London Opens Bike "Superhighways"

For all its merits, London isn't one of United Kingdom's best cities for cycling. A recent poll ranked it 17th. But Mayor Boris Johnson is trying to change that. This morning he announced the opening of two new "cycle superhighways" in the city. Each is five feet wide, has two lanes so as to accommodate traffic in both directions, and is painted bright blue to "represent freedom." One stretches 8.5 miles from the southern suburb of Merton to the city center. The other runs into town from Barking, in eastern London. Eventually, 12 of these commuter routes will radiate out from the center of London like spokes.

London's cyclists are mostly happy with the new routes, though there are already reports that cars and trucks are encroaching on them, or simply driving in them. But Johnson hopes that his comprehensive plan to support cycling which, along with the superhighways, includes a hew bike-sharing program and a new bike police unit, will spur a city-wide "cycling revolution."

See a full-size map of London's "cycling superhighways"

Image: Cable Street cycle superhighway, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from 19871340@N00's photostream