Twickenham plan shows no regard for cyclists' lives, critics claim
Richmond Council has been accused of showing “little regard for the lives of cyclists in the borough”.
This follows the announcement the authority intended to remove statutory cycle lanes in Twickenham town centre, despite recent consultation results showing 67 per cent were against it.
Members of Richmond Cycling Campaign (RCC) said the proposals from the council to introduce an advisory cycle lane in place of the current mandatory cycle lane would just create another lane for traffic through the town centre.
The advisory cycle lanes will be open to traffic during peak periods of the day.
RCC communications co-ordinator Alastair Barr said: “This is the time when parents who cycle to school with their children or commuters who cycle to work are at the most risk and need more protection, not less.”
The Highway Code says advisory cycle lanes should be avoided where possible.
Mr Barr said this effectively rendered them legally unenforceable due to the interpretation of the word “avoidable”.
He said: “What is likely to occur is a greater incidence of pavement cycling on the wider pavements as cyclists are intimidated off the road and fewer people choosing to cycle in that part of the borough.
“Overall it is a real missed opportunity to turn Twickenham into somewhere more than where you drive through and pedestrians, local traders and cyclists will lose out for the sake of smoothing the flow of traffic.
“We’re saddened the council has chosen to show so little regard for the lives of cyclists in the borough.”
However, the council said the advisory cycle lanes would “increase cycle safety throughout the town centre and would also help to encourage cars and other vehicles to stay in the central lanes in off peak periods, therefore keeping their distance from pedestrians”.
A further issue with the Twickenham Area Action Plan (TAAP) results erupted following the overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Wednesday, September 19, when council members announced they still intended to push forward with plans to remove some bus stops in King Street.
This was despite Richmond Advice and Information on Disability warning that the proposals would make travel more difficult for those with mobility impairments.
The TAAP consultation said 38 per cent were in favour of moving the bus stops, with 39 per cent against. More than 650 residents signed a petition against moving the bus stops.
Councillor Martin Elengorn, Liberal Democrat planning spokesman said: “To add insult to injury, Councillor Scott Naylor told the meeting that bus passengers in Twickenham had been ‘spoiled’ for many years and stops were less conveniently located in many other towns."
The detailed decisions for the Twickenham plan, and adjustments, will be made at the next cabinet meeting on October 18.