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Cyclists slam report by “notorious anti-cycling group” claiming proposed bike lane on “one of the most dangerous junctions” will lead to more collisions and 800% increase in congestion

The scheme’s opponents also questioned Transport for London’s findings that 14 cyclists and pedestrians were injured at the roundabout in the past three years – but cyclists have dismissed the opposition as “faux outrage”

Plans to transform a London roundabout described as “one of the most dangerous junctions on the road network”, and the scene of 56 collisions in the space of three years, injuring 14 cyclists and pedestrians, has again come under fire from opponents, as a report commissioned by a local traders association has claimed that installing a cycle lane at the junction will increase rush-hour congestion by 800 per cent and make collisions more likely.

The Holland Park Avenue Traders Association-commissioned report also found that Transport for London’s (TfL) proposals to increase cyclist and pedestrian safety at Holland Park roundabout in west London will displace traffic onto residential streets and hinder local businesses, while separate analysis carried out by groups opposed to the scheme also called into question TfL’s collision figures.

However, the report has been roundly criticised by cyclists on social media, who dismissed its findings and the ongoing campaign against the active travel scheme as “absurd faux outrage” concocted by a “notorious anti-cycling group”.

Earlier this year, TfL proposed a series of changes to the Holland Park roundabout, a junction where six people have been seriously injured in collisions in the three years to last May, with 59 people, including 14 cyclists and pedestrians, injured in total during the same period.

The junction is one of the 73 most dangerous in the capital that TfL is hoping to upgrade, with London’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman describing it as “one of the most dangerous junctions on the TfL road network”.

TfL’s plans, therefore, which would connect to earlier Cycleway 34 works, involve installing new protected two-way cycleways, a new 45-metre section of bus lane, and new signal-controlled cycle crossings, with the government body’s modelling predicting that the scheme would not have a “significant” impact on motorists or bus journey times.

However, the scheme has come in for fierce criticism from the Conservative MP for Kensington, Felicity Buchan, who described the plans in February as “ill-thought through” and potentially leading to “increased traffic congestion, increased pollution, and rat-running”.

And now Buchan’s claims have apparently been supported by a report, commissioned by the Holland Park Avenue Traders Association and carried out by Newport-based agency Magna Transport Planning, which claimed that a newly installed cycle lane at the roundabout will lead to significant traffic delays.

According to the report, the cycle lane will result in “increased traffic displacement to local residential streets”, “increased risk of accidents due to ‘stop/start’ nature of queues”, “significant bus delays”, and “less pass-by trade for the shops along Holland Park Avenue”.

The report also claimed that on Holland Park Avenue, the number of vehicles queuing in traffic would increase by 795 per cent between 8am and 9am on weekdays (from 19 to 170 vehicles), and by 159 per cent between 6 and 7pm, while congestion on Holland Road would rise by 225 per cent and 296 per cent during the morning and afternoon rush hours, respectively.  

“It is acknowledged that the proposals at Holland Road Roundabout would improve the accessibility to pedestrians and cyclists to an extent,” the report concluded. “However, the significant increase in vehicular congestion as a result of these proposals would outweigh the accessibility benefits.

“It is also acknowledged that the improvements to pedestrian and cycle accessibility across Holland Park Roundabout may result in some positive modal shift from car to cycle. However, this could be counter balanced by negative impacts such as increase in congestion, reduction in bus patronage, and adverse impacts on the residential amenity and local business.”

Holland Park Avenue (wikimedia commons)

> MP opposes plan to improve cyclist safety at "one of the most dangerous junctions" — because "main beneficiaries" will be non-local cyclists "looking to cycle in a straight line"

“This report confirms my concerns that these proposals will lead to more congestion, significant bus delays and damage to local businesses,” Buchan said following the report’s publication. “Over 3,000 residents have signed my petition and the evidence is overwhelming – TfL must scrap this scheme.”

Meanwhile, separate analysis of TfL’s accident data carried out by opponents of the scheme – and mistakenly credited to Magna Transport’s report by the Telegraph – also claimed that the government body’s reference to 54 people being injured on the roundabout over three years is “highly misleading”.

Instead, they argued that only one collision involving a cyclist, described as “slight”, and none involving a pedestrian, took place on the roundabout during that time period.

A spokesperson for the Holland Park Avenue Traders Association described the scheme as “an example of TfL’s poorly researched and poorly designed schemes that are not fit for purpose”, which “will close the local independent shops that local residents have tried so hard to protect these past decades”.

