Loads of people are using London’s new cycle lanes and the black cab industry is in denial

By Jonn Elledge

So yesterday, down in Tooting, this happened:

It’s not exactly clear what’s going on there. It looks like an old timey omnibus of some kind got into something of a commotion.

Anyway, the reason we mention it is because of where it happened. The blue strip on the bottom left of the image reflects the fact it’s one of the first generations of London’s cycling superhighways. That’s meant to be a major cycling artery – a slab of a major road, no separation from the traffic to its right, the only protection offered to cyclists being some blue paint.

This is obviously tremendous if you’re a blue paint manufacturer, but not ideal if you’re a cyclist. So the more recent superhighways have tended to experiment with radical concepts like “making it harder for cars to veer into them”, and over the last few weeks, two major routes have opened in central London. One was the middle bit of the east-cross route, which currently links Westminster to Blackfriars; the other, the first stage of the north-south one, which currently links Blackfriars to Elephant and Castle. (Both will be extended soon enough.)

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Not everyone is happy about this though. On Sunday, The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association – the black cabbies’ trade body – tweeted this:


The result was a flurry of responses that basically conceded that the LTDA was making a fair and reasonable point.


Look closely, and you’ll find that there’s not really anybody there at all.


The place is almost deserted.


You can always trust the LTDA – that’s the lesson here.


The discovery that cyclists are invisible to black cab drivers is not entirely surprising, but remains a worry nonetheless.

Anyway. It’s been raining pretty hard for the first half of this week, and:


Still. Nothing’s perfect, eh?

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @jonnelledge.

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