Vauxhall Bridge Cycle Lanes

View along Vauxhall bridge, London. Taken from...
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A while ago I posted a video that showed just how dangerous the cycle lane on the southbound side of the bridge is. It’s very narrow and even the average sized car will pass you far too close, just imagine if a coach or bus passes you.

I use Vauxhall Bridge daily to get to and from work. Traveling on it north bound is perfectly fine. There is a lovely bus lane on the left hand side, you will only encounter a bus if you use the cycling short cut through the gyratory.

Taking the Bridge south bound on the other hand is a totally different story. The cycle lane runs the full length of the bridge and is very narrow for the full duration.  There is a bus lane that runs the full length of the bridge but due to the busses needing to enter the bus station inside the gyratory, its position is on the right hand side. I’ve used it a few times, but due to its position and the lack of cleaning, it’s full of stones and pot holes.
This means that to travel across the bridge in safety, you must take control of the left lane and keep up a good speed, the traffic behind you will try to reach/break 30mph. So it’s important that you get up to speed and control it. I’ve had a few close calls doing this but most of the time it’s not an issue and is much safer than taking to the cycle lane.

It’s not just this cycle lane that is a problem, many of the cycle lanes in Pimlico are of poor quality, and on the 22nd of may 2010, a cyclist was killed by a HGV whilst cycling in near one of these cycle lanes just north of vauxhall bridge.
The LCC reported on the issue of the cycle lanes in the area  and their communications officer, Mike Cavenett, has said

This cycle lane is so narrow it was almost not possible to put a bicycle logo on it.

It’s a facility that says to drivers that bikes should be in the gutter, and encourages cyclists to ride in a position that National Standards Training says is unsafe.

It’s not known whether this lane contributed to Mr Smith’s death, but something clearly needs to be done about these potentially lethal facilities.

Many cycle lanes across the UK are of poor quality and they put the people who use them at risk daily. Motorists fail to understand the needs of cyclists and we are often put in danger because they wish to get slightly further up the road.
Without knowledge, cyclists do not know what cycle lane is good and which is bad, Until we remove the cycle lanes or better educate the cyclists, we will continue to see close calls and read about deaths due to the poor infrastructure that is provided for us at the side of the road.

4 thoughts on “Vauxhall Bridge Cycle Lanes

  1. Heading S/B can be a bit of a PITA, as you say the cycle lane is just your “basic” one that really does bugger all. Like you I also peel off towards South Lambeth Road so need the 3rd/middle lane at the opposite end. I normally end up with the unfortunate timing as I head N/B whereby it I want to head straight up VB road the lights are red so I can sit in the ASL but if I want to head along Millbank the lights will be green so I have to filter across 2 lanes! Shoulder checks, arm signals and a thumbs up usually see me across fairly quickly though.

    Speed and positioning certainly help but I just love the feeling of nailing it through Vauxhall Cross 😀 Did have a chap on a folder say “It’s the worse bit” as we waited at the lights on the opposite side once. Didn’t quite have the heart to tell him how much I enjoy it 😉

    1. I was on it last night (8th Feb) and, despite all the lights I had, cars still felt the need to try to shave my right leg so I deliberately moved further right and wobbled a bit which appeared to do the trick until I got closer to the lights at the Southern end. On your marks, get set, go! Speed is definitely of the essence there.

      That bike ‘thing’ is useless and positively dangerous. Any new cyclists would probably be better off walking over the bridge. Must remember to avoid VB during the week.

  2. The whole of Vauxhall is an utter disgrace for cyclists. Another serious bike accident this morning – Sep 20 2011. The only way is indeed by speeding and jumping lights – but still then with a maniac you can get shaved.

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