GLA - Record-breaking growth in London’s cycle network continues

10 March 2021
"I'm absolutely determined to build an even better London after the pandemic - a greener and healthier city in which it's easier and safer to walk and cycle"

This press release, issued by the Mayor of London, was first published on

  • This has contributed to a huge boost in cycling, including a more than 200 per cent increase in cycle flows in the last two weekends of February compared to 2020
  • Construction work starts this month on new or upgraded cycle infrastructure for four new routes which will add a further 8km to the capital's network      
  • More than 100km of new or upgraded cycle routes have been delivered or are under construction since the start of the pandemic, as well as hundreds of kilometres of quieter streets,  extended pavements, new School Streets and many more junctions made safer
  • One in five Londoners now live near the cycle network, a 10% increase on 2019
  • Enabling more people to walk and cycle continues to be at the heart of the Mayor's vision for a healthier and more sustainable city for all Londoners

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Transport for London (TfL) are today announcing that construction work will begin on four major new cycling infrastructure projects across the capital this month. These new safer routes will play a vital role in supporting Londoners to move around our city as restrictions ease and the economy begins to reopen and recover.

Enabling more people to walk and cycle continues to be at the heart of the Mayor's vision to transform London's streets for the better and to create a healthier, cleaner and more sustainable city for everyone. 260km of high-quality cycle routes have been delivered since May 2016 and the need to create space on London's roads for walking and cycling has become even more important since the coronavirus pandemic began, with record numbers of Londoners walking and cycling to make essential journeys.

TfL data has regularly shown significant increases in cycling at weekends, with an increase of 240 per cent over the weekend of 26-28 February 2021 - the most recent weekend for which TfL has data for - compared to the same weekend in 2020. Recent TfL cycle count data shows increased levels of cycling in both inner and outer London last autumn with a seven per cent increase in cycling in inner London and a 22% increase in outer London compared to the previous count in spring 2019. Walking and cycling accounted for nearly half of all journeys during the first lockdown between April and June last year, up from 29 per cent before the pandemic.

Construction work will start this month on four new trial cycle schemes:

  • A protected two-way cycle lane on Mansell Street in Tower Hamlets and the City of London, which will help create a vital new link between two major protected routes in the area, Cycleways 2 and 3
  • A cycle route along Tooley Street, which will extend the existing Cycleway 4 route from Tower Bridge Road to London Bridge, creating a high-quality cycle route between Rotherhithe and London Bridge for the first time
  • Further trial upgrades to the CS7 route between Oval and Elephant & Castle. These will mean that people can cycle between Colliers Wood, Tooting, Balham, Clapham and central London via a largely protected route - or in improved bus lanes - for the first time
  • Work to make cycling safer along the A23 between Streatham and Oval, including by widening bus lanes at stops to make it easier for people cycling to safely pass stationary buses, and creating separate traffic signals for cycling at key junctions.  

These new routes will build on the construction work already underway to make cycling safer and easier including significant upgrades the CS8 route between Wandsworth Town Centre and Chelsea Bridge, which will connect to further improvements to create a safer route between Wandsworth and Lambeth Bridge. Work is also in progress at Old Street, Cycleway 9 at Kew Bridge and Cycleway 4 on Creek Road in Greenwich.

Improvements in walking and cycling has enormous benefits for Londoners and for people visiting the capital.  Continued investment in active travel has been proven time and time again to have a profoundly positive effect on people's physical and mental health*, while helping to tackle toxic air and the global climate emergency**. Research also shows more walking and cycling provides an important boost to high streets and the local economy***. This continued investment is also central to achieving the Mayor's Vision Zero goal of eradicating all deaths and serious injuries from London's roads by 2041. The risk of a damaging car-led recovery from the pandemic have it made it even more important to make it easier to walk and cycle, especially as around 40 per cent of Londoners don't have access to a car, with a high proportion of these from low-income households. The Mayor is determined to ensure that his work with TfL and the boroughs continues to be at the forefront of London's recovery.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

'I'm absolutely determined to build an even better London after the pandemic - a greener and healthier city in which it's easier and safer to walk and cycle. I'm delighted that construction work on four new cycle schemes is set to begin this month, adding to the record expansion in the network of routes across our city since May 2016.

