People on cycles now have a fully-protected route through one of London’s busiest gyratories and across Vauxhall Bridge after London Mayor Boris Johnson officially opened the new Oval to Pimlico cycle superhighway.
The new continuous two-way and separated cycle lane runs for as mile, providing a free-of-motors route for all ages and abilities through Vauxhall gyratory and across Vauxhall Bridge.
In the busiest peak hour, more than 750 cyclists are already using the new dedicated segregated lane which was opened three weeks ago. This is a 29 per cent increase to the total number crossing the Vauxhall bridge in the same hour before the segregated cycle tracks were installed.
The number of extra cyclists using the segregated route is already the equivalent of taking 113 cars an hour off Vauxhall Bridge.
It links with the existing Cycle Superhighway 8 at Millbank and provides a connection with Cycle Superhighway 7 at Oval, where substantial improvements for cyclists at the junction are now nearing completion. The new route also links into existing cycle routes through Kennington Oval and along Meadow Road by the Kia Oval, as well as the extensive network of back-street “Quietway” routes which are planned for Westminster and Lambeth.
Before the improvements, cyclists accounted for almost a quarter of rush-hour traffic through Vauxhall with around 580 in the busiest peak hour. With the opening of the new route, the proportion of rush-hour cycling traffic has already risen to almost 40 per cent.
Johnson, pictured on Vauxhall bridge earlier today, said: “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.”
A new study suggests that Cambridgeshire’s five-year-old guided busway is encouraging more cycling. The health study by the Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge is published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
The guided busway, commissioned by Cambridgeshire County Council and opened in 2011 after much controversy, is a dedicated track that excludes other motorised vehicles, allowing high-speed buses to keep to their schedules even during rush hours. It runs from St Ives into Cambridge and out to Trumpington via the Biomedical Campus. The busway has a traffic-free cycleway for pedestrians and cyclists running beside it.
Researchers followed 469 commuters over time and assessed changes in their activity patterns before and after the opening of the busway. The latest results show that people living closer to the busway were more likely to increase the time they spent cycling on the commute than those living further away. These results follow others published earlier this year, in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, which showed a reduction in car use on the commute attributable to the busway. Interviews showed how commuters found the guided bus service convenient and accessible and appreciated the new traffic-free path.
It was found that the largest effect on physical activity on the journey to work was seen in those commuters who were least active before the busway opened. This suggests that the busway is shiftin activity patterns in the population at large, rather than just encouraging those who are already active to do a little more. The study found no evidence that people taking up more active commuting compensated by reducing their leisure-time physical activities.
Lead researcher Dr Jenna Panter, of Cambridge University’s Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, said: “These findings provide new evidence to support changes to our transport systems as part of a public health strategy to support a more active way of life. People might naturally think of cycle lanes as part of these changes – but this research suggests that we need to look at the wider infrastructure as well.”
Dr David Ogilvie, the principal investigator who led the overall study, also of the MRC Epidemiology Unit, added: “Although redesigning our towns and cities in this way may seem an obvious thing to do, the health benefits of doing this have rarely been tested in practice. Ours is one of the few studies to have done this, and it shows an effect of the busway even after taking account of a range of other factors that influence how people travel to work.”
The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research and was produced in collaboration with University College London and the University of East Anglia.
National Bike Week will be staged June 11-19th. The theme will be “Cycling to Work”, which will also include trips to school, college, and to stations. The lead organiser of the week is the CTC.
Industry organisation the Bicycle Association will fund national indemnity insurance for all registered cycling events associated with Bike Week, as it has done in previous years.
The “week” will be kicked off at a breakfast reception for members of the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group at the Netherlands Embassy in London.
CTC has partnered with with Allianz UK to launched a competition to help improve cycling safety in the UK. The competition invites people to submit ideas on the topic of “safe cycling and how the challenges faced on modern roads can be overcome using technology.”
From apps to wearable devices, all technology-based ideas will be considered by a panel who will then award the winning idea €5,000 and the chance to turn the idea into reality with development support from the Allianz Digital Accelerator.
David Murray, CTC’s Head of Communications and Campaigns, said: “While cycling is not a risky form of travel, there are still too many near-misses between cyclists and motorists on our roads. By teaming up with a technology hub like the Allianz Digital Accelerator, we hope to encourage budding tech entrepreneurs and the wider cycling public to share their ideas on how we can make cycling even safer.”
Allianz UK CSR Manager Richard Fullerton said: “Allianz is committed to improving road safety and is currently involved in a variety of initiatives across the globe. The idea behind this competition is that we want to hear from the people who experience issues on the road and have thoughts about how they can be tackled through technology.”
The competition closes on Monday 14th December. Entries are submitted online via www.cycleideas.com
An upscale gift-and-grocery shop in the north east of England has unveiled its Christmas window: it features a Dutch-bike decorated with multi-coloured wings. Bodahome of Whitley Bay does not sell bicycles.
The decorated Dutch-bike, piled with Christmas presents, appears to be floating above some brightly-coloured clouds.
Bodahome co-owner Jade Skeels asked her friend Emma Handley to design the window display.
Handley, a freelance window dresser, chose a bicycle because she said it’s a potent symbol of freedom and joy:
“With the end of this year approaching (my 40th, actually), I began the usual process of reflection and mental list-building. Youthful misadventures with bikes kept coming into my head. Though my experience with cycling as an adult is limited I envy people who cycle everywhere.”
She added: “A bike is not a complex machine but it does wonderful things – all you have to do is get on and pedal to be transported, physically, mentally and emotionally to a different place.”
She’s now ready to start riding.
“I intend to integrate the freedom, spontaneity, physicality and joy of bike riding into my life,” promised Handley. “A magical flying bike for the Bodahome Christmas window seemed an inspiring place to start.”
Disclosure: Jade Skeels is the second cousin of BikeHub editor Carlton Reid. “However, it wasn’t this family connection which alerted me to this window display,” said Reid. “I saw a photo of the window in the twitter feed for Karlonsea.”