Daughter of Bow victim joins cyclists calling for scrapping of Richmond cycle-lane removal plan

Alex Dorling, whose father Brian was killed at Bow roundabout last year, has joined Richmond Cycling Campaign in accusing the council of disregarding cyclist safety and ignoring public opinion for proposing the removal of a mandatory cycle lane in Twickenham town centre. 

The plan, which is scheduled for implementation from 2013, would see extra motor traffic lanes added to London Road (pictured above) and King Street and an existing mandatory cycle lane and a bus lane removed.

At a meeting of the council’s Cycle Liaison Meeting on 4 October 2012, dozens of local people expressed their dissatisfaction with the proposed scheme.

Alastair Barr of Richmond Cycling Campaign said, “We're saddened Richmond Council has chosen to show so little regard for the safety of cyclists in the borough.

“Twickenham is a perfect location for the council to invest in some proper infrastructure for the benefit of cyclists and walkers, along the lines of our Love London Go Dutch campaign, which would help transform and regenerate the place.”

Condemning the plan for poor-quality facilities, Richmond borough resident Alex Dorling said, “These ambiguous lanes were the cause of the accident in Bow last year. Mix that with a careless driver and you end up with a fatality.”

In a council consultation on the Twickenham Area Action Plan (TAAP), 67% of respondents opposed the removal of the London Road cycle lane, and 70% said they wanted high-quality streets, reducing the impact of motor traffic. 

The council has instead proposed advisory cycle lanes, with two lanes of motor traffic in each direction.

The advisory bike lanes would fill with motor traffic during rush hour; Barr said, “This is the time when parents who cycle to school with their children or commuters who cycle to work are at the most risk and need the more protection, not less.”

On nearby King Street, where an elderly woman was hospitalised recently after being hit by a car, there are already two lanes of motor traffic, with narrow pavements. 

Councillor Katharine Harborne, the Richmond Council ‘cycling champion’, insists the plans are not a done deal and urges people to contact their councillors with ideas: “It is an exciting opportunity to make the whole of Twickenham better for cyclists.”

Richmond borough has one of the highest levels of cycling in Greater London, although this is usually attributed to its large parks and off-carriageway routes that facilitate traffic-free or low-traffic journeys.

A council cabinet meeting will take place on 18 October 2012, where local campaigners are again expected to speak out in an attempt to have the plans reconsidered.

Anyone who lives in the borough, or cycles there regularly, is urged to write to the chair of the Transportation Committee councillor Chris Harrison (Cllr.CHarrison@richmond.gov.uk) calling for better cycling facilities in the area.