NIGEL HAVERS: Disastrous, poorly-designed and EMPTY cycle lanes have resulted in gridlock every day

As my spouse and I strolled down our community high road with our pet Charlie early one early morning past week, the November air was clogged with fumes. The odor of air pollution wafted from hundreds of vehicles, vans, lorries and buses which were trapped nose-to-tail in a horrendous site visitors jam.

It by no means applied to be like this. We employed to relish our brisk morning walks down Kensington Large Road exactly where we have lived on and off for the previous 40 a long time. It was a single of life’s uncomplicated pleasures.

But that all improved pretty much right away after my regional council – with no any discover – put in these dreaded new cycle lanes which have prompted havoc across the nation. Minimal black and white bollards – euphemistically known as wands by those wizards in town halls – have out of the blue appeared all the way up the road, cutting off a lane of targeted visitors in equally instructions.

A lot of of the routes, most marked simply just by bollards and cones, choose up current site visitors lanes, narrowing hectic trunk roadways and resulting in critical congestion in towns (stock impression employed)

It suggests that, as a substitute of two lanes heading up earlier Hyde Park in direction of Central London, there is just a person for all that hurry-hour site visitors to squeeze into. Incorporate to the mix 15 bus stops and 8 sets of site visitors lights in a stretch of highway under half a mile extended, and what you have is complete bedlam.

Every single early morning and evening, there is complete gridlock – even in the earlier two months when extra of us have been functioning from house.

God forbid if an ambulance, law enforcement auto or fire motor urgently needs to get by – the cycle lane bollards indicate drivers are not able to get out of the way.

The only gaps are for bus stops, the place the significant crimson double deckers swing in and out of the cycle lane, even more slowing down disappointed motorists guiding and likely endangering cyclists flying up the in the vicinity of still left aspect like they are in the Tour de France peloton.

Nigel Havers said his local council has installed these dreaded new cycle lanes which have caused havoc in the Kensington area

Nigel Havers mentioned his nearby council has installed these dreaded new cycle lanes which have caused havoc in the Kensington space

But what is most infuriating about this disastrous, improperly created plan is that rarely any cyclists use it. Squinting up and down the street, you are challenging-pressed to spot a lot more than a person or two at any time. Nonetheless all this place has been presented in excess of to them. It feels as if we are dwelling in a time of minority rule. Individuals who have screeched the loudest and pushed their cycling agenda into the coronary heart of local government have won the working day. So, we all must spend the price for their ‘vision’. To hell with the legions of frustrated bus travellers, delivery motorists and even the unexpected emergency solutions. They will have to get in line – a extensive, extensive line.

Speak to several cycling campaigners and they argue that ‘if you establish it they will come’. Perfectly, they have crafted it and they have not occur. Undoubtedly not in quantities that warrant splurging £250 million on cycle lanes for the duration of the middle of a pandemic. Official figures show the amount of individuals cycling has dropped by 25 per cent given that the initial lockdown in March.

I just do not get it. I dread the minute lockdown is lifted – hopefully – on December 2 since it will necessarily mean even a lot more visitors clogging up the significant road. This will mix with an boost in supply vans since so many a lot more folks will be performing their Christmas shopping on-line this year. I also get worried about the effects all these delays are obtaining on elderly and vulnerable people waiting around at dwelling for meals and drugs to be shipped.

Maybe I would not be so cross about these cycle lanes if it was not for the point that so many of the cyclists I face do not obey the laws of the street. I ride a Vespa and I see so lots of of them leap pink lights, mount pavements and go the incorrect way down a single-way roadways. But not as soon as have I observed any of them stopped by police. One particular will get a sturdy perception that lots of think they are a lot more unique than everyone else.

What stings most is that this mad scheme is becoming rolled out throughout our cities and metropolitan areas with no proper session. It feels as if – when we have been doing our most effective to keep alive, retain our spirits up and glance following each and every other through the worst disaster for a technology – the biking zealots have staged a monstrous electric power seize that has rearranged the place. It is pretty absurd. What is the rush? Why now? Sure, we can ‘build again better’ as Boris Johnson has explained, but why not choose our time to get issues appropriate to start with time?

Already, dozens of councils have ripped up their new cycle lanes immediately after howls of protests from people. I can only hope mine finds a spine and does the exact. I am not anti-biking. I consider cycling is great but why are we ruining our streets like this with no good session?

This is costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands. For now, they are contacting it an experiment. We are certain this is a temporary madness and that it will all be reviewed in six months.

Drivers across Britain are facing traffic chaos as councils block off miles of roads to hastily install cycle lanes – which are hardly being used (stock image used)

Drivers across Britain are experiencing targeted visitors chaos as councils block off miles of roadways to hastily put in cycle lanes – which are barely getting made use of (stock graphic made use of)

But, with the variety of cycle lanes multiplying each week, I’m not convinced. The Prime Minister’s ‘green industrial revolution’ approach introduced last week built it obvious. It said: ‘We will develop 1st hundreds, then 1000’s, of miles of segregated cycle lanes and make extra very low-targeted visitors neighbourhoods to prevent rat-operating and allow individuals to wander and cycle.’ The numerous cycling lobby teams will certainly not give up now without having a battle. They level to us all performing our little bit to battle local climate adjust and to the wellbeing benefits of encouraging us to walk and cycle to function.

But this utopia appears to overlook about the vast amount of people who require to drive for a dwelling.

Do they imagine every person is going to abandon automobiles and vans? What about the builders, couriers, parcel supply firms, the lorries that convey groceries to our supermarkets?

As a extended-time clean up air campaigner, I feel all this congestion will be bad information for our atmosphere. Every minute, a motor vehicle idling its engine pumps out sufficient harmful air to fill 150 balloons.

So until we all appear to our senses and finish this cycle lane madness, I urge my fellow motorists to change their engines off when they are stuck in website traffic.

You could be some time.

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