‘Roads are for all users’: Tao Geoghegan Hart and others criticise council for removing £700,000 cycle lane due to a small number of complaints

The local authority is removing the segregated cycle lane, used by 4,000 people a day, after just seven weeks

A London council has been criticised by Tao Geoghegan Hart and others for removing a £700,000 cycling lane after receiving a relatively small number of complaints from residents. 

Kensington and Chelsea council has announced it will be removing a segregated cycle lane on Kensington High Street just seven weeks after it was opened. 

The number of cyclists using the stretch of road, which leads into central London, has doubled to around 4,000 people each day according to some reports, raising questions about why the council has made the decision.

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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. 

In a letter informing residents of the decision, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea said: “It is clear that large majorities of local businesses and residents do not think the experiment has worked. 

“We want to listen to local businesses and local people. That is why we have acted to get the high street moving again.”

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. 

Work to remove the lane is due to start on December 2, but the council’s decision has come under fire from a number of high profile names and campaigners.

A protest has also been organised by the London Cycling Campaign, alongside parents, staff and children of Fox Primary School in Kensington.

Giro d’Italia winner Tao Geoghegan Hart, who grew up and lives in London, said: “Good luck to the families protesting this decision tomorrow on Kensington High Street.

“Cycling has been taken up by so many new people this year, let’s please avoid regressive road infrastructure action.

“London roads are for all users to share and enjoy safely.” 

Broadcaster and cyclist Jeremy Vine said: “The £700,000 cycle lane along Kensington High Street is being ripped out this week after less than two months. 

“I used it tonight and met a mum and daughter who didn’t know it was being removed.

“I hope the council might watch this and think again.” 

>>> Video shows terrifying moment driver causes group of cyclists to crash by passing too close  

The Evening Standard newspaper has revealed (opens in new tab) the council may also have to pay back £300,000 in funding to Transport for London, after deciding to remove the cycle lane.

Kensington council’s lead member for transport Councillor Johnny Thalassites, said: “The cycle lane was a trial scheme to help those hopping on bikes during lockdowns and encourage shoppers to the High Street. Businesses and residents have told us loud and clear that they believe the experiment has not worked. We are listening.

“By removing the temporary lanes as lockdown lifts, we hope to help get the High Street moving again and give our local economy the best possible chance of a good December.”

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.