'The huge number of Londoners who have taken up or rediscovered cycling over the past year - myself included - has been one of the few silver linings from the pandemic. By making it safer and more convenient for people to get to where they want to be, we will not only keep up this momentum but also enable a cleaner and greener recovery for our city.'

Alexandra Batey, TfL's Director of Investment Delivery Planning, said:

'Reducing car dependence and enabling more people to walk, cycle and use public transport is absolutely vital to improving road safety and our physical and mental health, as well as the health of our economy and the environment.    

'That's why we've worked closely with boroughs across London to deliver record growth in the capital's cycling network over the past five years, including the vital work done to support Londoners since last March. Walking and cycling will be a vital part of both London's immediate recovery and future prosperity and we'll continue to engage closely with people across the capital as we deliver further schemes to reflect the changing situation.'     

Since the start of his term in May 2016, the Mayor and TfL have worked closely with boroughs across the capital to make improvements to London's streets including:     

  • Nearly 260km of safer, high-quality cycle routes delivered by TfL and the boroughs, including more than 100km of cycle routes delivered since the start of the coronavirus pandemic as part of the Mayor and TfL's emergency response. This total includes a major extension to Cycleway 6 through the heart of London, southeast London's first major protected route, Cycleway 4, as well as a huge expansion in protected routes across outer London including in Waltham Forest, Enfield, Richmond and Hounslow. Significant upgrades to CS7 have created a protected route from Colliers Wood to central London for the first time, a major new protected route is now in place between Greenwich and Charlton and upgrades between Chelsea Bridge and Lambeth Bridge have created a much safer, segregated CS8 route 
  • In 2019, 12% of Londoners lived within 400 metres of the London-wide cycle network, a 30.6 per cent increase on 2018. By October 2020, 362km out of the planned 1,400km cycle network had been built. This means 18% of Londoners now live within 400 metres of the cycle network
  • Introduced the most ambitious plans to tackle toxic air pollution anywhere in the world including introducing the T-Charge - which paved the way for the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London in 2019 - and cleaning up the bus and taxi fleet. The ULEZ has already made a significant difference - reducing the levels of some harmful pollutants in the zone by almost a half
  • There has a been a 94 per cent reduction in the number of people living in areas with illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide since 2016 and the number of schools in such areas has fallen by 97pc
  • London now has the biggest zero-emission bus fleet in Western Europe with over 400 zero-emission buses in service. All buses in TfL's 9,000-strong core fleet meet or exceed stringent Euro VI emissions standards and this has been achieved in less than four years
  • Twelve Low Emission Bus Zones were delivered between 2017 and 2019 to tackle the worst air quality hotspots outside central London. On Putney High St, this delivered a 99 per cent reduction in hourly exceedances since 2016
  • Thousands of school pupils in boroughs across the capital can now walk and cycle to school more safely thanks to School Streets schemes. More than 300 schools across London now have TfL-funded measures to restrict cars at pick up and drop off times, changes strongly backed by parents that have led to a drop in car use and improvements to air quality     
  • Extra space at town centres and on busy roads has been created to allow for social distancing and support local businesses, with interventions at 180 sites on borough roads. On the TfL road network, 22,500 square metres of extra pavement has been created across London, including in Brixton Town Centre and on Borough High Street  
  • TfL has also continued its work to make London the world's best big city for walking, with 250 new or improved pedestrian crossing installed in 2019/20 alone 
  • 25 of the capital's most dangerous and intimidating junctions have been transformed over the past five years to make them much safer for walking and cycling, with the changes resulting in an average 46 per cent reduction in collisions with people cycling at these locations. Transformed junctions include Rotherhithe Roundabout, Highbury Corner, Charlie Brown's Roundabout and Angerstein Roundabout. Construction is expected to improve safety at more junctions later this year, including Battersea Bridge/Cheyne Walk, Camden Road/Camden Street and Holloway Road/Drayton Park 
  • Expanded Santander Cycles to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Brixton, Canada Water, Bermondsey and Clapham along with rail stations including Blackfriars, Victoria, Queensway and Paddington   
  • Speed limits have been reduced to 20mph on a number TfL roads across the capital. All TfL roads in central London are now 20mph, with 29km of roads in total reduced to 20mph in 2020 alone 
  • The world-first Direct Vision Standard has been introduced which removes the most dangerous lorries from London's roads and reduces lethal HGV blind spots
  • TfL has also worked to introduce pioneering new technology on London's roads to support walking and cycling, including technology which enables traffic signal timings to adjust in real time to higher demands from cyclists, as well as schemes to give people walking a continuous green light at crossings 
  • Helped London switch to electric vehicles by achieving target of delivering 300 more rapid charging points by the end of 2020. London now has more than 500 rapid charge points and over 5,500 residential charge points.

