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Pushing Pedals: London Road Cycle Lanes – We Must Find a Way

Published on: 29 Jan, 2023
Updated on: 1 Feb, 2023

This is the regular column on local cycling by the Guildford Bicycle User Group (G-BUG). Its vision is to make cycling in Guildford safer, more convenient and fun. Members share a passion for making the borough more accessible through increased cycling.

By Doug Clare

G-BUG committee member

I cycled from the town centre on Tuesday evening, January 5 to George Abbott expecting to find a small meeting with maybe 20 concerned people and was astounded to find a packed hall with some 350 people bulging out of the doors. I started to sense that maybe there was some opposition to the proposed London Road Cycle Lanes!

The meeting on January 5 was hostile to the disruption to be caused by SCC’s London Road cycle lane proposals.

But somebody had to speak up for cycling so I made my presence known to the meeting’s chair, Anne Milton, as a G-Bug member and was given a microphone!

We are not going to solve Guildford’s traffic problems or stop the frequent gridlock without embracing active travel, both walking and cycling. But to do that, we need a safe cycle network.

That’s me, Doug Clare, with the microphone addressing the Burpham public meeting.

Guildford’s cycle lanes are totally inadequate. GBC’s own assessment in May 2020 said the “current level of quality [of cycleways] is not suitable for less confident cyclists, let alone encouraging people who do not currently cycle to start”.

If it doesn’t improve, people will not cycle. We need cycle infrastructure designed such that a 12-year-old with Bikeability 2 capability will be safe.

Tom Page of Cycle UK, said he had been clipped by a car on this narrow cycle lane on the London Road (see Pedestrian and Cycle Paths Improved But Still Poor Relation to Roads September 2020).

If they can achieve this in London, Cambridge and Bristol then surely we can do it here in Guildford?

The Guildford Cycling Vision is for the gyratory or hub to be redesigned under the Town Centre Master Plan to be safe for cyclists and then for every A road or spoke leading out of the centre to have segregated cycle lanes.

Not just London Road but Epsom Road, Shalford Road, Portsmouth Road, Aldershot Road, and Woking Road.

It will be fantastic for Guildford when it is done.

There will be some disruption and that must be minimised. The seven months quoted by SCC for the London Road works seemed excessive. But we should be looking at the bigger picture.

With a complete network constructed, people will see that cycling is safe and, as in London, many will change the way they travel and leave the car at home.

We have been offered funding to make our roads safer and more inclusive. We must not turn down this chance.

We badly need the London Road cycle lanes and to expand the cycle network one road at a time.

Build safe cycle paths and the cyclists will come.

Please sign up to or G-BUG – Facebook and join hundreds of fellow cyclists in Guildford.

See ‘Madness’ For London Road Scheme To Go Ahead Against Huge Opposition Says SCC Leader

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Responses to Pushing Pedals: London Road Cycle Lanes – We Must Find a Way

  1. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    January 30, 2023 at 10:06 am

    The big question: is it necessary to create dedicated cycle lanes by reducing traffic lanes to 3.0m wide but keeping the speed limit to 30mph?

    Is it any safer for traffic at 30mph to pass cyclists within these cycle lanes? The answer must be no. Surely 1.5m clearance when passing cyclists would not be possible in most cases. To create this space, traffic has to cross over to the other side but opposing traffic cannot move over sufficiently because they cannot cross the white line of dedicated cycle lane. In my view a recipe for accidents waiting to happen if the scheme goes ahead.

    Surrey Highways needs to review the design and audit road safety of their proposed scheme.

    I have suggested an alternative solution. Please see my comments in

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    February 1, 2023 at 11:59 am

    I was expecting some reaction from G-BUG. Do they think the proposed dedicated cycle lanes are safe?

  3. Tom Danforth Reply

    February 1, 2023 at 3:41 pm

    No. The speed limit should – and will be – 20mph. Which is, in any event, merely aspirational in most of the fume-filled gridlocked road network of Guildford.

  4. Julia Shaw Reply

    February 3, 2023 at 12:57 pm

    I thank Doug Clare for speaking up for cycling. I can’t wait to use these cycle paths with my children when they are built. I cycled down London Road once and found the narrow cycle lanes and busy traffic right next to my shoulder terrifying. I certainly wouldn’t let my kids cycle down London road as it is now.

