The Department for Transport (DfT) is calling for evidence for their safety review of cycling and walking investment; there are only a few days left to respond to the consultation.
The Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy published last month aims at making “cycling and walking the natural choices for shorter journeys or as part of a longer journey”. Transport Minister Jesse Norman MP says: “The truth is that cycling is generally very safe, and serious accidents are rare. But we need to make it safer still, for all road users, so that it becomes a default mode of transport, whatever one’s age or background.”
While we at Transport for All (TfA) support the development of walking and cycling, and recognise that it’s important to continue with efforts to improve road safety for cyclists, this cannot and must not come at the cost of increased danger for Disabled and older pedestrians.
At TfA, we have heard from so many Disabled and older people who have been affected by new cycling infrastructure such as bus stop bypasses (also know as floating bus stops), bus boarders (where you get on and off buses straight onto the cycle lane) and shared space schemes. As a consequence, many Disabled people and especially visually impaired people are now avoiding these areas as they feel unsafe.
A few weeks ago, we were outside Parliament and Number 10 with the National Federation of the Blind to protest against shared space schemes which create no-go zones for Disabled and older people. Our trustee Patrick Robert, who is a guide dog user, recently revealed that he has been knocked down twice by cyclists while walking in shared space areas.
In 2016, the NHS trust which runs St Thomas’ Hospital protested against Transport for London’s plans for segregated cycle lanes on Westminster Bridge. NHS bosses claimed that vulnerable patients arriving at the hospital by bus will be intimidated by the prospect of crossing a cycle lane between the bus stop and the pavement. Transport for London went ahead despite the protest but installed some priority signs to make it clearer to cyclists that pedestrians have priority. Unfortunately, such signs have still not been consistently implemented across the whole network of cycle lanes.
TfA member Linda Miller says: “In Enfield the council promised that the cycle lanes with their bus boarders and bypasses would be perfectly safe. They said there would be clear signage giving priority to bus passengers. But all that has materialised is small signs indicating to cyclists that the bus boarders are shared space – consequently the cyclists just ignore passengers at these stops and sail straight past. Enfield also insisted on using raised rubber mouldings called ‘orcas’ to segregate the cycle lanes, even though a TfL safety audit identified these as a trip hazards – unsurprisingly almost every week we hear accounts of more people who have tripped and ended up in hospital as a result. It’s essential that the DfT hears about the dangers these structures present to pedestrians and bus passengers. This consultation is a chance to make our voices heard.”
Take action – Share your views and experiences
We urge our members and supporters to submit evidence to this consultation. There are only a few days left to respond to it. The deadline is Friday 1st June. You can respond:
- Online by clicking here: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/CWIS-SAFETY/
- By email: CWIS.firstname.lastname@example.org
Please respond to the consultation, so that everyone can travel in a safe environment. At every one of our recent Pan London Mobility Forums, members have raised the negative impacts that cycle lanes, bus boarders and bus bypasses have had on their lives. It’s important that you take this opportunity to tell DfT about the problems you now face on a daily basis.
Transport for All will of course respond to this consultation. If you would like to contribute to our response, please email us your feedback by Friday 25th May: Raphael [at] transportforall [dot] org [dot] uk
Since you’re here …
… we have a small favour to ask. Transport for All is proud to be an independent grassroots charity and we depend on donations and support from our members. Every day Disabled and older people have their lives restricted (or even become housebound) because transport services fail them. Take action so that everyone can access buses with independence