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New Bike Lanes in London Increase Ridership—and Backlash – Bloomberg City Lab

By Laura Laker


It’s a familiar concept to any player of Sim City: When you build a road in your virtual town, voilà, new cars appear. Ride London’s newest cycle route, running four miles from Greenwich to London Bridge, and you’ll see this phenomenon in real life, only with bicycles. As new segments of those bike lanes fall into place, cyclists appear.


Just as London’s new urban-suburban rail link, the Elizabeth Line, has drawn stronger-than-expected ridership, the phenomenon of “induced demand” is at play. If you build it, they will come.


London’s recent cycling growth is rapid: An estimated 1.26 million biking trips are now made every day in the capital — a 6.2% increase on 2022 and up 20% since 2019 — and unlike the rest of England, the pandemic-fueled boom has kept on growing. Cycling trips are now the equivalent to a third of all Tube journeys and a quarter of bus passenger riders, making bikes a major player on the city’s transportation stage.


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