RBKC’s Notting Hill Gate consultation report

RBKC Council have published their Notting Hill Gate consultation report. Despite many respondents calling for proper, safe, dedicated space for cycling at this atrocious and horrible junction, segregated cycle lanes have been completely refused by Cllr Coleridge and the rest of the Council. The document says that some nearside lanes will be widened ‘for cyclists’, but this could easily make things even worse for those on bikes by encouraging motorists and buses to overtake in the nearside lane rather than changing lanes in order to overtake vulnerable road users (the far safer option).

Sickeningly, given their refusal to make this key junction safe for cycling, the Council have also used images of the ghost bike for Eilidh Cairns, killed by an HGV driver while cycling through Notting Hill in 2009, as part of the consultation document.

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Image from the consultation document that seems to be showing off the terrible fact that Notting Hill Gate contains a ghost bike in memory of Eilidh Cairns

The only result of the Council’s decision not to segregate this junction will be more Londoners, like Eilidh, being killed while they cycle through it. We are deeply disappointed. Perhaps the Council are simply seeking to acquire more ghost bikes for publicity purposes.

Here are a few submissions by residents that the Council chose to ignore, as well as our advice as the RBKC branch of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC):

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Many thanks to @nuttyxander for highlighting this report and the submissions.

This is a link to the London Tonight report on the installation of the ghost bike in memory of Eilidh Cairns in 2009. Amazing how little has changed since then.

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.

20 MPH for the Royal Borough

We strongly feel that  RBKC Council should introduce a 20 MPH borough-wide limit excluding certain main roads.

There is huge amounts of evidence, including from the British Medical Journal and Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, that 20 MPH limits and zones can significantly reduce the amount of people who are killed or maimed in road traffic accidents on our streets.

It is, therefore, equally clear that a 20 MPH limit for the borough would do a huge amount to making residents feel safer cycling and consequently increase cycling rates in the borough.

Camden, Islington, Hackney, Southwark and the City of London all have a borough-wide 20 MPH limit or a significant majority of roads at 20 MPH. It is no surprise that these boroughs also ‘coincidentally’ have higher rates of cycling than the 30 MPH Royal Borough.

Even our neighbours in Hammersmith and Fulham have significant areas of 20 MPH on dense residential streets and around schools.

Far from instituting a borough-wide limit, our current council led by Nicholas Paget-Brown (with Timothy Coleridge responsible for Transport) will not even consult residents on their right to have 20 MPH limits outside schools and along routes where kids can cycle or walk to school. We feel this is abominable and would like to see the Council change its position or the councillors changed at the 2014 elections.

60% of households in the Royal Borough are now car-free. In maintaining a 30 MPH default limit against the advice of the Mayor’s Roads Task Force, the current RBKC Council is privileging the convenience of the minority of residents who choose to drive at 30 MPH on residential streets where it is dangerous to do so, over the safety and lives of the majority of residents who choose to walk or cycle as part of their daily journeys. That isn’t a democracy. And, far more tragically, it continually results in a needless loss of life and suppression of cycling levels.

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Welcome to the Kensington and Chelsea London Cycling Campaign Blog

We are simply people who live, work, or commute through the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea who want better cycling in the borough and in London as a whole.

You can find us on twitter @RBKC_cycling and join our mailing list here

Getting up to pace

In an unusual start to a blog, I’m going to start with an apology. I’m sorry that this hasn’t happened sooner. Cycling in London is becoming more and more important and popular. As the Kensington and Chelsea arm of London Campaign for Cycling, we’ve gone through periods of booming activity and times where we’ve been a bit silent. Hopefully you’ve caught us at a time when we’re ramping up for an exciting and active future! So keep on checking up on us here, and on twitter.