Kensington and Chelsea Council blocks cycling safety on one of London’s most dangerous roads


Local Greens are deeply disappointed by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council decision not to immediately reinstate a cycle lane that it removed in December 2020. The temporary cycle lane on Kensington High Street had been installed in autumn 2020, providing long needed safety improvements for cyclists on one of London’s deadliest roads.

Council transport lead Johnny Thalassites took the decision to remove the lane in December, causing an outcry from the community, including several local schools and large-scale employers and businesses along the route. Faced with the threat of legal action over the removal, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea | council decided to revisit the decision.

Today the meeting of the council, which is governed by a Conservative majority, confirmed the previous decision to remove the lane, choosing to delay despite key evidence for support among the community, commuters and businesses.

“RBK&C leaders evidently decided some time ago that cycle lanes have no place in the borough, regardless of their safety benefits and despite the express wishes of the majority of local residents and businesses, for more cycle lanes” says Zack Polanski, the Green Party Assembly candidate for West Central London.

Council leader Elizabeth Campbell argued that cycle lanes cannot be introduced ‘willy nilly’, but the support for the measure is well documented. A survey, commissioned by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, had found that a majority of RBK&C residents support the cycle lane. Support is highest in less privileged areas of the borough, where car ownership is lowest.

Kensington Greens asked for such a survey to be conducted in December 2020.

“We understand how frustrated people are with the council leadership and how much they crave for political change in the borough,” says local Green party activist Fabian Frenzel

A council commissioned report has confirmed that the cycle lane increased cycling, particularly on weekends, and did not cause prolonged journey times for motorised traffic during its short existence.

“We need a council that makes decisions based on evidence, not prejudice” says Frenzel “The KHS cycle lane is needed to provide safety on a busy road. It is only right for TFL to take control of the KHS from RBKC to implement this long needed measure.”