Urban cycle lanes are a good thing. Pollution is out of control and, certainly in London, is considered above the legal limit for its inhabitants. So why - when politicians, budget planning and popular support is on the cusp of working in unison to do something truly beneficial - why and how can TFL and the lot of urban planners mess it up?

In October, the Cycle Superhighway was established along Chiswick High Road (W4) in a poorly considered and dangerous fashion: a two-way cycle lane, which sits alongside two way motor-vehicle traffic which already absorbs a bus lane.  Residents across the W4 neighbourhood are keenly aware of the risks this poses to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike. 

Two-way cycle lanes are already inherently more risky than single lane cycle routes, as there is a heightened risk of cyclists forgetting oncoming cyclists, and the risks associated with motorists who need to turn across these more multi-directional cycle lanes.  TFL is aware of this, as per their published consultancy reports on the subject, where their conclusions suggest that two-way cycle lanes should be used in only select instances, including 1/ along streets with active uses only on one side such as waterside locations or 2/ on streets where there are few side streets on one side.

TFL established the dual-carriage cycle lane on the wrong side of Chiswick High Road.  Rather than laying the route across the northern side of the road, where there are only 2 side streets extending off the main road, instead they have placed the cycle path along the southern side, where 6 densely residential side roads feed forcibly onto as the A4 prevents motorists from accessing their homes any other way.  Residents along Airedale Ave have raised the issue on their neighbourhood email group, flagging the new intersections as a potentially fatal risk about which all residents should be vigilant.

According to a study by hounslowcycling.org in September 2019, more than two-thirds of all collisions in the W4 area involve motorists from outside of the W4 catchment area.  Two-thirds of all accidents involving a car and a bicycle involve motorists who are not familiar with the risk areas in the neighbourhood. Surely this suggests that these cross-sections are inherently dangerous.

Cycle lanes are what London urgently needs.  Can’t we just build them safely?