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Tips for Cyclists in Central London

You may have noticed that a number of new property developments in London are being designed without the addition of off-road parking. Although a parking space can be an attractive feature, there’s actually a very good reason why many developers are purposefully abandoning the idea: affordability.

It probably comes as no surprise to learn that London has the highest property prices in the European Union. What the city needs now is a new range of more affordable housing. With reports showing that a single off-road parking space can add 5 percent to the value  of a home, developers are opting to keep prices more affordable by cutting down on costly additions while still maintaining quality and luxury.

One of the most popular ways to get around London without a car is by bicycle. In fact, the number of Londoners opting to cycle around the city more than doubled in the ten years between 2001 and 2011. However, with the city being so busy and bustling, it’s important to take care. Here’s some great tips for cyclists in Central London, helping you to get around, keep fit and healthy, and stay safe on the roads:


Know Your Cycle Lanes

There are two main categories of cycle lane in London. The first is a ‘mandatory cycle lane’, like the one found on Lambeth Bridge. You can tell it’s a mandatory cycle lane because it has a continuous white lane, rather than a dotted white line. These lanes prohibit cars during the hours of operation. However, an ‘advisory cycle lane’ with dotted white lines, like the one on Westminster Bridge, does permit vehicles. It’s important to know that you are expected to shares these lanes with cars and motorcycles.

Unfortunately, despite a number of mandatory cycle lanes in London, it’s not always possible for vehicles to completely avoid the lane. Take a look at the mandatory cycle lane on Chelsea Bridge, for example. All it takes is for two wide vehicles, like buses, to be occupying the road and the cycle lane disappears. Don’t assume you’re automatically safe because you’re in a cycle lane; continue to stay vigilant at all times.


Stay Aware

One of the more unusual aspects of cycling in London is that you may find yourself sharing a road with a cycle rickshaw, or ‘pedicab’. Visitors to the city seem to love them as they’re a quick way to get around, and a good way to rest the feet after a day’s sightseeing, but they can be a problem for other road users. The concern, of course, is that the drivers of these vehicles are unregulated by Transport for London, and do not need to hold valid insurance, be CRB-checked, or even be a licensed driver.

While this lack of regulation doesn’t necessarily spell disaster, what it does mean is that cyclists should make sure they stay aware when cycling in front of, behind, or alongside a rickshaw. If you do notice any erratic or potentially dangerous behaviour, it’s best to rest up to put some distance between yourself and the driver. If possible, it’s always a good idea to report dangerous road use to the local police, too.


Go Compact

If you’re not a particularly confident cyclist, or if you easily become flustered in heavy traffic, it is generally advised that cyclists avoid London rush hour whenever possible. Many cyclists in London opt for folding bikes, that can quickly be reduced to a compact, easy-to-carry parcel, as there are no public transport restrictions relating to folding bicycles. Folding bikes can be carried on all Tube services, the DLR, local train services, and the river services without hassle, at any time of the day – even peak hours. If you don’t have a folding bike, it’s still a good idea to know what the rules are when it comes to taking bicycles onto public transport services. Non-folding bicycles can be taken on the Circle, Hammersmith & City, and Metropolitan lines during off-peak times, and on some sections of the overground network.

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