The East-West Cycle Superhighway

If there is one poster child for London’s efforts to turn the city into a cycling friendly capital, it is the East-West Cycle Superhighway.

Text: Silje Strømmen
Photos: Mari Oshaug

As Rowan Moore pointed out in The Guardian in August 2016: “Cycling infrastructure, as commonsensical and humdrum as it might seem, is not just about engineering. It is political, cultural and social”. There are few measures more visible than introducing bike lanes and superhighways into the townscape. If there is one poster child for London’s efforts to turn the city into a cycling friendly capital, it is the East-West Cycle Superhighway. 

A superhighway, in theory, is a route that separates cyclists from other road users. Cycle Superhighways are cycle routes running from outer London into and across central London. They give riders a safer, faster and more direct journey into the city. The East-West Cycle Superhighway runs through central London - from Tower Hill to Lancaster Gate. It consists of a two-way cycle track that separates cyclists from motor traffic. Junction innovations including early start, early release and two-stage right turn facilities for cyclists have also been introduced. 

The East-West Cycle Superhighway takes you through some of London’s finest corners, such as Hyde Park, St James Park and along the Embankment. In addition to offering a safe and pleasant way to get around the city, it is also a great way of promoting cycling as a real alternative for getting around the city in a quick and effective way. 

The East-West Cycle Superhighway is just one of the many superhighways that are now contributing to make London a cycle city. When complete, the North-South Cycle Superhighway will allow cyclists to go across central London from Elephant and Castle to King’s Cross. The first section of the route opened in the spring of 2016 and the next part of the route is expected to begin construction in the spring of 2017. Six other superhighways contribute to connecting London for cyclists, making it easy and safe to travel around the city by bike. 

The East-West Cycle Superhighway was completed the summer of 2017.