An Open Letter to Transport for London

Dear Transport for London,

We were grateful for the opportunity to comment on the Cycle Superhighway 2 extension plans, and are delighted to hear that the scheme will be proceeding with many of the suggested improvements.

 However, we feel that one of the requests made by us, and by others, in response to the consultation has been misunderstood: the request for angled (or low) kerbs, to separate the track from the pavement. You responded
As requested, we will be providing kerbs to create segregated cycle lanes separated from general traffic. We received a number of requests for angled kerbs to reduce risks of punctured tyres. However we feel 2m wide cycle lane should provide sufficient space so cyclists don’t hit the kerb. We will monitor the performance of the kerb once the facility is opened.
High vertical kerbs create a hazard (more of a trip or toppling hazard than a puncture hazard as stated in your reply, but this is not the point). In your reply, you state that the solution to this problem is that users of the cycle tracks will ride some distance from the kerbs, toward the middle of the lane.


But the "solution" that you describe was in fact the scenario that we were describing as the problem. Because users of the new tracks will have to ride some distance from the kerbs, the effective width of the tracks will be significantly decreased; it may become more difficult for users with differing speeds to pass one-another comfortably (especially if the tracks encourage more people to use cargo/family bikes, mobility aid tricycles, and other oversize cycles), thus potentially reducing the capacity and inclusivity (and indeed safety) of the tracks. This problem can already be seen in the congestion that occurs on the London Borough of Camden's cycle tracks in Bloomsbury.

 By contrast, angled or low kerbs (as in the Dutch examples pictured below) allow people to cycle right at the edge of the track, allowing others to pass more easily and safely, and increasing the capacity of the track.


Dutch cycle tracks are built with this kind of kerbing for a good reason; not just to be forgiving, but also to make the maximum effective use of the space available.

We hope that this clarifies our concerns about the design of kerbs, which could have a measurable impact on the success of the scheme, and indeed on other proposed cycle tracks across London, such as the suggested 1.3m wide Superhighway 5 track on Vauxhall Bridge. We urge you to take these concerns into account before it is too late; designing and building appropriate kerbing now will be significantly less expensive than retrofitting it later.