Dear Felicity Buchan and Tony Devenish,
I am writing to you after seeing your joint statement regarding the cycle lane on High Street
Kensington. As a business located on this road I am sure you are very interested in its effect on us, especially after you have received the data from the Kensington Business Forum.
Prior to the cycle lane being implemented, I had a number of concerns about this road:
- Patients and staff were unable to cycle to our clinic as they felt unsafe on High Street
Kensington. Patients also found it difficult to walk from the nearest tube station or bus stop; this is because their mobility was often affected by their injury or surgery and they found it difficult to safely cross road junctions.
- With the business providing clinic and home visits for our patients, we often travel from the clinic to patients’ homes in or just outside the borough by bicycle. During these journeys we would receive daily near misses or abuse from drivers as we were ‘in their way’.
- My patients that you would consider disabled will not cycle in the borough as they feel unsafe, but many of them are cycling in other boroughs and areas that have segregated lanes or low traffic neighbourhoods.
Many High Street Kensington junctions are difficult to cross as motorists speed around the
corner or blindly turn, forgetting that the highway code states that pedestrians have priority once they have started crossing a side road. Many of these concerns have been addressed on High Street Kensington with the current cycle lane. There is still room for improvement but the current arrangements are nonetheless vastly superior in addressing my above concerns.
Whilst some people may reason for removing the lanes in order to improve traffic flow, I cannot see how this would help as these lanes previously were permanently used for people to park in (many people doing illegally) or bus stops causing traffic to stay in the lanes that they are currently using.
On a more personal point, since the cycle lane has been implemented I have been told by my patients that live in your borough that they do not worry as much about me bicycling to their homes. Previously they thought I was crazy cycling in London and if I was more than 5 minutes late, due to traffic or a delay with a previous patient, their first thought was that I had been knocked off my bike by a motorist. I think that is really sad that they do not feel their area is safe enough for active travel.
In my medical professional opinion, a lack of cycle infrastructure to make active travel more accessible and safe for all ages and abilities risks increasing diseases (both lifestyle and environmental) in our population. This will result in an increased demand on the NHS, which is already under huge amounts of stress.
I hope this letter has been informative and you will reconsider your opinions on the cycle lane.
Zoe Birch BSc (Hons) mCSP HCPC
Director of Physio Motion Limited