Proposed floating bike path on the Thames

13 Oct

As the CityLab writer says, both “hilarious and insulting“…


The odds were tough, but we did it: London has just come up with what must be the silliest cycling infrastructure idea in the world. Put together by a motley group called the River Cycleway Consortium, London is fielding a new proposal for a new central cycle path that will stretch eight miles and cost £600 million ($965 million) to construct. Quite a lot for a pair of bike lanes, isn’t it? Ah, but these are not ordinary paths. These babies would float. On the River Thames.

The answer to London’s cycling problems, the consortium argues, is a bobbing pontoon strung along the Southern side of London’s river. This aquatic cycleway would stretch from Battersea, just west of Central London, to the newish business district to its east at Canary Wharf, protected by what appear to be waist-high walls. Given the construction cost of over $65,000 per yard of path, using the cycleway wouldn’t be free. Cyclists would need to pay a £1.50 ($2.40) toll before entering.

The proposal isn’t just wrong. It’s a whole club sandwich of wrongness, made up of many delectable layers of stupid. For a start, there’s that cost. For that kind of money, London could create a whole network of properly protected cycle lanes on its streets; as things stand, the city already has some imperfect cycle routes covering the same stretch. It’s also arguable whether this project is needed.  Certainly there’s still life in the aging saw that if you build it, they will come. Still, to build a path connecting two business centers to each other, rather than either of these centers to more heavily residential districts, is to ignore what many Londoners want to use their bikes for: commuting.

The path would also rise and fall with the waterline. It would have to, of course, because the Thames is tidal—so tidal, in fact, that boats moored on the waterside are set into a perpetual jiggle by small waves. Boat wakes also lash the quayside, including those made by fast river ferries that dock at piers that the cycle path would need to thread past. This could turn a daily commute into a drunken cakewalk on a path wriggling like an eel—not to mention opening up the possibility of biking through the end result of cyclists’ seasickness on rougher days.

Not that the path would attract many people, of course. That toll would only push the idea that urban cycling is a fancy fad for the wealthy, designed for the sort of person who would look down on you for poisoning your kids with non-organic vegetables. If that sounds an extreme reaction to a few dollars’ outlay, bear in mind that the U.K. is a country almost entirely without tolls. They’re charged on a tiny clutch of bridges and on no roads. Given all these obvious flaws, why is anyone even trying to float this preposterous idea?

Britain has gone nuts


15 responses to “Proposed floating bike path on the Thames

  1. sfcton

    October 13, 2014 at 9:18 am

    with all the things the need to address in the UK and London this is what they spend their resources on?

  2. Will S.

    October 13, 2014 at 10:07 am


  3. Kilrud

    October 13, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Priorities aside, this sounds fun to me.

  4. Will S.

    October 13, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Really? You’d not mind trying to cycle on a floating path when a motorboat wake is changing the shape of the damn thing while you drive on it?

  5. Kilrud

    October 13, 2014 at 10:19 am

    That’s what makes it sound fun…but then again, I grew up on the water.

  6. Will S.

    October 13, 2014 at 10:21 am


    I think riding a jet-ski through a motorboat’s wake would be more fun! 🙂

  7. feeriker

    October 13, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    Given the construction cost of over $65,000 per yard of path, using the cycleway wouldn’t be free. Cyclists would need to pay a £1.50 ($2.40) toll before entering.

    Anyone stupid enough to want to use this boondoggle deserves to be charged through the nose for the “privilege” of doing so. That being the case, £1.50 is an insultingly low toll. Ideally, the morons who are pushing for this thing to be built are the ones who should be bearing all of its cost. None of it should be borne by London’s taxpayers, who are already being bled dry by one of the world’s most vampiric governments.

  8. Will S.

    October 14, 2014 at 2:41 am

    Yes; why should the rich only have to pay that low a fare, for something costing so much?

  9. feeriker

    October 15, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Yes; why should the rich only have to pay that low a fare, for something costing so much?

    Let the market do its work. If a sufficient number of London’s cyclists want a bike path on water, let them pool their own money and hire an engineering firm to build it and let them agree upon a sufficient user toll to fund its operation and maintenance. I’m admittedly hard-pressed to imagine any serious cyclist wanting such a thing, but as a non-cyclist, what do I know?

  10. Will S.

    October 15, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    I agree! Let the market dictate! No need to make all taxpayers subsidize something only some will use…

  11. sfcton

    October 16, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    The one thing the system is effective at is robbing the middle class to bribe the poor non Whites and pay for silly shit the UMC Whites loves….. which is the whole point of leftism after all

  12. Will S.

    October 16, 2014 at 12:27 pm


  13. sfcton

    October 16, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    To many people think the left is incompetent. This is not so and things are working out (mostly) as they wish. You have to understand their real goals vs their eyewash goals


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s