03 November 2009

Copenhagen vs London 2: Cycle Superhighways

London's forthcoming cycle superhighways are clearly inspired, at least in part, by Copenhagen's splendid cycle lanes. They will incorporate many of their features.

On the right is a short section of blue lane in the Danish capital, just in front of the main square. They use these blue strips to mark out cycling territory at junctions and suchlike. They're wide, straight, and marked with cycle symbols big enough to be seen from Google Earth.

When the first of London's two superhighway routes arrive next year (Wimbledon to Bank, Barking to Tower Hill), we can look forward to this kind of cycle facility, eagerly anticipated by many bloggers.

Not as regards the width, obviously. Or the priority over traffic. Or the straightness and smooth corners.

The cycle symbols will be quite a bit smaller too. And our lanes might disappear a bit here and there where some cars or motorbikes need to be parked, or some rubbish needs to be left.

Indeed, you'll notice that, in the recent YouTube video helpfully posted by TfL about the superhighways, the emphasis is gradually being shifted away from words such as 'wide', 'useful', or 'safe', and more towards concepts like 'clearly signed'. And 'blue'.

So don't worry! We'll beat Copenhagen where it really counts. Our cycle superhighways will be EVEN BLUER than theirs!

Ours will be painted in a special shade of azure, designed in conjunction with leading experts in hue and saturation. They will be cooler and trendier and more ultramarine than anything those socialist old bacon-slicers can come up with!

In fact, London's cycle superhighways will look very much like these three on the right.

Hah! Take that, Aksel! Eat cobalt, Frederik! Stick that indigo in your pecan pastry, Jeppe!*

*Note for the dozier readers of the Guardian blog: this is satire, meant not to incite ridicule against the Danes, but to expose the folly of London's poor cycle facilities. Just in case you were thinking of running a cartoon campaign or something.


  1. It's bad enough that London uses green for cycle lanes and ASLs where the rest of the country uses red, but now we have to contend with blue as well! How is the poor bewildered car driver meant to know what's what?

  2. Cheers for the link to the TfL swooping blue lines video - had not seen this till now. I think anyone that didn't know a bit of background behind how bad the cycle superhighways are likely to be would very impressed by it!

  3. You do know Cycle Superhighways is officially costed at £140m now? Check the TfL project paperwork...

    The first two pilot routes are £23m on their own.

  4. @Tom - wow - didn't know blue paint was so expensive.

  5. Ive cycled in Copenhagen. Its rubbish. Everyone gets off and walks whenever they make a left turn ( our right turn ). Seriously.

  6. Well, so have I, no it isn't, and no they don't. They do a sort of funny wave like they've seen their next-door neighbour, and stop at the head of the queue coming from their right.