A cyclist was left “seriously concussed” today after coming off their bike when they had to swerve to avoid a motor vehicle, but in doing so hit another one on London’s Kensington High Street – where the council last month tore out a protected cycle lane.
We understand that the incident happened towards the western boundary of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC) with Hammersmith & Fulham, close to the Olympia exhibition venue.
Safe bike lanes on High St Ken are urgent. Today someone is lucky to be alive after serious concussion, their bike smashed. "Special urgency" used by @rbkc to take the lane out, and they need > 2 months to rethink an unlawful decision? https://t.co/qTu03AxzTo pic.twitter.com/oHePwOd81z
— betterstreets4kc (@betterstreetskc) January 21, 2021
It is unclear whether it happened on the section of road before the junction with Addison Road, which did not have an emergency bike lane protected with wands but did have painted markings, or on the section further east which until early December, did.
Nevertheless, the incident is bound to lead to campaigners repeating calls for a safe cycle route through the borough, on what is one of the main arteries for cyclists heading from west London into the city centre.
RBKC did install protected cycle lanes on either side of Kensington High Street in September last year, but they were removed less than two months later despite protests from cycling campaigners and a local school.
Following today's incident, Justin Abbott of local volunteer group Better Streets for Kensington & Chelsea told road.cc: “Sadly this is just more evidence of how dangerous this road is – evidence well known to the council, who’ve recently said they want to be a “leader in active travel”.
“Following our pre-action for judicial review they say they will revisit their decision to take out the lanes, but not until the middle of March. They removed them using a ‘special urgency’ procedure.
“We simply can’t see why it’s more urgent to take out safety infrastructure than to replace it,” he added.
RBKC has consistently opposed Transport for London plans for protected cycle lanes on two key east-to-west routes – Holland Park Avenue and Kensington High Street – each of which would have run for around a mile across its territory.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.