Amount of cycle lanes in London has quadrupled since 2016, TfL announces

Top gear: TfL's Cycleway network has quadrupled since 2016 (TfL/Eleanor Bentall)
Top gear: TfL's Cycleway network has quadrupled since 2016 (TfL/Eleanor Bentall)

London’s cycle network has quadrupled in length since Sadiq Khan became mayor, Transport for London announced on Wednesday.

It came as TfL hailed the completion of Cycleway 4, which links Tower Bridge and Greenwich.

According to TfL, the Cycleway network – which includes routes that are mostly but not continuously segregated or protected from vehicles – has grown from 56 miles in 2016 to 223 miles today.

Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner said: “I’m delighted that work on Cycleway 4 is now complete, meaning people cycling can travel more easily and safely from Tower Bridge all the way to Greenwich.

“Its completion also means the mayor, TfL and London boroughs will hit the milestone of quadrupling the size of the strategic cycle network from 90km in 2016 to over 360km by the end of this month.”

However, campaigners say the new section of Cycleway 4, which plugs the gap between Rotherhithe and Surrey Quays in Southwark and Deptford in Lewisham – was initially due to be completed by 2017 under previous Southwark council plans.

They warned the Labour-run borough council had decided to axe £1.8m of spending on “active travel” over the next two years after its finances were left in crisis when a proposed borough-wide controlled parking zone was abandoned.

TfL also confirmed that a £3 “day pass” to hire a manual “Boris bike” had been introduced in a bid to reverse a decline in use of the Santander-sponsored bikes caused by a hike in prices two years ago.

Lime e-bikes now appear to dominate the capital’s hire bike market, though TfL will add 1,400 more e-bikes to its fleet of 600 this summer.

Lower Road: Cycleway 4’s missing link in Southwark is completed (TfL)
Lower Road: Cycleway 4’s missing link in Southwark is completed (TfL)

The latest stage of Cycleway 4, on Lower Road, includes about a mile of protected two-way cycle lane, linking with previously completed sections on Jamaica Road and Evelyn Street.

There are also eight new and 28 upgraded pedestrian crossings along the route, and six “Boris bike” docking stations.

TfL says that almost a quarter of Londoners now live within 400m of a “high quality” cycle route. There were 1.26m daily cycle journeys last year, up 6.3 per cent on the previous year and 20 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

By comparison, there are almost four million Tube journeys on a weekday and more than five million bus journeys.

However the proportion of all trips in the capital made by bike has fallen from 6.1 per cent in 2020 to 4.5 per cent last year as many Londoners return to pre-covid commuting patterns.

TfL said that 20 new Cycleway sections had opened in the last 12 months.

Since 2016, major additions to the Cycleway network include:

* C4 between Tooley Street and Greenwich

* C9 between Hammersmith and Kew Bridge

* C17 along Rosendale Road in Lambeth

* C24 between Tottenham Hale and Walthamstow

* C38 between Angel and Finsbury Park

* C42 between Ilford and Barking Riverside

* Work to complete the ‘missing section’ of C1 between Edmonton and White Hart Lane.

In the coming 2024/25 financial year, £19.5m of additional funding will complete Cycleways between Lea Bridge and Dalston, Deptford and Deptford Creek and Hammersmith and Kensington Olympia.

It will also enable Cycleways planned in Bexley, Harrow, Hounslow, Newham and Redbridge to progress to the next stage.

Helen Cansick, TfL’s head of healthy streets investment, said: “The new section of Cycleway 4 is the final piece of the puzzle connecting London Bridge all the way to Greenwich.

“We'll continue to work closely with boroughs to connect even more of the capital to our high-quality cycle network."

Jakub Mamczak, senior campaigns officer at London Cycling Campaign, said: “London Cycling Campaign has campaigned for Cycleway 4 for decades. We’re so happy to see it finally open.

“Even before the Lower Road gap was closed, you could see thousands of people cycling on it that would never have done so before.

“Already cycle journeys in London match up to a third of all Tube journeys. We’re looking forward to the next routes coming from the Mayor, TfL and all boroughs so London can truly become a cycling city.”