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John Biggs AM City Hall
The Queenâ€™s Walk
Switchboard: 020 7983 4000
Minicom: 020 7983 4458
Direct telephone: 020 7983 4350/4356 Fax: 020 7983 4418 Email: email@example.com
Dear Mr. Mayor,
I am writing to you regarding the Cycle Superhighway 2 Summit I held at City Hall on Thursday 28
November. This was attended by users of the CS2, London Assembly colleagues Val Shawcross AM,
Caroline Pidgeon AM and Darren Johnson AM as well as Chief Executive of the London Cycling
Campaign Dr Ashok Sinha and your Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan.
There was a lot of discussion about how safe CS2 is for cyclists, specifically the section which runs from
Aldgate Gyratory to Bow roundabout. Members of the audience put forward their concerns about the
route as well as suggestions for improving it, which I have included below.
I understand from the Cycling Commissioner that Transport for London is upgrading this section of the
CS2. In its current state, CS2 is substandard. The western section of the route, eastbound between
Vallance Road and Mile End, is in a bad state of disrepair, with faded surface markings. I would be
grateful if you could take the suggestions I outline below into consideration when making changes to
CS2. The people that attended the meeting last week regularly use the CS2 and want a safe and usable
route for people of all cycling abilities.
Many concerns were voiced about Bow roundabout at the meeting â€“ an issue I have raised with you
many times. The Cycling Commissioner agreed to look at the early start signals for cyclists at the
roundabout as currently, the time allowed for cyclists to move away before vehicles set off behind them
is too short. I understand that the light phasing is different to what was agreed with Transport for
London and vehicles are constantly jumping the lights. This delays cyclists from setting off from their
advanced start position, despite vehicles chasing them from behind as the lights turn green for cyclists
and vehicles at the same time. Furthermore, bus drivers who have contacted me have said that while
the layout is an improvement, the new design at Bow appears unable to cope with large numbers of
cyclists using the roundabout at the same time.
Recent enforcement of drivers at this roundabout has been useful but because this is a recurring
problem, a regular police presence at this roundabout would be very welcome. I would be grateful if you
Mayor of London
Our Ref: JB/2013-050
Date: 11 December 2013
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could provide me with details of when the early start signal for cyclists will be extended and whether a
regular police presence at this roundabout could be put in place.
We also heard from two cycling instructors who teach people how to cycle safely, as well as teach HGV
drivers about how to share the road safely with cyclists. They made the point that the segregation at
Bow roundabout does not follow the safety standards. Cycling awareness courses teach cyclists that to
remain safe it is best to hold their place in the middle of the lane, but the segregation at Bow
roundabout pushes cyclists to the left and therefore into the danger zone.
The Cycling Commissioner set out various options for how Bow roundabout will be remodelled in the
future. An audience member suggested introducing four toucan crossings on Bow Roundabout to make
it fully segregated and allow pedestrian access. There are no facilities for pedestrians to cross from one
side of the Bow Road to the other. The nearest pedestrian signals are just beyond the church, some
300m to the west. I would strongly support improvements to Bow roundabout that includes pedestrian
facilities, particularly because of the development around the roundabout will mean an increase in the
number of the pedestrians crossing at this junction.
There was a consensus that the pace of change for improvements to cycling infrastructure moves
extremely slowly. This is particularly true of the Aldgate Gyratory which I understand from Andrew
Gilligan will be completely remodelled. Participants in the meeting put forward their suggestions that
the redesign of Aldgate should include Bishopsgate as well and extend into the City of London.
Furthermore, in a submission from UNITE who represents bus drivers working along the A11 have said
they feel that this section of the CS2 is particularly confusing and does nothing to aid cycle safety.
As Andrew Gilligan pointed out, 85 per cent of accidents are at junctions and 15 per cent happen on
link roads, between junctions. This is the case on the CS2 where cyclists have died at almost every
junction over the past ten years. It was felt that at busy junctions, cyclists need to be given their own
phase on the signals. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to combine this with a
Most road users, including cyclists, are not sure who has priority at junctions, and this confusion is
exacerbated where there is blue paint on the road. I was told by bus drivers along the route that where
blue CS2 markings share bus lanes there is confusion as to who has right of way.