    I think it is important that segregated cycle paths, separate from the traffic and up at footpath level are built to make people feel safe, as is the design for the London Road scheme.

    This configuration would improve the conditions for people walking as well as cycling. It should be remembered that for every journey that people swap from car to walking or cycling because of the improved infrastructure, congestion is reduced for those who need to drive.

  5. Mark Percival Reply

    February 4, 2023 at 5:29 pm

    I have just read Doug Clare’s G-BUG column regarding the proposed London Road Cycle Lanes and I completely agree with his views. The need for a safe cycle network in Guildford is imperative to encourage active travel and reduce traffic congestion. I am glad someone stepped up to represent cyclists at the George Abbott meeting

    I fully support the Guildford Cycling Vision and the aim to redesign the gyratory and every A road with segregated cycle lanes. It is inspiring to see that other cities like London, Cambridge and Bristol have already implemented this and there is no reason why Guildford can’t do the same. The potential benefits to the community in terms of improved health, reduced traffic and cleaner air are enormous.

    I understand that there may be some disruption during the construction, but the bigger picture of a complete and safe cycle network is worth it. I also appreciate the funding that has been offered to make our roads safer and more inclusive. Let’s not miss this opportunity.

    I am happy to join the hundreds of fellow cyclists in Guildford by signing up to G-BUG and supporting the cause. I strongly encourage others to do the same.

  6. Pat Daffarn Reply

    February 5, 2023 at 11:24 am

    As Doug Clare states, we need a safe cycle network in Guildford. But it shold include walking and cycling infrastructure across Surrey and beyond to enable the active travel that UK government is dedicating funds for.

    We need National Highways, Surrey County Council and Guildford Borough Council to have vision and work on joined up implementable plans. We achieved that when three authorities (SCC, GBC, and Waverley Borough Council) all agreed to the and that is being implemented. We need more linked arterial routes and feeder paths segregated from vehicles.

    National Highways are building dedicated bridges away from vehicles at the M25/A3 junction that will enable a safe cycle and walking route from Cobham all the way to the Surrey Science Park, except for London Road which has narrow lanes and vehicles close passing or blocking the cycle lane. How many drivers have read and obey the new 2022 Highway Code?

    Traffic disruption during construction is the objection, but people adjust, there are other roads. Alternatively, they can park at Spectrum, walk the short distance, and feel better for it.

  7. Calum Shaw Reply

    February 8, 2023 at 9:04 pm

    I also cycled to that meeting. I would count myself in the top five per cent of confident cyclists (I cross Stoke crossroads up the Woking Road regularly with the traffic), but even so, I feel vulnerable on the road out to George Abbot. I would never take my 12-year-old daughter along there along the painted cycling gutter. It’s laughable that it was considered beneficial.

    I definitely felt that the room at the meeting had a certain demographic! Many people were annoyed at the lack of consultation, but I do wonder why for this scheme everyone expected more communication. It’s normal for roads to be closed with diversions, sometimes for extended periods.

    As I understand it, the project is now dead until new funding is secured. This is a tremendous shame. Making a neighbourhood more walkable and bike-friendly has so many benefits. Children can cycle to the schools (saving up to 4 car journeys to shuttle a child), short-trip pollution (double that of a warmed-up car) is reduced and travel is better for all ages and abilities. Car drivers benefit from less congestion too, and the neighbourhood just becomes nicer to be in.

    The plans for the scheme were to the LTN1/20 guidelines which are tried and tested. I don’t see the reason for challenging the road layout if it confirms to the standards. Compared to other roads in Guildford there are actually few HGVs, and they are rarely 3m wide as was suggested at the meeting.

    I hope that Guildford will benefit from similar schemes even if not in Burpham for now.

    Editor’s Comment: I believe the scheme is not dead but postponed until further consultation has been conducted and that funding has not, so far, been lost.

  8. Cameron Allan Reply

    February 9, 2023 at 12:45 am

    Cycle infrastructure is not for cyclists, if we define a “cyclist” as a stereotypical white middle-aged man dressed in lycra.

    These people are already cycling and are used to dealing with the traffic.

    Cycle infrastructure is for the people who are not currently cycling. Children, women (which studies have shown are put off cycling more than men by the dangers of traffic) and the elderly, the people who feel less confident about cycling.

    Cycle infrastructure is built for regular people to get around their town on a bike.

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