I was saddened to read about the cyclist killed on the cycle lane on Blackfriars Bridge (NCE 3 June 2004). The conclusion in your penultimate paragraph is that this '. . . raises questions about the often fragmentary and confusing nature of cycle lanes in London and other cities'.
I would agree that it raises questions but would add that this courageous (if procedurally incomplete) piece of design was seeking to fill just such a gap in the network.
Readers should not be misled into thinking that the offside or central cycle lane layout is in any way dangerous per se. Like many of the more bold highway layouts designed to assist nonmotorised modes, this is more common on the continent.
Our very own Department for Transport recognises the layout in its excellent Traffic Advisory Leaflet 05/96 Further development of advanced stop lines. It recognises the potential for conflict since 'there may also be an occasional need for a motor vehicle to encroach into the cycle lane in order to position correctly at the junction'.
Later in your article the Cyclists' Touring Club made a general comment about cycling being a low priority in the mind of the highway designer. Lest it be thought that they do not support the central cycle lane, I refer readers to the article 'Keeping ahead of the game - advanced stop lines' in the CTC Cycle Digest number 35 spring 2003.
Nick Gough, 11 Lys Hill Gardens, Bengeo, Herts, SG14 3EH