A DEDICATED cycle lane would logically be hailed by motorists, pedestrians and cyclists as a safety advance. But Tower Hamlets council has managed to upset everybody, especially its taxpayers, by building a segregated lane in the busy street at E2 6AQ that has made two-wheeled travel more dangerous. All this after consultation with local cyclists, and at a cost reported to be £8,000.
Architects and builders approached by Loving Dalston have, however, expressed doubts about the stated cost, saying an amount in five figures seemed likely.
The problem, as Loving Dalston’s picture, above, shows, is that a parking meter and a lamppost loom out of the path tarmac, necessitating cyclist users to make a sudden turn, potentially endangering nearby pedestrians if not the rider.
Owen Pearson, of the Tower Hamlets Wheelers, said: “When we saw the proposals, we advised the council to think again. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and now this stretch of Bethnal Green Road is less pleasant and safe to cycle on than it was before.”
The space taken by the lane, near St Matthew’s Row, has made Bethnal Green Road narrower, which was also criticised by Labour councillor John Pierce. The member for Weavers ward said: “Now not only are cyclists at risk on the narrower roads of Bethnal Green but also they also face a dangerous obstacle course on cycle paths which bizarrely end up directing them into traffic.”
The council might now take up the cycleway and return it to pavement. The route nevertheless “seems to be more popular with less-confident cyclists”. Future plans would take account of user response.
The lane on the southern side works better — at least, for bikes with narrow handlebars.
A similarly nonsensical situation for cyclists in Hackney is the TfL traffic lights in Dalston Lane near Queensbridge Road.
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