How not to make an East London cycle path

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.”

From a bus: the odd Dalston Lane traffic lights

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.

Hamish Scott

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2 thoughts on “How not to make an East London cycle path

  1. This cycle lane is an absolute JOKE.

    I was cycling on it outside Noodle King in Bethnal Green Road and almost got car-doored by a passenger getting out of his vehicle.

    I started off eastbound after this, when three crackhead drunks bowled around a corner and got in the way. One threw his Special Brew at me when I told him to get out of the bike lane.

    Tower Hamlets, please remove this joke piece of town planning before someone gets seriously hurt.

  2. I am a cyclist in East London, travelling daily between Roman Road and Shoreditch along Bethnal Green Road. I would not dare to use this new cycle path, even slowly, for fear of people opening doors from parked cars.

    This new route draws cyclists, pedestrians and motorists into the same space, which is extremely dangerous. It is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured.

    There needs to be proper consultation and planning for cyclists.

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