A cyclist has been left injured after a traffic collision on a busy street where a council recently removed a £700,000 cycle lane.
Kensington and Chelsea council has been under fire for pulling down a brand new segregated cycle lane on Kensington High Street, just seven weeks after it was opened.
The local authority received a relatively small number of complaints from residents about the lane, which resulted in the council removing the lane in December to make more space for motor traffic.
Campaign group Better Streets for Kensington and Chelsea has now revealed that a cyclist was involved in a crash with a car on the morning of Thursday, January 21, which left him concussed.
The rider, who also suffered cuts and bruises in the fall, is recovering but doesn’t seem to have suffered any lasting injuries.
A spokesperson for Better Streets told Cycling Weekly: “I’ve spoken to the person concerned, who is in one piece.
“It took place at the west end of High Street Ken.
“It was a sort of typical London busy road incident, where he was cut up, had to take evasive action, and then collided with a vehicle, and was concussed as a result.”
Kensington and Chelsea council announced that they would be removing the £700,000 cycle lane after receiving just over 300 complaints, but the decision has faced a lot of opposition, including from the likes of Giro d’Italia winner Tao Geoghegan Hart and BBC Radio two presenter Jeremy Vine among others.
The number of cyclists using the stretch of road in Kensington High Street, which leads into central London, had doubled to around 4,000 people each day according to some reports, raising questions about why the council has made the decision.
A spokesperson for the authority said that it has received 322 email complaints from residents about the cycle lane – the population of the borough is around 160,000.
The decision is now at the centre of a legal challenge, as volunteer group Better Streets has instructed the Environmental Law Foundation to act on its behalf in challenging the lawfulness of the decision.
Lawyers sent a pre-action letter to the council, setting out seven grounds of unlawfulness about the decision.
The council responded by saying it would “re-visit” the removal of the lane, but says it will need two months to reconsider.
Better Street has now questioned why the decision to remove the lane was made so quickly, but revisiting the decision will take months.
Justin Abbott from Better Streets said: “They fail to make the obvious and requested step of undoing that decision and reinstating the lane immediately, and say they need over two months to reconsider – two months during which this dangerous route will have no safe alternative, at a time the government is telling us to avoid public transport and cycle if possible.
“Meanwhile, they claim to have decided to remove it under a special urgency procedure rushed in two hours before a council meeting. How on earth could it be more urgent to take out safety infrastructure than to put it back in?”
The council said the scheme was opposed by Kensington Business Forum, the Kensington and Chelsea Chamber of Trade and Commerce and disability group Action Disability K&C, which it says was concerned about the impact on its members.
The leader of Kensington and Chelsea council, Councillor Johnny Thalassites, previously said: “We decided to end the cycle lane trial because it wasn’t working. Residents have told us so, businesses have told us so.
“On top of that, this period is vital for businesses and they have made it clear to us that this is not the time to be experimenting, when, frankly, our high streets are facing their toughest test in decades."
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