‘From dangerous to extremely safe’: Hackney cyclist praises Clapton roundabout makeover

The family cycles through the improved roundabout. Photograph: Kate Corden

A cyclist has shared her thoughts on the revamp of Clapton roundabout after riding through it with her children.

Transport for London (TfL) has completed the works on Cycleway 23 in Hackney, with new cycle lanes installed on the Lea Bridge Roundabout to connect it with an existing route to Dalston.

The new segregated cycle lane on the roundabout has transformed it from an “accident hotspot to something very safe”, cyclist Kate Corden said after she rode through it with her husband and two children on Monday.

Corden, who owns a bike-fitting business, has seen how cycling in the area has changed since 2000, when she moved to Hackney.

Sadly, Lea Bridge Roundabout has seen at least 32 collisions involving a cyclist since 2002, according to CycleStreets map, which uses official crash data.

There have been other cycling crashes near the roundabout, including a fatal collision on Lea Bridge Road in 2017.

Lea Bridge Road is a “very fast moving” and “it wasn’t pleasant”, she said.

“It was very dangerous and I can see why there were so many accidents there,” she continued.

“There are some places where lots of people previously wouldn’t have been comfortable cycling.”

Before the revamp, cyclists at Lea Bridge Roundabout had to ride through or attempt to dodge a carpet of broken glass and debris on the inside lane, Corden said.

Now the fully segregated cycle lanes have turned the intimidating gyratory into “somewhere that any cyclist can go through, whether a child, an adult, whether they are confident or less familiar riding with traffic”, she explained.

The biggest letdown was the lack of transition from the cycle lane to North Millfield Recreation Ground just east of the roundabout, where the entrance to the park is “very small” and “difficult to get into and come out of”, Corden pointed out.

Although the new roundabout is a “massive improvement”, the lights took a long time to change and there was no button for cyclists to press, she added.

All in all, though, it “felt extremely safe and well-built”.

“Then it led onto a very good cycle lane on the other side, which is fantastic.”

Alongside the roundabout improvements, TfL has upgraded the pedestrian crossings and signals.

Construction has also finished on Cycleway 50 between Finsbury Park and Holloway Road in Islington.

London’s walking and cycling commissioner, Will Norman, said: “The Mayor [of London] and I want to build on the boom in cycling we’ve seen in recent years, as our rapidly expanding cycle network enables more and more Londoners to switch to cycling for local journeys.

“The extension of these two cycleways will make cycling journeys easier and safer around Hackney and Islington and help us continue building a better, greener, safer London for everyone.”

Cllr Mete Coban, Hackney Council’s cabinet member for climate change, environment and transport, said: “The new-look Lea Bridge roundabout is easier to cross on foot, safer to cycle on, and has new trees that make the area greener.

“In Hackney, we have one of the highest combined rates of people walking, cycling and using public transport in London. We have also been working with TfL to implement new parts of the new cycle route between Lea Bridge and Dalston, which includes a cycle crossing on Crossway and other traffic calming measures in the Dalston and Hackney Downs area.

“Across the borough, we’ve recently consulted on proposals to introduce cycle lanes on Pembury Road, and are speaking with local people about a completely reimagined Hackney Central area. This could include trees, planting and wider pavements on Amhurst Road and a redesigned Pembury Circus junction, currently one of the most dangerous in the borough.”

Updated: this articles was amended at 10am on 14 February 2024 to include comment from Cllr Mete Coban.