Cycle superhighways in Cardiff

By Steve Brooks,
artist's impression of a cycle superhighway

Artist's impression of proposed cycle superhighway

Cardiff Council are taking steps to change the culture and character of Wales’ capital city, with the aim of making its transport cleaner, healthier, safer, more efficient and better able to deal with a growing population. They are following in the footsteps of London where over the past few years transport infrastructure has largely focussed on how they can make it more bike-friendly.  

London introduced cycle superhighways over a period of time since 2010, they consist of cycle routes running from outer London into and across central London with the aim to give people safer, faster and more direct journeys into the city. The plans which have been undertaken by the Mayor of London are well underway with 6 cycle superhighways developed, 2 out for consultation and a further 3 in the pipeline. They have received overwhelming support from the public which only goes to show the hunger within our cities for high quality cycle routes.

Yes, London is leading the way for cycling infrastructure in the UK but as more and more people in Cardiff are taking to two wheels, Cardiff Council have acknowledged that the city’s transport network needs to change. 

The Council is working to ensure that cycling is an accessible, easy and natural choice for everyone who wishes for it to be. See their recently published green paper here.

In Sustrans’ recent survey Bike Life Cardiff poll of 1,100 residents, we found 57% of residents would like to start riding a bike or ride their bike more, but many had concerns about road safety. Only 34% of those surveyed considered cycling safety in the city to be "good" but 70% said they might cycle more if segregated cycle lanes were built.

Proposals for five ‘cycle superhighways’ are in development and aim to support and promote cycling for all ages and abilities across the city. The proposed routes will connect communities to major destinations across the city, including the City Centre, Cardiff Bay, the University Hospital of Wales, Newport Road Retail Parks and Rumney, Llanrumney and St Mellons Business Park.

Although the suitability of the term ‘cycle superhighway’ is still in debate, the idea is pretty simple: a continuous path that will provide a safer, faster and more direct journey to and around the city.  It is hoped that the cycle superhighway will revolutionise the commute with it being the best and quickest way to get to work, and make it more appealing to those who want to get on their bike but do not feel safe with it being separated from motor vehicles and pedestrians wherever possible.

The cycle superhighways as planned by Cardiff will be developed from proposals in the city’s 15-year plan to improve routes for walking and cycling in the city.

The proposed routes are:

  • Superhighway 1: City Centre to Cathays, University Hospital Wales, Heath High Level and Heath Low Level Rail Stations, and North East Cardiff Strategic Development Site
  • Superhighway 2: City Centre to Adamsdown, Newport Road retail parks, Rumney, Llanrumney and St Mellons Business Park
  • Superhighway 3: City Centre to Cardiff Bay
  • Superhighway 4: City Centre to Llandaff, Danescourt and North West Strategic Development Site
  • Superhighway 5: City Centre to Riverside, Ely and Caerau.

You can view a map of the proposed routes.

With an imminent increase in the number of Nexbikes in the city centre, we’ll soon see even more people being able to choose to cycle, which in turn will help to create a better, happier city for everyone.

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