The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is calling on the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) to reinstate protected cycle lanes on Kensington High Street after independent research found a majority of local residents support them.
RBKC removed the cycle lanes last year, seven weeks after building them. The council is set to revisit the decision at a meeting in two weeks time, on 17th March.
The survey, by ICM Unlimited, asked a representative sample of 1,000 RBKC residents about their attitudes towards protected cycle lanes. 56% of respondents supported the cycle lanes, with just 30% against.
More than 3,000 people each day used the protected cycle lane on Kensington High Street while it was in place. Data from Santander Cycles shows a significant increase in hires at docking stations close to the route when it was in. Hires at the five closest docking stations were up by 14% in October, compared to a decrease of 0.5% across the wider network.
“The ripping out of the new cycle lanes last year was not just an unacceptable waste of money, but went against what everyone could see: that the safe space for cycling on Kensington High Street was working,” said Khan. “Cycling numbers were up, bus journey times down, yet the Council were swayed by a few loud voices committed to the status quo.
“I admire RBKC’s commitment to putting their residents first. What this poll shows is that their residents want to be able to cycle along Kensington High Street and other main roads across the borough. I urge the Council to make the right decision and work with TfL to reinstate the cycle lanes.”
Justin Abbott, chair of local volunteer group Better Streets for Kensington and Chelsea, said: “Some inaccurate claims were made when the safe cycle lanes were removed, and we would like to thank TfL for commissioning professional research.
“The results show that, despite having had only the briefest of glimpses of the benefits of enabling people to travel safely by bike, residents already support changes that will make our borough greener, safer, healthier and happier.
“The findings are in line with our own research which has shown an extraordinary level of support for safe cycling lanes on this vital route from thousands of individuals and over seventy organisations – including the two major NHS Trusts that serve our residents and over a dozen local schools.
“They are concerned not only for the benefits to us all that active travel brings, but also for the wellbeing of their key worker staff, many of whom may not happen to live in the borough but must travel on our roads to educate and care for us.”