Two-way cycling in one-way streets

The bicycle can be given a major advantage over motorised modes, by making cycle access more direct and extensive. Allowing two-way cycling in one-way streets is one way this is achieved, delivering improved local access, reduced journey distances and times, and more route choices.

About 40 streets in Lambeth have already been converted from standard one-way streets to one-way streets that allow legal two-way cycling. There are still about 70 one-way streets in the borough where cyclists cannot legally cycle in both directions. Following the example set by the City of London where all one-way streets allow two-way cycling, we are working to bring two-way cycling to all one-way streets in Lambeth.

There are a variety of options available for introducing two-way cycling facilities in one-way streets, ranging from simple signage to minor highways works, such as new traffic islands. The most appropriate treatment will depend upon a variety of attributes, including available carriageway width, traffic volume and mean vehicle speed. Given these variables, a study was commissioned by Lambeth Council in 2016 to assess the feasibility of implementing two-way cycling within the Borough’s one-way street network. The final report can be viewed here.

Based on various on-street attributes, a review of case studies, design guidance and best practice, the report categorised all of Lambeth’s one-way streets without existing contraflow cycling facilities into five groups, each with its own recommended contraflow cycling treatment. The groups are:

  • Group 1 – No formal cycle lane required
  • Group 2 – Segregated contraflow cycle lane advisable
  • Group 3 – Mandatory contraflow cycle lane advisable
  • Group 4 – Advisory contraflow cycle lane advisable
  • Group 5 – Two-way cycling not advisable.

About 35 of the 70 one-way streets without two-way cycling facilities in Lambeth were classed as being in Group 1. These are generally streets with low vehicle speeds and low traffic flows. In these locations it is possible to allow two way cycling without marked cycle lanes. The only changes needed on-street are usually new road signs and road markings, to highlight the presence of the new cycling facility to general traffic. This type of layout is already working well in the borough on streets like Stockwell Avenue and Gateley Road.

Lambeth Council is currently progressing designs to deliver schemes for all of the streets in Group 1 in 2017/18, subject to funding and approvals. Schemes for the streets in the other groups will be assessed and prioritised towards the end of 2017/18 for future delivery.

Find out more about cycling in Lambeth

Borough Wide Two-Way Cycling in One-Way Streets Study, May 2016