The Impact of on and Off-carriageway Cycling Infrastructure on the Safety and Amenity of Cyclists and Pedestrians: a London Example

The Impact of on and Off-carriageway Cycling Infrastructure on the Safety and Amenity of Cyclists and Pedestrians: a London Example


Neil Guthrie, Samuel Fradd, Atkins, UK


Innovative pilot study into new cycle scheme in London including accident analysis, interview surveys and conflict studies.


Levels of cycling are increasing in London faster than in any other city in Western Europe. The target to increase cycling by 80% by 2010 was actually reached in 2005 (by which point the number of cyclists in Central London had doubled since 2000). There is a number of reasons for this increase. The congestion charge had a large and almost immediate impact and the publication and distribution of over a million cycle maps was an extremely effective measure. New cycle infrastructure has also played a key part as the level of service for cycling continues to improve on many routes around the capital.

But there is considerable debate about dedicated cycle infrastructure. Should it be on or off road? Does it actually get used by cyclists? Does it actually improve cyclist safety? What impact does off-carriageway cycling have on other road users e.g. pedestrians or motor vehicles on side-road crossings?

TfL commissioned Atkins to study a new cycle route on the A3, the main radial route from the south west into Central London. In keeping with the London Cycle Network Plus (LCN+) philosophy, this is a direct route which follows the main road. It incorporates both on and off-carriageway provision.

Atkins carried out a detailed and innovative monitoring study of this new facility which included: cycle and pedestrian counts, a conflict study of cyclists and pedestrians at the side-road junctions (using video cameras), a questionnaire survey of cyclists and pedestrians using the facility, and an analysis of accidents which had taken place before and after the scheme was implemented.

This multi-faceted study provides an in-depth insight into what happens when cyclists are encouraged to share space with motorised traffic on busy roads and when space is taken away from pedestrians to accommodate off-carriageway cycling. It also sheds light on the extent to which cyclist collisions are under-reported and how this issue can be overcome.

The main aim of new cycle facilities in London is that they should make cycling fast, safe and comfortable. This monitoring study, the first of its kind to be commissioned by TfL, demonstrates the extent to which these objectives have been achieved, and should be of particular interest to safety specialists, designers, cycle planners and policy makers.


Association for European Transport