CYCLISTS from Lewisham and Greenwich have had their hopes punctured after Cycle Superhighway plans were cut short in a "sad cop-out".

Barclays Cycle Superhighway CS5 - set to link London Victoria with Lewisham town centre next year - has been scaled back to end at New Cross Gate instead.

The promised cycling route was one of 12 launched by TfL in a bid to get commuters biking into London on safer, clearly-marked trails.

TfL says the path was cut short because of "physical constraints" - such as the highly complicated New Cross gyratory system.

Lewisham Cyclists chairman Roger Stocker said: "The trouble is - finishing at New Cross Gate you are stuffed.

"It is just like stopping there and saying ‘good luck’.

"I think they have looked at it and found out it wasn’t that easy and instead of addressing the issue, they have decided to ditch it.

"Boris is saying you have got to get out to the outer areas so it is probably a big embarrassment to his administration - but on the plus side they are looking at safety."

The 55-year-old added that there was mixed reaction among the cycling community as some feel Superhighways are just "blue paint".

The news has sparked fears the Woolwich to London Bridge CS4 Superhighway- set to come in by 2015 - may also be scrapped.

This route would have to deal with cycle obstacles such as the Woolwich Road flyover and the Greenwich one-way system.

Greenwich Cyclists Coordinator Anthony Austin, 67, said: "Superhighway 5 was never going to directly affect us, but it comes so close that cyclists in this area would have used it. "It is, in our view, a very sad cop-out.

"We are very sorry for it. I am now concerned that a similar decision about Superhighway 4 Woolwich to London Bridge. "They have gone very quiet about that."

He added that with no Boris Bikes in the borough and ongoing problems with the Greenwich and Woolwich foot-tunnels, cycling opportunities are passing residents by.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group Caroline Pidgeon AM said: "Just one week after the Mayor and TfL were boasting about the new Victoria to Lewisham Superhighway we now discover that the plans have been seriously scaled back.

"The excuses for not linking the Superhighway to Lewisham show a total lack of ambition by Transport for London.

"This foolish decision suggests the Mayor of London is not really serious about introducing Dutch-style cycling infrastructure across London."

A TfL spokeswoman said: "As design progressed, it became increasingly apparent that in order to fulfil the mayor’s commitment to ensure the Cycle Superhighway is of sufficient high quality, physical constraints along this stretch would limit our ability to complete the route to these top standards.

"We are still very much committed to delivering significant cycling improvements on this same part of the A20, East of New Cross."

She added that the route would still have better cycling facilities including 0.7km of new mandatory cycle lanes and substantial resurfacing of the roads.

A Lewisham Council spokesman said the news was "disappointing" and council officers would be meeting with TfL to discuss their decision.

12 cyclists have already died on London's roads this year.

Cycle Superhighway Safety measures include:

  • The cycle lanes are up to 15km long and 1.5m wide and continue through junctions
  • Re-designed junctions
  • Advanced stop lines 
  • Blind spot visibility mirrors 
  • New cycle parking spaces
  • Free or subsidised commuter cycle training