Aerial Boris Bike-abouts for London?

| 7th November 2013
Suspended aerial cycle paths are the way for Boris to extend cycle superhighways over London's busiest and most dangerous roundabouts. The Ecologist understands he is looking at the idea ...
The Boris Bike-abouts would - literally - add a new dimension to Boris's vision of a cycle-friendly London.

London Mayor Boris Johnson will consider introducing aerial cycle paths into London's busiest centres of traffic like Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch and the Old Street roundabout as a way of persuading more bicycles onto London's roads by making roads safer and more pleasant for cyclists.

These elevated bike lanes would enable new cycle superhighways - already being dubbed 'Boris Bike-abouts' - to be built across central London, by allowing cycles to fly over motorised traffic streams along key routes through the city. Ordinary cycle paths would conflict with busy junctions carrying large volumes of traffic seen as essential to London's economy.

The Boris Bike-abouts would - literally - add a new dimension to Boris's vision of a cycle-friendly London and allow cycle superhighways to extend over some of London's most cycle-hostile environments. They would be based on the Hovenring in Holland, a suspended bike path that flies above the A2 highway, one of Holland's busiest roads, and the roundabout at the entrance to Eindhoven and Veldhoven which carries 25,000 vehicles daily. 

Created by Dutch engineering specialists IPV Delft, the Hovenring is a circular path about 70 metres in diameter. The 1,000-tonne deck is suspended from a central pylon by 24 steel cables, and is further reinforced by M-shaped supports. LED lighting is built into the railing. Since it was inaugurated in June 2012 the Hovenring has enabled a huge increase in cycle use with many more parents cycling their children into school.

Today London cyclists got their first completely segregated superhighway, a £4 million, two-mile, bi-directional stretch from Bow to Stratford centre. The route also showcases bus-stop "bypasses" which allow cyclists to pass stationary buses in safety. 

Boris Johnson said: "This superhighway is the first physical fruit of my promise to improve the experience of cycling in London. I am also today announcing that we will build a second substantially-segregated cycle superhighway through the heart of central London - adding a north-south segregated route to our already-announced east-west route.  I share people’s impatience for change. We have taken the time to ensure that it is done properly - but that physical change is now underway."

The new £10m south-north cycle superhighway will run from Elephant & Castle to King’s Cross and create London’s biggest cycle crossroads at Blackfriars Bridge where it intersects with a planned east-west superhighway along the Embankment, which has been dubbed 'Crossrail for bikes'.

Boris's current £35m rollout of new cycle superhighways and improvements to existing cycle routes will leave plenty of change out of his £913 million budget for cycle improvements in London over the coming decade - more than enough to include a few Boris Bike-abouts.

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