RBKC, Kensington High Street, and Cycle Superhighway 9

This has been a terribly sad week for cycling in London, with five cyclists suffering the worst kind of violent death imaginable in the past nine days. Since it opened, four cyclists have now been killed on Cycle Superhighway 2 alone, including yet another fatality last night coming only a few weeks after coroner Mary Hassel described CS2 as “’an accident waiting to happen”.

On Thursday 14th November, deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said “distressing as all this is, I really hope it doesn’t discourage people from bicycling – it’s got to be made safer and we have got to have more of these bicycling superhighways which physically separate cyclists from roads.”

Nick Clegg is correct. The only way to encourage cycling, but to eliminate these horrendous deaths, is to physically separate cyclists from HGVs and fast moving traffic on busy main roads, especially at junctions, and to remove through traffic and improve permeability for cyclists on quiet back streets.

RBKC has made some progress on the latter, but in previous communication with the Council, Cllr Nicholas Paget-Brown and Cllr Timothy Coleridge have both made it abundantly clear that they have a fundamental objection to providing segregated cycle facilities, even on busy main roads, because this usually involves reallocating road space to cyclists which they see as “considering one form of transport above all others”.

We sincerely hope that the events of the past nine days will make the Council reconsider their heartless position.

Cycle Superhighway 9 is currently in the planning stage. We want the Council to work with TfL to ensure that this route, as it passes through RBKC, is well designed and keeps cyclists safe by allocating road space to physically separate people travelling on bikes from lethal HGVs. Nicholas Paget-Brown and Timothy Coleridge have the power now to prevent deaths like those of the past week happening in the future.

Instead the Council is currently choosing to obstinately refuse permission for TfL to build the segregated route which Andrew Gilligan and Boris Johnson want to create. We would very much like to see this to change.