Cycling in London has enjoyed a renaissance since the millennium. Cyclists enjoy a cheaper and often quicker way around town than those by public transport or car.

Over one million Londoners own bicycles but as of 2008 around 2 per cent of all journeys in London are by bike: this compares to Cardiff (4.3 per cent), Berlin (5 per cent), Munich (12 per cent), Copenhagen (20 per cent) and Amsterdam (28 per cent).[1]. Estimates indicate there are more than 500,000 cycle journeys each day in the capital - a 91 per cent increase compared to 2000 - even though 2007 was England's wettest summer since 1912.[2]

Getting around by bike Edit

Cycleways in London W

On-road cycle lanes vary. The best are defined areas where concrete bollards protect the cyclist from the traffic, while the worst are no a couple of feet wide, leaving no escape in emergency. Some roads have no cycle lanes at all.

Cycle paths are for scenic trips through the royal parks (St James, Hyde Park, Regents Park and Green Park), along the Thames Path and London's canals and waterways, and in other parks and quiet areas.

Bus lanes are legal for cyclists.

Advantages and Disadvantages of cycling in London Edit

Advantages Edit

London's public transport is over-stretched at peak times making cycling cheaper, quicker and more pleasant. Many trips can easily be done by bike. It rains less in London than in Amsterdam, where 28 per cent of trips are by bike. Though a quality bike and associated gear can be expensive, compared to public transport over a year it is cheaper and a bike lasts many years Good secondhand bikes can be found cheap.

Disadvantages Edit

Cycling in heavy or quick-moving traffic can be challenging and needs experience and skill. 15,000 bikes are reported stolen each year in London - the Metropolitan police believes the actual number closer to 60,000. The need to lug a pack or bag to hold locks and other gear can be tiresome and a change into, and out of, cycle clothing may be necessary.

Recent growth in cycling in London Edit

The number cycling in the city of London has grown in recent years. This is assisted by governmental encouragement of cycling and the construction of improvements to enable safe and efficient cycling.[3] Other conditions are:

  • Bicycle advocacy
  • cost of public transport and running private cars, including the London congestion charge and petrol price increases.
  • safer roads for cyclists, this includes allowing cycling in bus lanes, 20mph default limits, and redesign of roads to make cycling safer.
  • better support facilities, including parking spaces
  • better bicycles and gear, including waterproof bags and panniers, better lighting
  • concern over terrorism on public transport networks since the 2005 bombings
London Cyclist Blog
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Source: London Cyclist Blog

Future plans to encourage cycling Edit

Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone set a target of a 200% increase in cycling between 2008Script error and 2020. On 11 February 2008 Livingstone announced an estimated £500 million of initiatives to improve and increase cycling and walking. To be co-ordinated by the TfL and London boroughs the aims include having 1 in 10 Londoners making a round trip by bike each day and five per cent of all daily trips by bike by 2025.

These initiatives include:

  • Central London bike hire scheme: From summer 2010 6000 bicycles will be available around the city. The docking stations will be at every 300m and mainly at attractions and train and tube stations. There will be a charge for hire but there will be free use to encourage the scheme. The scheme is similar to the Vélib' in Paris and other bike hire schemes. / London cycle hire
  • Cycle routes: New cycle routes from inner and outer London and cycle zones around urban centres will be established, the first by 2009. This will include around a dozen radial Cycling Corridors across central London. The TfL will be consult London boroughs and other groups to define the plans.

The new London Cycle Network+ being developed will, by 2010, provide 900km of routes over the whole of London.

  • Bike Zones: Throughout Greater London 15 Bike Zones will be created for shoppers and children going to school around "urban town centres"[1]. These areas will have cycle priority streets, 20mph limits and "quick, clear and simple" routes along roads, through parks and alongside waterways. This will complement the TfL's school cycle parking programme which was to add 5,000 cycle parking spaces in schools by 2005.

London Mayor Boris Johnson is considering schemes to allow cyclists to turn left at red traffic lights.

Apps4s2 Apps for sustainability Edit

Tip: click on the category links to find more examples throughout this wiki: UK, global / Guidelines for listings

Random facts Edit

  • Cycle journeys on London’s roads are now up by 107 per cent since Transport for London (TfL) was created in 2000, with an estimated 545,000 daily cycle journeys made in the capital. Source: Greater London Authority, May 26, 2009

News London Edit

July 2010

  • Mayor launches London's first two cycle superhighway routes, 19 JULY [2] The two pilot cycle superhighway routes are from Merton to the City (CS7) and Barking to Tower Gateway (CS3). Both routes are around 12.5km in length. maps via

Diary London September 2009 Edit

Regular events Edit

  • London Freewheel, annual event in September since 2007, when certain roads in central London are closed to motor vehicles for the middle of a Sunday
  • Critical Mass, which leaves the National Film Theatre on the South Bank around 6.30 on the last Friday of each month
  • Bike Week, annual UK celebration of cycling with many local events in June[3]
  • London to Brighton ride for charity each summer; about 30,000 cyclists take part
  • London to Paris rides for various charities[4]
  • Dunwich Dynamo, annual midsummer overnight ride to Suffolk since 1993

Related Wikipedia content Edit

  • Cycleways in London W
  • London Cycling Campaign W
  • Transport in London W
  • Cyclists' Touring Club W
  • Transport for London W
  • Bicycle transportation engineering W

Wanted pages and external links

Cycling Img13714 Portal - Why cycling matters - news - cities - A-Z - Images

UK portal - news / London

London portal - cycle hire - Croydon - Sutton - Wandsworth


  1. Press Release: Mayor unveils programme to transform cycling and walking in London, 11-2-2008
  2., 19 JULY 2010
  3. Bike Week 2009 on LCC website
  4. Charity rides & events on LCC website

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