Monday, 6 December 2010

Berlin vs London - doubling of segregated bike lanes in three years

Many thanks to German blog http://www.rad-spannerei.de/blog/ for this.

A Green Party member in Berlin asked some questions to the senate about cycling recently. Claudia Hämmerling wanted to know more about Berlin's bicycle infrastructure. The source document is here.

What the answers reveal is that Berlin has more than doubled the amount of segregated bicycle lanes in the City in the last three years to 400km of segregated paths by the end of 2009. It has over 250km of contraflow streets (one-way streets where cycles are allowed in two directions). And note that there hasn't been any increase at all in that classic London piece of cycling kit, the shared space bike lane on the pavement, something much loved by London boroughs as it means they don't need to remove space from 'the motorist'.

Here are the stats

Comparison of bicycle routes in kilometres from 2006 to 2009


Bike lanes that are part of the bus lane: 70km to 80km
Bike lanes that are part of the main carriageway, separated by a white line: 80 tyo 125km
Bike lanes on pavements: 50 to 50km
Bike lanes segregated from streets: 190 to 400km
Contraflow bike lanes (one-way streets that are two-way for cycles): 200 to 250km
Contrast with London where the money is piling into Cycle Superhighways which are, for the most part, not even vaguely segregated.

And yet, if you look at Waronthemotorist's excellent summary here, the one thing that cyclists who use the superhighways want is, well, more segregation from motor traffic.

Our poll of people who cycle in the City here says exactly the same thing.

And here's a post from someone new to London and seemingly new to cycling.

You see, a lot of people who cycle regularly would rate this facility as pretty much useless. But what they keep forgetting is that those of us who cycle regularly make up a tiny percentage of people as witnessed by the TfL monitor of cycling trips here. And it's the vast and largely untapped pool of people who would like to cycle but don't because they're scared of London traffic that are going to create the real 'cycling revolution', rather than those of us who already pedal London's streets. A lot of people want more of these facilities.

Berlin seems to understand segregation is the way forwards. And it's putting that theory into deliverables on the ground. Londoners seem to be asking for the same thing (a view not shared by our cycling campaign groups the CTC or LCC, if you read here, mind you).

It's not all that long ago that there weren't any pavements, except for on a few very upmarket streets. And then came segregation of the pedestrian and the horse-drawn. Time for the next phase of segregation perhaps?