Bike lane that 'caused congestion' found to be blocked by parked cars most of the time

A study has revealed the £320,000 bike lane in Kensington that was recently ripped out was blocked by parked cars 80 per cent of the time

(Simon Dawson/Bloomberg/Getty)
(Image credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A London bike lane costing hundreds of thousands of pounds that was removed after the local council said it was causing congestion, was blocked by parked cars 80 per cent of the time.

The segregated cycle lane on Kensington High Street, which cost £320,000, was pulled down just seven weeks after opening, a move criticised by Giro d'Italia champion Tao Geoghegan Hart as well as campaign groups.

The local council made the decision after receiving 322 complaints, which constitutes 0.2 per cent of the borough's population, including the Kensington Business Forum.

Coventry's Bicycle Mayor Adam Tranter used Google's AI platform to monitor how often the lane that used to be a bike lane was blocked by parked vehicles, with the Guardian reporting his analysis showed it was blocked 80 per cent of the time on one day last week.

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The 80 per cent day was December 29 between 7 am - 7 pm, with some vehicles parked on double yellow lines for more than 10 hours, while during the week December 21-28 the lane was blocked 64 per cent of the time.

Further analysis of Google Maps' real-time traffic data showed the average journey time also increased after the cycle lane had been removed, going up from five minutes to eight minutes in the eastbound direction, and by 45 seconds the other way.

"Active travel is probably one of the only modes that can be removed based on local opinion without data or research; you wouldn’t build a new dual carriageway and close it a month later because it didn’t look like it was at full capacity," Tranter said.

Kensington and Chelsea council have said they decided to end the bike lane trial because both residents and business said it wasn't working, and that they are still attempting to improve provisions for cyclists in the area.

"This isn’t the end, we are still listening, and we are still looking at ways to improve cycling provision, long term – but our focus is likely to shift to alternative schemes that have a positive impact for our residents," they said.

Jonny Long

Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.


Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).


I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.