A new type of road junction designed to make it safer and easier for cyclists to turn left has been officially unveiled on Cycle Superhighway 2 at Whitechapel Road and Cambridge Heath Road.
The original design and layout for CS2, which runs from Aldgate in the City to Stratford in the east of the city, has long been criticised by bike users and safety campaigners.
A number of cyclists died while using the route which failed to segregate bikes from motorised vehicles and required bike users to navigate lanes carrying large numbers of lorries and other heavy vehicles.
The route is now being overhauled to introduce a segregated cycle track, a two stage right turn and the introduction of a phased traffic lights system in which motorised traffic is held back while cyclists turn left and bike users are then held back while other vehicles make their turn.
Transport for London hopes the changes will help “significantly cut” the number of cyclists injured and killed.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “I made a firm commitment that we would upgrade Cycle Superhighway 2 to ensure that cyclists get the time and the space they need to cycle safely. That’s exactly what’s happening here in east London.
“The innovations we’re using at Cambridge Heath are a fantastic taster of the raft of improvements that are coming down the track, ensuring that people can cycle safely and more confidently in our city.”
The improvements to Cycle Superhighway 2 are part of a £1bn programme to make London safer and more attractive for cyclists which also includes new segregated routes across the city and a network of ‘quietways’ which guide bike users away from busy roads into back streets and car free spaces.
Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said the new road layout meant “London is leading the way in bringing safe cycling infrastructure to our streets.”
He added: “This innovative junction, conceived and designed by our in-house team of designers and engineers, is a key part of the Mayor’s wider cycling vision. By improving Cycle Superhighway 2, as well as miles of roads and numerous junctions across the Capital, we can encourage more safe cycling and further bolster London as a truly world class cycling city.”
The new junction design on CS2 has been welcomed by Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the London Assembly who said: “While it is regrettable that serious mistakes were made with the initial Superhighway 2 it is very welcome that such innovate designs and safety measures are now being adopted.”
Ms Pidgeon also repeated calls for the Mayor to take steps to end the repeated underspend of TfL’s cycling budget and ensure the cash was used to deliver improved junctions wherever they’re needed.
Darren Johnson, a Green party AM, said the Mayor was now on course to deliver improvements to just 13 junctions before leaving office next May, down from the 500 initially earmarked for review.
He commented: “Whilst I welcome the safety improvements to a few of the worst central London junctions, the Mayor is failing to deal with what is a pan-London problem. London’s next Mayor must make sorting out the capital’s treacherous junctions a top priority, whether they are in central, inner or outer London.”