An ambulance was forced to drive the wrong way down a main road due to congestion exacerbated by a new cycle lane.

Drivers using Honeypot Lane, Harrow, were shocked to see the emergency vehicle drive along the opposite carriageway to escape a traffic jam on Tuesday (September 8) morning.

It comes after the two-lane road was made into a single lane to incorporate a new cycle path as part of the council’s ‘Streetspace’ initiatives.

These schemes, using funding from Transport for London, are intended to encourage active travel and promote social distancing measures in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, many have criticised the impact they are having on traffic in the borough and, in the case of the cycle lanes, their lack of use.

Stuart Hyams, who was caught in the traffic build-up on Tuesday, said the changes cause “utter chaos” on a daily basis and accused the council of being “irresponsible” in its decision-making.

A spokesperson for Harrow Council said: “This incident illustrates exactly why we have taken necessary steps to make it safer for residents to travel around the borough on foot or by bicycle.

“Car journeys have now returned to pre-Covid-19 levels and, while there is reduced capacity on public transport, it is vital that residents keep roads free for emergency services vehicles.

“It has never been more important to put the health and safety of our residents first.”

The cycle lane in Honeypot Lane has also been criticised by Queensbury ward councillor Sachin Shah, who described it as “dangerous” for cyclists and an invitation for drivers to use side streets as rat runs.

“Cycle lanes are a good thing if they are designed properly – but here we have a bad cycle lane,” he told a council traffic and road safety advisory panel (TARSAP) last month.

Others defended the new measures, as they see them as an important step in encouraging people to cycle while feeling safe.

At the same TARSAP meeting, Anoop Shah, of Harrow Cycling Campaign, called for further upgrades and extensions to the new lanes.