The Mayor of London Boris Johnson today launched a radical £913 million cycling plan to include a “Crossrail for the bike” across London, along with a “tube network for the bike” – linked cycle routes – to get a broader range of people cycling.

The new 15 mile partly segregated route will run from West to East London, via Canary Wharf and the Victoria Embankment, and over the Westway flyover. Johnson said this may be the biggest and most ambitious of its kind in Europe, to be completed by 2015.

In what Johnson called a “profound shift” in his ambitions for the bicycle a London-wide network of segregated and non-segregated routes will also include a central London grid of quiet and segregated routes along with a series of “Little Hollands”, showcase Dutch-style zones in three London Boroughs.

Boris Johnson said this morning: “This is a great day for cycling, a new age of the bike is dawning. We are trying to get people who are apprehensive, people who want to cycle in suits. We want to de-Lycrafy cycling.”

Part of the rationale for the plan is easing congestion on public transport. The Victoria embankment section will have capacity for 1000 cyclists per hour; the equivalent of four tube trains of seated passengers.

With this in mind the so-called bike tube network will run parallel with and be named after existing tube lines and bus routes, such as the “Circle Quietway” and the “Bakerloo Superhighway” to make them easy to use.

Andrew Gilligan, London’s new cycling commissioner, said: “We are going to double cycling in the next ten years, and to do that we need to broaden the demographic. The way we will do that is provide new routes that cyclists and non-cyclists will want to try. We are focussing on hard measures like junctions and routes. It will benefit everyone, even if you have no intention of getting on a bike.”

Gilligan, who in his Telegraph blog once criticised cycle infrastructure in London as “not designed for cyclists”, said the routes will be continuous and “won’t give up at difficult places”. Many of the existing superhighways will also be improved as part of the plan.

He added if 14% of journeys are made by bike harmful particulates in the air would reduce by a quarter, and Nitrous Oxide by 30%. He said: “Air pollution costs two to four thousand lives per year. If we can get more people on bikes that will save literally thousands of lives”.

There will be a new cycle hub in one of the London mainline stations with cycle parking; possibly at Waterloo Station.

Other measures will include tackling some of London’s most dangerous junctions such as Vauxhall Cross and Elephant and Castle, introducing 20 mile an hour speed limits on some Transport for London roads, and introducing greater control over lorries, a disproportionate cause of cyclist casualties.

Chris Boardman (in red jacket) and Boris Johnson meet the press

Chris Boardman and Boris Johnson go for a ride

  • Thomas Mc Elhinney

    when was the last time you read ” Lorry driver killed by a cyclist ”

  • S Foreman

    A proper, real, cycle network is essential. But will this really reduce car journeys – how many cyclists are cycling instead of using buses, tubes or trains? I personally do not cycle in London because the air pollution is so severe that it damages the lungs of anyone who is exercising in it.
    A chickens and eggs problem, I guess. Boris J needs to produce a well-integrated plan that includes other measures for reducing vehicle traffic, and he needs to make it mandatory for buses, taxis and delivery vans to use lpg or electricity. Only then will the air be safe for cyclists, joggers, residents and pedestrians.

  • Captain Kirk

    Now you’re talking, Boris. Taking road space away from cars and giving it to cycles, that’s the way to do it.
    I hope this will encourage other cities to examine their woefully inadequate
    cycling provision.
    To the other comments from people concerned that neither Chris Boardman nor
    Boris Johnson are wearing helmets. They don’t feel the need. If you look closely
    at their bikes, you will see a tiny electromagnetic device on the handlebars.
    This throws out a force field which keeps them upright while at the same
    prevents other vehicles getting too close.
    They were previously only available in distant parts of the galaxy, which explains why so few cyclists out there feel the need to wear a helmet.

  • Tobias

    Why doesn’t Boris wear a helmet? Can he not add that bylaw? My brother and I would both be dead if we hadn’t been wearing helmets when cycling. However, good on him for trying hard with cycling.

  • roginoz

    Surely segregation of bikes from other traffic is good for mums and kids but for fit commuters it reinforces the motorists belief that cyclists should be kept off the roads .perhaps its a matter of survival but Im sure that its still that idea that only poor folk go by bike. Lets hope it works out as well as it sounds and as Mark says ,it will happen in all large towns, not just holy London . The Transport Minister here in Victoria has said on TV that cyclists should learn to share the roads with cars!!!! Oh those inconsiderate cyclists!!!

  • Andy

    On the surface it seems good news, but the majority of these developments once again seem to be in North London. South London once again gets virtually nothing. Be nice if they started south of the river for once

  • Jamie Anderson

    Excelletn to see Boris starting to deliver on all the bike talk.

    However I cant believe that neither Chris B or Boris are wearing helmets!!!! WTF

  • Ken Evans

    £913 MILLION ! It would be an improvement if they even spent £90 M ! Most of the “cycling” provision in London was designed by idiots, that know nothing about riding a bike, and have sh*t for brains. Many other cities around Europe included bikes in their transport networks decades ago. The road shown in these photos can get full of traffic sometimes, reducing the size of the road, with a cycle path, won’t reduce this issue. Illegally parked cars are one of the most serious problems cyclists face in central London, if there was proper enforcement of parking regulations then cycling would be much easier, and traffic would flow much more freely. Similarly cars, vans, buses, and taxis pouring out clouds of black smoke doesn’t help anyone, and should also be cracked down on.

  • peter b. jones

    Good news for London and efforts to get people cycling, but would have liked to see Chris and Boris set example by wearing Helmets. Cycling is great for every body , fast or slow when you hit the pavement you never know the out come of the impact. Don’t take a chance wear a Helmet please, life can be so fragile. Now go and ride and be the best you can be, freedom, what a feeling. When you ride a bike there are many roads to take you home. When you drive a car you take the shortest and quickest route and miss all that is to be seen. What a shame, we are only here once, every thing changes so quickly, you can never go back. Put on your helmet ride your bike, turn perfect circles and change the world as we know it, we have the power, perfect circles !!!!!

  • Mark Jones

    I cycled once in a suit and would not recommend it. That said I had to cycle 15-20 miles in the summer from Kirkby Lonsdale to Lancaster as I’d missed the bus to work.

    Good to see money being invested and hopefully similar investment will occur outside of London.