Plans to build a $1 billion euro protected bicycle lane across London was approved by the city’s mayor Boris Johnson this week, making it Europe’s first and longest bike superhighway.

Eighteen miles long, the bicycle lane will run alongside regular roadways from the Victoria Embankment to link Tower Hill and Paddington. Its curb-segregation will guarantee safe journeys for bike riders travelling from east to west London.

“Cycling is clearly now a major transport option in London, with over 17,000 bike journeys now made across central London every single day,” Peter Hendy, transport commissioner for London, told Dezeen.

“These projects will help transform cycling in London – making it safer and an option that more and more people can enjoy.”

Two-way cycle track on Tower Hill

Original proposal for Parliament Square

The introduction of bicycle lanes into a city’s landscape is not a new, especially as city and urban planners continue to tackle issues to do with road congestion and pollution. Just last year, British architect Norman Foster of Foster + Partners unveiled ‘SkyCycle’, a concept to build a network of elevated pathways above London’s railways to create safe car-free cycling routes.

Over 200 entrance points across the UK capital will connect to the approximately 220 kilometres cycling lanes, and each route would accommodate up to 12,000 cyclists every hour and improve journey times by up to 30 minutes.

According to Peter Walker, Guardian’s bike blogger, these lanes also contribute to a city’s liveability by creating an effect that is humanising, civilising, relaxing, and enchanting.

“It makes the city immediately more appealing. Beyond all that it also rebuts the perennial complaint that push for London bike routes is the niche hobby horse of a small coterie of middle-class, male cyclists. The whole point is that if you create safer cycling you necessarily create more inclusive cycling,” Walker wrote.

The proposal is now awaiting approval from Transport for London, and could begin construction in April. A north-south route is also under consideration.

Images: Dezeen