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Thousands vote in competition to rename London’s cycle lanes

Ross Lydall
·2-min read
On your bikes, get set, go: the cycle lane across Westminster bridge (AFP via Getty Images)
On your bikes, get set, go: the cycle lane across Westminster bridge (AFP via Getty Images)

To motorists, cycle lanes are nothing but stolen road space that causes gridlock and delay.

But to cyclists, the new generation of London bike lanes are essential infrastructure – and, like Tube lines, each worthy of a special name.

A competition to rename the capital’s seven cycleways or superhighways attracted more than 1,000 entries.

Short-listed suggestions range from Tao's Route for CS1, which goes through Hackney, where this year’s Giro d'ltalia winner Tao Geoghegan Hart grew up, to The Banglalyn, for CS2, which passes Brick Lane or “Banglatown”.

There was The Elephant’s Trunk for CS6, which links Kentish Town and Elephant and Castle. But witty if predictable entries such as Bikey McBikeSpace failed to make it onto the shortlist.

More than 5,000 votes have been cast online in the Name Our Lanes competition, run by the climate action organisation Possible. The competition closes at midnight tonight, Tuesday.

Hirra Khan Adeogun, head of car-free cities at Possible, said: “We want to encourage the authorities to construct more cycling infrastructure. We have two crises at the moment – Covid-19 and the climate crisis. Cycling is a key solution to both, by cutting emissions and allowing people to get where they want to go while socially distancing.”

“Cycle lanes should have a place in Londoners’ hearts. What do when we love something? We give it a name.”

Hackney boy: Should the CS1 cycle superhighway be renamed in honour of Tao Geoghegan Hart?AP
Hackney boy: Should the CS1 cycle superhighway be renamed in honour of Tao Geoghegan Hart?AP

Martyn Annetts, who thought up The Elephant’s Trunk after riding it to and from work daily, said the name echoed the route’s shape and used a transport phrase.

“People have said to me it’s a ‘London phrase’. You can imagine people using it as a term, saying: ‘I cycled into work on The Elephant’s Trunk,” he said.

Other shortlisted suggestions include The Beryl Burton Way for CS2, in honour of the British cycling legend who missed out on competing at the Olympics because women's cycling wasn't admitted until 1984.

The judges also shortlisted Cable Street Cycleway for CS3 and Chaplin Chase for C4. Charlie Chaplin was born in nearby Walworth and was a keen cyclist later in life.

Winehouse Way is proposed for CS6 because it passes Camden, where Amy Winehouse lived and often performed.

The entrant who receives the highest number of votes will win a Brompton bike. The hope is that the names will enter common parlance – which may eventually convince Transport for London to formally adopt them.

Will Butler-Adams, chief executive of Brompton and one of the judges, said: “The response and name suggestions for each cycleway have been fantastic, and it's been great fun reading the stories behind each submission.

“The passion from the public is testament to how important these cycleways in London are for commuters.”

• To vote, visit http://wearepossible.org/name-our-lanes