Victoria Lebrec, Head of Policy, Campaigns and Communications at RoadPeace, said:

'One of the biggest barriers to getting people to walk and cycle is the fear of it being unsafe. RoadPeace welcomes the expansion of protected cycle routes and improved junction safety. The majority of crashes happen at junctions and London still has a way to go to achieve Vision Zero.

'We see every day the devastation that death and serious injury cause, and improving safety is paramount.'

Theo Highland, Head of Healthy Streets at Sustrans London, said:

'We welcome TfL's announcement today that work will start on four new cycle routes in London. Through our network of Healthy Streets Officers we have supported many people across the capital to take up cycling and walking during lockdown and want them to continue as we emerge from the pandemic and start travelling for work and leisure. These new routes will help to reduce the barriers to cycling that many people face. To continue to make walking and cycling possible for all Londoners, we are calling on the next mayor to triple the kilometres of safe Cycleways on the TfL Road Network while improving the walking and wheeling environment'

Mary Creagh, Chief Executive, Living Streets, said:

'At the start of the pandemic, two thirds of pavements in London were not wide enough for people to socially distance safely. By prioritising people, rather than cars, London is becoming a place where people want to walk and cycle - as the numbers show.  

'Default 20mph limits and car-free areas encourage people to choose healthier and cleaner forms of travel, allowing people from all walks of life to move safely and breathe freely.'

Cllr Kieron Williams, Leader of Southwark Council, said:

'We are working with our diverse and creative communities and supporting TfL, to make Southwark friendlier and safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and welcome this addition to safer cycleways, here in Southwark.

'We are committed to helping people to upgrade to cycling and walking, modes of transport proven to improve personal health and happiness, as well as supporting better air quality and road safety for all.

'We would love to see more people walking and cycling on short, local journeys, perhaps to one of our many vibrant highstreets or green, open spaces. We hope to encourage this by investing £800,000 to provide bike storage to all who need it and working towards timed road closures outside 60 Southwark Schools, helping to make walking and cycling part of daily routine and bringing us closer to hitting our target of carbon neutrality by 2030.'

Notes to editors:

Pictures available on request - email

  • *Research into the benefits of activity for Londoners' health can be found here -
  • **Research into the benefits of walking and cycling for air quality can be found here -
  • ***Research into the impact of walking and cycling investment on the economy can be found here -    
  • TfL has asked people for their initial feedback on the trial schemes announced today while construction work begins. While TfL plans to continue delivering schemes at speed, it will also work closely with stakeholders and local communities to ensure schemes are developed with the benefit of their knowledge and insight. As part of this, TfL has developed a new engagement process for temporary schemes where local stakeholders are engaged with prior to installation, with a public consultation once the temporary changes are in place. Trial schemes delivered earlier in the pandemic will also be subject to an engagement process before decisions are made about their future, with some of these potentially being made permanent.     
  • TfL, working with boroughs across London, has learned a huge amount through its rapid delivery of temporary walking and cycling schemes as an urgent response to the pandemic. TfL will build on these lessons and those learned from its rapid delivery of schemes before the pandemic to continue quickly delivering the schemes that London will need for a green and sustainable recovery.