The Holland Park Residents’ Association (HPRA) – which in 2019 called for cycling infrastructure projects to be halted until cyclists are licensed – also said Magna’s research found that TfL’s plans “would cause an alarming increase in delays and a consequential extremely worrying increase in traffic”.

Holland Park guerrilla cycle lane (Extinction Rebellion)

> No safe cycle routes until riders are licensed, insists Holland Park Residents' Association

However, the apparent close involvement of groups noted in the past for their vehement anti-cycling stance (the HPRA has also previously called for cyclists to be routed onto back roads, while claiming that they do “not adhere to the rules of the road”) has prompted many cyclists to question the veracity of the report’s findings.

“Oh no, a notorious anti cycling group is against cycle provision, who’d have guessed,” Cykel Tony wrote on X, formerly Twitter, today.

“I genuinely think that if you gave traffic designers a brief to create a cycle lane that was actively designed to increase congestion by 800 per cent, it would be more or less impossible to do,” the Guardian’s deputy political editor Peter Walker said. “The idea it would happen by accident is ludicrous.”

“This Holland Park roundabout lobby is absurd. It’s the same constructed faux outrage for the Park Lane cycle lane,” Daniel Reast added, while another commenter asked why Buchan was “petitioning against the safety of cyclists”.

“We already have huge jams,” wrote local resident Justin. “Get people out of their fat cars, onto bicycles and public transport. It’s cars which are the problem, not the humble bicycle.”

In response to Buchan’s claim that the scheme will lead to “huge traffic jams” and “more pollution”, another social media user said: “Nonsense. Congestion is caused by too many people driving, and nothing else. Pollution is caused by motor vehicles, and nothing else.”

> Extinction Rebellion chalk out guerrilla cycle lanes on Holland Park Avenue

“This scheme will make it safer for people walking and cycling and will help improve journey times for bus users without any significant impacts on general traffic, building a better, safer city for all Londoners,” London’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman said in February.

And addressing Buchan's congestion concerns, TfL has said its modelling had suggested there would be no “significant impacts” on motorists or buses, with journey times in fact expected to be cut during peak morning and evening times “due to traffic reassignment away from Shepherd’s Bush Green, West Cross Route, and Holland Park Roundabout”.

TfL is expected to publish its post-consultation report on the Holland Park roundabout scheme in mid-May.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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7 comments

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OldRidgeback | 1 month ago
3 likes

I used to go that way to work. It's nasty and congested. I doubt any changes will make the congestion worse.

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henryb | 1 month ago
4 likes

Sounds like they're planning on the kind of bike lane where you have to wait at a traffic light to cross every entry/exit to the roundabout and it takes many times longer to get round.

Also you can be sure that if a bike lane is introduced, if there is any traffic congestion following this, that it'll be blamed on the bike lane - irrespective of how much congestion is there now.

Avatar
yellowjack replied to henryb | 1 month ago
4 likes

Same sketch everywhere, or so it seems. Take Whitelegg Way in Bournemouth. Wide cycle lanes put in both sides of a (formerly very wide) two lane road, at the expense of taking a few feet of space from the carriageway and a few extra feet from the grass verges. Net result is still a two lane road, albeit with the speed limit reduced from 40 mph to 30 mph. Congestion still gets blamed on the bike lane, though. Usually by myopic imbeciles who claim to lose time "being stuck IN traffic," while refusing to accept that they ARE "the traffic".
Similarly the constant objections to "yet more £millions spent on bike lanes." 'The Drivers' seemingly want cyclists moved off the "roads" because we constantly hold up traffic, yet simultaneously object to any spending of "their road tax" on infrastructure designed to achieve bicycle-free carriageways. You couldn't make this guff up...

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Oldfatgit | 1 month ago
6 likes

Strange how report results tend to match the expectations of those that paid for them.

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Geoff Ingram | 1 month ago
1 like

How exactly do they measure congestion? Is it average speed, density of cars, or some other value?

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eburtthebike | 1 month ago
13 likes

Gosh, the tories really are pushing this "party of the driver" thing aren't they? 

It's almost as if they haven't got anything else to campaign on, which given their success with the economy, cost of living, mortgages and rents, the NHS, congestion, water pollution, potholes etc, etc, is almost certainly true.

Avatar
BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP replied to eburtthebike | 1 month ago
6 likes

They still have all those brexit benefits they can brag about.  

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