In 2021, Kensington & Chelsea council infuriated cyclists across the borough by suddenly scrapping a trial scheme of protected bike lanes down Kensington High Street. By most standards, the scheme had been a success. In just a few short weeks, cycle trips down the road had doubled to 3,000-4,000 daily. Fifty-six per cent of locals were in favour of the new bike-friendly measures. But the council responded to complaints from a handful of disgruntled locals by pulling the plug.
The same year, some stark statistics were released by Healthy Streets Scorecard showing that Kensington & Chelsea was the most dangerous borough for cyclists in London, with more than double of cyclists casualties than boroughs such as Lewisham and Hackney. TfL specifically highlighted Kensington High Street as one of London’s most dangerous streets, with nine cyclists and six pedestrians injured in three years. Time for some good news?
Well, finally things are looking up for Kensington High Street. Work is now beginning on permanent cycle lanes, after 60 per cent of respondents to a public consultation were in favour of the idea. The new lanes will be marked off over three nights from August 14, while Fulham Road will follow suit later in the year.
There’s still more to be done: cyclists have raised the point that the new lanes are only so-called ‘advisory cycle lanes’ marked off with paint, rather than following official government guidance by offering physical protection from road traffic. A crucial central section of Kensington High Street has also been left out of the scheme, which makes it much less effective as a way for cyclists to get from west London into the centre of town.
All in all, it’s an improvement. But dogged campaigners from groups like Better Streets for Kensington and Chelsea won’t be popping the champagne just yet.
Did you see that the Elizabeth line is now one of London's busiest routes?
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