Friday, June 17, 2011

Olympic VIP 'Zil Lanes' - Cycles Banned

Not content with failing to create decent cycle lanes to the Olympic venues, TfL are now banning cyclists from the ‘Zil lanes’ created to ferry VIPs to and from the Olympic venues, Ross Lydall has revealed. Cabbies are also banned from the lanes, along with everyone else.

Cyclists are used to being treated as VUPs (Very Unimportant People), but who are these ‘VIPs’, and why do they need special lanes? The athletes should be staying near to the venue for their sport, as should all the hangers-on. If anyone wants to stay in central London, they can get up early to miss the traffic. Or they could take the tube or even cycle. The only indispensible, very important people in the Games are the athletes.

As Brian Coleman commented last year, “The exclusive Olympic lanes on Euston Road and Southampton Row are only being created because the international media is staying in swanky Bloomsbury hotels."

Cabbies are planning a protest – maybe cyclists should join them – after all, your enemy’s enemy is your friend. On the other hand, congestion is also often the cyclist's friend, so if parts of London get seriously gummed up by these lanes, and the tubes are full of ticket-clutching sports fans, it could leave cycling as the only practical way of getting around...


  1. I'd hope that after the games, TFL will realise that people can continue to do without the extra carriageway and turn the VIP lanes over to buses, cycles and cabs. That'd be an Olympic legacy I could get along with.

  2. Funny how Brian Coleman forgot to mention that the “Olympic Family” of 82,000 (no, that is not a typo) permitted to use the Zil lanes includes almost as many “marketing Partners” as journos, who will at least be sharing their perceptions with a wider public.
    “Marketing Partners” includes such august bodies as BP, BT, British Airways, consulting firms Atos Origin and Deloitte, Lloyds TSB bank. They will have the right to use these lanes to move their executives and their corporate hospitality guests swiftly from their City offices and Park Lane hotels to the games sites while the rest of us fume.
    Almost every time I read something about London 2012 I see something else to make me hate it all the more – most recently the fact that LOCOG will persecute just about anyone who even strings together the four digits two, oh, one and two into something resembling a business or event name. In researching who the marketing partners are another, older offence popped up – you won’t be able to take food and drink with you because only MacDonalds and Coke have the monopoly on these things. Then there are the idiocies like prohibiting bike parking at the venue itself, no hire bikes apparently because Lloyds has the monopoly on banking sponsorship so another bank’s logo cannot be seen there. Then there are the thousands who couldn’t get tickets despite applying for several grands’ worth – the list goes on.
    Funny that we should find ourselves making common cause with cabbies but I also find the Zil lanes an affront, and the idea of direct action in protest appeals to me.
    Will the restrictions really help people afterwards to understand how they canb actually live with less road space, so it can be used for public transport and bikes? It would be nice to think so but I am not holding my breath, and meanwhile the 100 days or so for which they will be in operation will make conditions pretty intolerable for cyclists, as the traffic squeezed out of Kingsway, Euston Road, Upper/Lower Thames St etc spills into other streets which we as cyclists currently find less daunting.