Central London Bridges
The bridges in central London have long been identified as unpleasant to cycle over, particularly the junctions at their northern ends. In 2004 two high profile fatalities of a cycle courier by Southwark Bridge and physiotherapist on Blackfriars Bridge attracted national media attented and prompted Transport for London to review its procedures (large pdf file) and promise swift action in particular in relation to Blackfriars Bridge.
After patiently waiting, cycling groups were very disappointed by proposals to make cyclists share the pavement. Following a campaign led by City Cyclists these have been revoked and we are very pleased by TfL's new proposals. It's notable that even the Evening Standard and Conservative members of the London Assembly are now pushing for better cycling conditions, which illustrates the increased acceptance of cycling that happened in 2005.
The northbound (western side) has been upgraded and won the LCC's award as best cycle facility of the year in 2006. The junction at the northern end, which is designed like motorway slip roads, is still unpleasant for anyone turning. It is due to be sorted out by 2010 as part of the rebuilding of Blackfriars station as part of the Thameslink upgrade. The southbound cycle lane leads into a bus stop followed by four lanes of traffic jam.Previous campaign against pavement cycle way (includes photomontage)
Blackfriars Bridge page: photos, history, media comment
Southwark Bridge has the best safety record of any central bridge and has low motor traffic flows. However the narrow advisory cycle lanes are used as a continuation of the coach park on the road at the south end which with its pinch points and heavy traffic is unpleasant. It has significant pedestrian flows, indeed in rush hour most of the traffic seems made up of those on foot and cycle with the occasional platoon of motor vehicles passing.
City Cyclists are calling for a 20mph speed limit, wide cycle lanes with a slightly raised pavement to protection the bridge sides.
The City have drawn up proposals to protect the sides of the bridge from the alleged risk of drivers coming off the carriageway while TfL have drawn up proposals for the junction at the northern end: see here
London Bridge has nasty junctions at either end and during rush hour the southbound carriageway becomes three dense lanes of traffic jam, while the layout around the police checkpoint at the northern end leads to a lot of cyclists being hit.
Being progressed as part of LCN+, recommendations of making a lane each way a 2.5m cycle lane.
Historic Tower Bridge may look good for tourists but it ain't for cyclists. While there is a 20mph speed limit the congested traffic moves slowly. The roads either side have plenty of space for wide cycle lanes but the bridge itself is too narrow unless the ugly railings are removed and the kerb modified.
Current proposals: being developed by TfL again as part of the LCN+.