Over the last three years I've lost count of the number of times TfL have tweaked the Bow Roundabout. They painted a blue stripe across the roundabout and added a segregated lane around the outside as part of the introduction of Cycle Superhighway 2. Then they came back and relaid the kerb alongside the segregated lane around the roundabout because vehicles were clipping it. Then Brian died. Then Svitlana died. Then they came back and erected big yellow signs saying "Drivers Look Out For Cyclists Ahead" and "Cyclists Beware Vehicles Turning Left". Then they came back and added a set of cycle early start lights on the eastbound, plus a newly segregated lane on the approach. Then they came back and relaid the kerb alongside the segregated lane approaching the roundabout because vehicles were clipping it. Then they came back and added small yellow signs saying "Cyclists Stop On Red" because the lights were over-complex. Then they came back (in the lead up to the Olympics) and repaved the centre of the roundabout to make it look more attractive, adding two metal sculptures, two planters and some night-time illuminations. Then they left the roundabout alone for a year. Then they came back and added a set of cycle early start lights on the westbound, plus a newly segregated lane on the approach, as part of the Cycle Superhighway 2 extension. Then Venera died. And now they've come back again.
Last week contractors working for TfL have removed the blue paint across the western half of the Bow roundabout. There never was any across the eastern half, but the western stripes have been scraped away revealing black tarmac underneath. It looks a bit of a mess, to be honest, especially with a rectangular blue CS2 stencil stamped on top. But at least the paint has gone, the "un-bordered blue strips" described by a coroner recently as "confusing". She said that "motorists and cyclists are confused about who has right of way and the lane lulls riders into a false sense of security." And now TfL have responded by getting rid of them, with a minimum of fuss.
There never was any blue paint daubed across the eastern half of the Bow Roundabout, because TfL left a short gap here when they extended CS2 to Stratford. But all the other blue paint remains - along the segregated lanes to Stratford and back along the length of Cycle Superhighway 2. There are still blue stripes egging cyclists to cross Burdett Road, Cambridge Heath Road, Commercial Street and many more, whilst in fact offering no protection whatsoever. Will these be scraped off too? Cyclists need to know where CS2 goes, but they don't need to be enticed forwards into danger, tempted ahead by blue paint. That's the lesson learned, at long last, at Bow. Will it be learned elsewhere?