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Lawyer warns planned cycle superhighway is too narrow
A MUCH-VAUNTED cycle superhighway through Hounslow could make life more dangerous for those on two wheels, a leading lawyer has claimed.
Martin Porter commutes to work through Hounslow every day by bike and has made his name representing cycling crash victims.
The barrister, who hit the headlines after recording a motorist making death threats against him, has serious safety concerns about Cycle Superhighway 9.
The familiar bright blue cycle lane, which will run from Hounslow to Hyde Park, is due to open next year, subject to public consultation.
But Mr Porter claims proposals to make the lane just 1.5 metres wide along parts of the busy A315, through Hounslow. Brentford and Chiswick, will endanger, rather than protect, cyclists.
"The standard is that on busy roads cycle lanes should be at least two metres wide," said the barrister, who cycles from Berkshire to his office in central London every day.
"Any narrower and you're only making matters worse because you will have drivers going very close to you in what they regard as their lane. It's better to have no lane at all than one which is only 1.5m wide."
Mr Porter praised some proposals, like painting blue boxes near bus stops or potential hazards to warn drivers cyclists might pull out.
But he urged designers to consider introducing a physical divide between drivers and cyclists or a 20mph speed limit for motorists.
The lawyer said in his experience drivers were often particularly 'hostile' and 'aggressive' on the A315 through Hounslow, which is where he received the death threat.
Brian Smith, co-ordinator for campaign group Hounslow Cycling, welcomed plans for CS9, which he described as a 'new cycling artery' from Hounslow to London.
But he said he had serious concerns about the budget and shared Mr Porter's worries about the proposed width of the lane.
A spokesman for Transport for London said plans for CS9 were at a very early stage. Public consultation is scheduled for this autumn, with the route due to open, subject to the results, by late 2014.
A council spokesman said the authority was working closely with TfL on plans for the new route.
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