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"Is this a joke?": Cyclists dismayed at council's idea for painted cycle lanes where segregated infrastructure was controversially ripped out

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council ripped out the Kensington High Street lanes in 2020, prompting complaints and a High Court challenge

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) has once again caused frustration and anger among cyclists who use Kensington High Street, this time as the controversial council announced it would be consulting on providing painted "advisory cycle lanes" on some parts of the route that had its segregated cycling infrastructure ripped out two years ago.

In March, campaigners lost a High Court legal challenge brought against the local authority for its removal of the cycle lane in December 2020. Now, the council says it could be open to providing "broken (dashed) painted white line" cycle lanes that can be "used by vehicles other than pedal cycles when clear". 

The news has not been received well by campaigners and cyclists who use the heavily congested route, the London Cycling Campaign asking how RBKC can "still not understand" that "protected space saves lives and enables more people to cycle?"

One rider called the council "absolute dinosaurs" while another said painted cycle lanes are another way of saying 'we're going to do nothing'. Concerns have also been raised about the likelihood of any potential painted lanes being blocked by parked vehicles.

"Although the proposals do not involve any changes to waiting or loading restrictions, the Highway Code advises that drivers should not drive or park in an advisory cycle lane marked by a broken white line unless it is unavoidable," RBKC said.

Kensington High Street Cycle lane

[Kensington High Street before the segregated infrastructure was removed]

The proposals include the introduction of 'with-flow' advisory cycle lanes measuring 1.5m in width on both sides of the road on sections between Addison Road to Earl's Court Road and Kensington Palace Gardens to Queen's Gate, as well as 'cycle symbols' to "guide cyclists into the main carriageway lane when buses are waiting at bus stops or where carriageway widths do not permit a cycle lane".

The plans were called "embarassing" by one reply to the council's social media post about the consultation, another rider calling them "the worst garbage I have ever seen in my life — genuinely don't bother".

> Motor traffic journey times increase after Kensington cycle lanes removed

"It will just be full of parked cars, taxis and vans with phone drivers drifting in and out of it," one reply said. "When will this Borough leave the 90s behind?"

"Can you explain what painted, advisory, lanes actually do to protect cyclists from motor traffic — and point to the evidence to support your plans to build them?" another asked.

"Enabling more walking and cycling is part of the Council Plan commitment to a Greener Kensington and Chelsea. Making such trips safer and more convenient is one way to improve our air quality, reduce traffic congestion, and work towards our goal for the borough to be carbon neutral by 2040," RBKC said.

"We're interested in your views on our proposals to introduce advisory cycle lanes on Fulham Road and the western and eastern sections of Kensington High Street. Your comments will help us decide whether to implement the proposals.
The proposals exclude sections of Fulham Road and Kensington High Street maintained by Transport for London."

The London Cycling Campaign described the initial decision to scrap the segregated infrastructure as "shameful, callous and retrograde", around 200 people taking to their bikes to protest the decision, before further demonstrations on the night of its removal.

Kensington High Street

The then PM Boris Johnson was said to be "ballistic" about its removal, and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan urged the council to reinstate it after an independent survey found that almost twice as many people who live in the borough support having the protected cycle lane.

In March, the council won a High Court case, brought by campaigners who said the lane's removal had been "premature", while two weeks ago RBKC insisted it "did not manipulate data" after cycling campaigners accused it of ignoring advice in order to controversially shelve the scheme.

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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10 comments

Avatar
Legin | 11 months ago
6 likes

Why do you think RBKC give a FF about what is the right thing to do. After all this is the authority with oversight on Grenfell Tower. They don't care about anyone that doesn't fit their paradigm i.e. right wing and wealthy.

Avatar
eburtthebike | 11 months ago
7 likes

Enabling more walking and cycling is part of the Council Plan commitment to a Greener Kensington and Chelsea.

Except that that policy is for display purposes only, not, under any circumstances to be put into practice.

"We're interested in your views on our proposals......."

Of course they are.  So important that they will all be collected together and filed in the big bin labeled "rubbish".

Yet another example in the seemingly endless display of tories behaving, well, like tories really.  Say one thing, do the opposite, ignore your own constituents' views, pander to the Chelsea tractor brigade, endanger cyclists, fry the planet.

Avatar
Cocovelo | 11 months ago
3 likes

"an independent survey found that almost twice as many people who live in the borough support having the protected cycle lane."

Yes but we all know that residents have to put up with pollution, congestion and road danger to protect the rights of the rest of the country to transit conveniently and quickly (driving at the or above the speed ~limit~ target) through their neighbourhood.

Avatar
Rendel Harris | 11 months ago
11 likes

"We know there is a lot of strong views"? Me are a person who have a lot of strong views about they grammar.

Avatar
KDee replied to Rendel Harris | 11 months ago
3 likes

Well, at least it wasn't some sort of public announcement from an authority...oh

Avatar
hawkinspeter | 11 months ago
7 likes

So, is "consulting" now a synonym for "postponed indefinitely"?

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Morgoth985 replied to hawkinspeter | 11 months ago
6 likes

Whaddya mean "now"??

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chrisonabike replied to Morgoth985 | 11 months ago
2 likes

Snap!

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giff77 replied to hawkinspeter | 11 months ago
2 likes

Pretty much. 

Avatar
brooksby | 11 months ago
2 likes

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