London cycle lane vote passes despite Conservatives saying 3.5 per cent climb 'is too steep for elderly and kids'

The road in question is described as Camden's steepest A-road

Havestock Hill
(Image credit: Google Maps)

Camden council in London has recently passed a vote allowing a cycle lane to be put in despite claims by Conservatives the road was "too steep for elderly and kids".

Havestock Hill has an average gradient of 3.5 per cent, with short parts nudging five per cent, and is described as Camden's steepest A-road. Conservative councillor Oliver Cooper has claimed the elderly and children will not use the cycle lanes due to the gradients.

>>> Lower back pain: causes and prevention for cyclists

Reported in the Camden Journal, Cooper was quoted as saying: "Haverstock Hill is one of the most daunting climbs in London, and that won’t change with cycle lanes. Camden has said that they are basing their decision on a TfL report that does not consider the steep incline at all.

"Children will not cycle up it, new cyclists will not cycle up it, and elderly people will not cycle up it. Yet Camden’s model has expressly assumed that everyone – whatever their age and whatever their disability – could cycle up and down that hill. This is detached from reality, and it’s why the vast majority of residents opposed the proposal in Camden’s own consultation."

The new cycle has, however, been met with a largely positive response with London's Cycling and Walking Commissioner describing Cooper's claims as "nonsense" adding that a cycle lane is even more important on a climb as speeds of cars and bikes are far greater. 

See more

The Conservative councillors, led by Cooper, have used a 'call-in' that forwards to plans to Camden's culture and environment committee who can approve, ask for more work to be done, or call a debate for it to be reconsidered.

The lane is set to be just over a kilometre on Havestock Hill from the junction with Prince of Wales Road, north of Chalk Farm tube station all the way up to Pond Street and the Royal Free Hospital with Belsize Park included on the route.

More responses on Twitter have some saying the climb is "not a hill" with another adding: "As the local legend on Strava for this hill, I can confidently say it's not steep at all. It's an alpine climb with an average gradient of less than 5 per cent! E-bikes on cycle paths will make this much more of a game-changer for the non-lycra cyclist."

Another user spoke of how another climb that doesn't have a cycle lane is dangerous for cyclists due to the lack of a lane: "Shooters Hill is steep and there isn’t a cycle lane. There very well should be one as more cars pass when you are on a bike as you crawl up there slowly."

A decision from the committee is expected on the evening of Friday, August 27.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1