Young Cyclist 'Almost Killed' Makes Plea For New Cycle Routes

George Abaronye tells local council that segregated paths would make roads safer

cyclist and his parents after accident Mum Peri Abaraonye, son George Abaraonye, and dad Casey. Picture: Owen Sheppard


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A young man who was 'almost killed' after being knocked off his bike on has called for new cycle routes to be built.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council recently approved another stage of planning towards two cycling infrastructure projects that will total £20 million, but which some residents are against.

The first will be a Cycle Highway for 'directing fast cycling traffic' along the A4, from British Grove in Chiswick to Warwick Road near Earl’s Court.

The second is a 'fully segregated Safer Cycle Pathway' and street-level improvements along King Street and Hammersmith Road, which the council argues will 'make our streets healthier, safer and more welcoming'.

Detailed plans have yet to be published. But the projects were discussed on 2 December at a council cabinet meeting, where 14-year-old George Abaronye told councillors of the incident that 'almost killed' him.

'Do you accept that I have the right to travel freely on a public road and that you have a duty of care to protect me and other young people?' George asked.

'And do you accept that I will be safer cycling in a segregated cycle lane?'

He later spoke to the Local Democracy Reporting Service about what happened in the collision he was involved in on 1 June.

'I was cycling home down Putney Hill at about 6.30pm.' said George, who lives in King’s Street.

'I was in a bus lane, and there was a car, I think a Toyota, in my blind side.

'There was a little side street on my left that the car wanted to turn into.

'It hit me and knocked me off my bike.

'I don’t really know what happened. The next thing I was in an ambulance being taken to hospital.'

George, whose father Casey is a coordinator of Hammersmith Cyclists, added: 'It’s my opinion that segregated cycle lanes will mean I won’t have to always look over my shoulder and worry about whether a driver has lost concentration.'

The driver stopped at the scene of the collision. But George was left with stitches above his eye and a mark on his shoulder.

On December 2, the council meeting also heard from local residents who were against the two routes.

Business consultant David Tarsh said the council’s proposal for King Street and Hammersmith Road are too similar to the segregated cycle lane 'CS9' which TfL proposed in 2017, and which the council stood against.

Mr Tarsh told councillors: 'You said in your 2018 manifesto that you would lobby against the CS9 proposals.

'I have to say, the TfL proposal is a segregated cycle track. And what you’ve said you wanted is a segregated cycle track.'

Mr Tarsh also feared the cycle lane would 'create gridlock' and increase congestion and air pollution. 'Truly I don’t think it should go forward,' he said.

Leader of the council, Stephen Cowan, replied: 'We’re not against segregated cycle paths. Our manifesto didn’t say that. It said we would lobby against having CS9 down Hammersmith Road, and we were successful.

'This will be a segregated cycle lane, but it will be completely different to CS9.'

Hammersmith and Fulham Council has stated that the King Street route will be designed in collaboration with a 'resident-led commission'.

Owen Sheppard – Local Democracy Reporter

December 13, 2019

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