Which is exactly why we wear bright colours, so we can be seen,


Cycling Booms in London, and the City’s Not Looking Back

Boris Johnson says that one of his goals as mayor of London was to make cycling “more popular and more normal.” As Johnson’s eight-year tenure winds down, it looks like the progress he made in his second term has accomplished that mission. If current trends continue, bike commuters will outnumber car commuters in central London by 2018, according to a […]

Londoners Take to the Streets — on Cycles

Via the blog of Stuart Hughes, a BBC journalist who lost part of his leg in Iraq while on assignment in 2003 and who is an avid cyclist, come a few interesting links regarding cycling in London. First, a BBC story on the skyrocketing popularity of biking both for recreation and commuting in London, a […]

London’s New Mayor, Sadiq Khan, Pledges to “Accelerate” Cycling Progress

London bike advocates proved they were a political force to be reckoned under Mayor Boris Johnson. After cyclists demonstrated that they would not be satisfied with half-measures, Johnson started to make serious headway on safe bike infrastructure in his second term. It looks like that progress will continue even with a new mayor from a different party. Last week, Londoners chose Sadiq Khan of […]

Could DC Add Bike Lanes to Its Traffic Circles?

Roundabouts can have big safety and environmental benefits, but can they be adapted to be great places for bicycling as well? “DC’s big traffic circles are notoriously difficult places to bike,” writes Dan Malouff at BeyondDC. “They have multiple lanes of intimidating and zig-zagging car traffic, and sidewalks too packed with pedestrians to be good […]