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Battle over what role bike lanes play in congestion rages in the newspapers

Lee Baker
11 October 2016
The Daily Mail made the claims that triggered the debate - and nearly 2,000 article shares
The Daily Mail made the claims that triggered the debate - and nearly 2,000 article shares


A debate is raging in the media over the impact of segregated cycleways on traffic after The Daily Mail ran a widely-shared article asserting that they are causing "gridlock".

The Daily Mail article quotes business group London First saying that the reduction in roadspace for motorised traffic caused by the cycling superhighways is increasing journey times and the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association that "when you take away something like 25 per cent of the capacity, as they have in some places, nothing moves". The article points to other factors behind rising congestion, including an increase in private hire vehicles, and in the number of vans. But it concludes: "Motorists are struggling to understand how spending money to further reduce the capacity of the roads can possibly be the way to solve [the] immediate problem [of congestion]."

But The Guardian's on-line cycling blog hits back at what it sees as the "laughable claim" given the segregated cycleways take up "a small proportion of the lane space of about 3% of the roads in the centre of London". The author says that "for such a tiny re-allocation to bring traffic to a standstill there would have to be something very odd going on". He says that the routes have seen up to a 60% increase in cyclists and quotes Cycling UK as saying that one lane of a road can carry only 2,000 cars an hour but 14,000 bikes.

However, The Guardian agrees with The Daily Mail over the problems of an increase in private cabs and fleets of vans delivering internet purchases and urges action on this, not "a niche group".

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