The meeting welcomed the Cycling Commissionerâ€™s pledge to redesign junctions along the route. It was
felt that junctions should give priority to the most vulnerable users, especially on the A11 which
constantly has large vehicles travelling very fast along the entire route.
Most audience members were positive about the extension of the CS2 from Bow Roundabout to
Stratford. However, there were several suggestions for how to improve this section still further. The
raised dividers between the new cycle lanes and the vehicular lanes are constructed out of granite with
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sharp sections which could cause lacerations to anyone who hits it. It has been suggested that standard
hydraulically pressed concrete battered, half battered, or bullnosed kerb would cause fewer injuries.
It has been reported that this section of the CS2 has flooded since it opened a few months ago and this
is not acceptable as it pushes cyclists into the traffic in an effort to avoid cycling through a large
puddle. Also, at the meeting an audience member raised their concerns about the left hooks along this
section and the lack of cycling infrastructure around the Stratford gyratory. This comes back to the
overarching problem for cyclists who use the CS2. TfL is encouraging cyclists to use the CS2 but are
effectively abandoning them at the beginning and end of the route and failing to provide cycle safe
infrastructure at the most difficult junctions.
The audience were very supportive of a 20mph limit along the CS2. Cyclists who use the CS2 said there
is currently very little enforcement of the speed limit. Londoners who would like to cycle but are often
scared because of the speed with which other vehicles move. This is a policy initiative supported by the
London Cycling Campaign through their Space for Cycling campaign would encourage more people to
cycle and save lives.
The was widespread support at the meeting for a better design of HGVs. The Cycling Commissioner said
that TfL is currently trying to get sign off on lorry cab design from the European Union, which would
allow HGV drivers far greater visibility.
At the meeting we also discussed the possibility of introducing restrictions of HGVS and I understand
that TfL is currently putting together proposals for different options. I would be grateful if you could
send me a copy of this once it is complete as it is a subject that was discussed by a number of
participants at our meeting.
There were a number of points raised about the development around Bow roundabout and the Aldgate
Gyratory suggesting that the Greater London Authority should incorporate land swaps when approving
planning applications in these areas. For instance, I understand that planning approval has been
granted for a large housing development by IKEA on the southeast corner of Bow roundabout. Would
you consider using your ability to call in planning applications to ensure developments on and around
cycling routes incorporate facilities for cyclists, if appropriate?
International Best Practice
Several audience members raised concerns that current cycling infrastructure is not designed to meet
international best practice. The Cycling Commissioner said if everything was designed to international
then it will take longer to get a solution. However, the general feeling was that establishing consistency
for cyclists is incredibly important. An audience member rightly made the point that because of the lack
of consistency for cyclists in London, let alone the rest of the UK, cyclists can often seem
unpredictable. We need national standards on cycling infrastructure as there is for drivers.
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Timed loading bays along the route cause cyclists to swerve into traffic.
Unite London Passenger Section, representing bus workers and taxi drivers is in favour of fully
segregated cycle lanes utilising quiet roads. We also feel more resources should be focused on safe local
routes around local schools, markets and business areas.
Space for Cycling
As mentioned above, the LCCâ€™s Space for Cycling campaign has outlined six policy themes which they
feel will create cycling conditions that would cycling accessible for all ages. They include:
Â· Protected space on main roads
Â· No through-motor-traffic zones
Â· 20mph speed limits
Â· Safer cycle routes to schools
Â· Liveable high streets
Â· More parkland routes
I would be interested in whether TfL will take these themes, where appropriate, into consideration when
setting out the improvements to the CS2.
In conclusion, it is essential that cycling infrastructure is consistent and predictable so that cyclists
know what to expect when approaching junctions and travelling along link roads. Whichever option is
chosen to improve CS2, Transport for London should be mindful that cyclists could benefit from
national standards. The junctions along the entire route have to be redesigned to ensure that
vulnerable road users are protected, including Aldgate gyratory and Bow roundabout. Lastly, I would be
grateful if TfL could implement the measures the LCC has ouotlined in their Space for Cycling
I look forward to your response.
John Biggs AM
Member for City and East London
cc. Andrew Gilligan, Cycling Commissioner
Peter Hendy, Transport for London