Welcome to the ‘ghost cycle lane’ – used by just six bikes in six hours 

It was touted as the road to cleaner and greener neighbourhoods, enabled by a grant from an emergency fund that the Government established amid the first national lockdown in May.

But on Friday morning just one cyclist graced Honeypot Lane in Harrow – one of the roads ripped up by an underused cycle lane – in the space of an hour.

Only six others used the cycle lane across a period of six hours, with bicycles outnumbered by motorbikes and trucks.

This was a stark contrast to the 2,400 cars, 515 vans and 206 other vehicles, which packed into the adjacent lane.

The Honeypot Lane installation stretches up a long residential road and has been criticised by residents while at the same time struggling to find favour with pedallers.

Concerns also extend to emergency service access. Drivers moved out of the way of an oncoming ambulance at 11.20am, only for the ambulance itself to slow down and switch lanes to avoid contact with the cones that mark out the cycle lane.

Harrow_Honeypot Lane_cycle route

More than 1,600 residents have signed a petition for the Honeypot Lane addition “to be removed or altered in some way” amid claims that it has caused “immense chaos” following a reduction in the speed limit to 30 miles per hour.

Harrow Weald councillor Stephen Greek said that cyclists are “voting with their wheels” in electing not to use the cycle lanes, which has led to a situation “without really much benefit”.

“Honeypot Lane, Uxbridge Road and various other lanes are very badly designed,” he said. “It’s much better to have proper cycling schemes on properly defined routes – and this is not what we’ve got.

“The lanes clearly don’t work, they should get rid of them now, and come back with better, more suitable cycling provision.”

Cllr Greek’s concerns were echoed by Councillor Paul Osborn, whose Harrow Conservatives group has tabled a motion calling for the removal of all ‘Streetspace’ schemes in the borough.

“It’s increased traffic in all of these sites and caused problems for the cars that are going past, and there’s next to no cyclists using it,” Cllr Osborn said.

“I think it’s a waste. Encouraging people to cycle is a good thing, I don’t have a problem with that. But it needs to be done sensibly with schemes that make sense and have the consent of the residents.”

There is also anger locally about the seven low-traffic neighbourhood schemes rolled out in the borough.

A separate petition on that subject has attracted more than 4,200 signatures, forming a wider backlash to the environmentally focused schemes advocated by Grant Shapps, the transport secretary.

Harrow Council, which was contacted for comment, will host a debate of the motion calling for the removal of the borough’s schemes next week. 

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