Council chiefs slammed over ‘dangerous’ new Bethnal Green cycle route

Cyclist Drew Daughtrey tries to navigate around a parking meter along the route of the new cycle pat

Cyclist Drew Daughtrey tries to navigate around a parking meter along the route of the new cycle path - Credit: Archant

Bungling council chiefs have been accused of an “expensive mistake” after unveiling a cycle lane littered with obstacles, ranging from parking meters to lamp posts.

Cyclists blasted Tower Hamlets Council after it opened a new £8,000 stretch of lane along part of busy Bethnal Green Road, Bethnal Green, with campaign groups claiming it actually made the route less safe than it was before.

The lane, between St Matthew’s Row and Shacklewell Street, is just yards from the site of a fatal collision between actor Sofoklis Kostoulas and a lorry as the 31-year-old cycled to work in October last year.

Owen Pearson, secretary of cycling group Tower Hamlets Wheelers, said: “Everybody can see that this scheme is an expensive mistake.

“When we saw the proposals, we advised the council to think again. Unfortunately they didn’t, and now this stretch of Bethnal Green Road is less pleasant and safe to cycle on than it was before.”

The group responded to a consultation on the route carried out earlier this year. It criticised the obstacles, as well as the “dangerous” exit points from the path back onto the road.

Cycling bloggers have described the route as “woefully inadequate”, and echoed the criticism that it actually makes the road more dangerous for riders.

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The path, which runs through Weavers ward, was also criticised by local councillor John Pierce.

“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,” he said. “This project has ended up a dangerous waste of money.”

And the council has now admitted it may consider returning the route to pavement. It said the path was part of an ongoing project which will continue for the next two years.

“So far, the route seems to be more popular with less confident cyclists and we will continue to review how it is working so we can incorporate people’s feedback into future plans,” a spokesman added.

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