Reported in the Streetspace Feedback category anonymously at 10:18, Wednesday 16 September 2020
Sent to TfL less than a minute later. TfL ref: FMS2297300.
Dear Mr Mayor, a representative of the People
If I may, I would like to ask a few minutes of your time to hear my concerns regarding the implementation of LTNs across London. I write as a cyclist, motorcyclist, bus and train traveller, and car driver. I use my bicycle for fun and exercise and cycle 25-60miles per week. I use my motorbike for commuting because its quick and cheap, and for doing journeys that would be too far for a bicycle and where I am not needing to carry anything too heavy. I use my car for doing my grocery shopping, going to the DIY or gardening centre, running errands where I have to carry big and heavy items, or to carry my friends out to excursions in the countryside where we go cycling and canoeing. I use the bus or overground when I want to travel around London because I don't enjoy the tube - I like being above ground where I can see the city.
I am finding the implementation of the LTNs very stressful as are many others; the LTNs are making an already stressful situation more stressful and I am totally against their implementation for the following reasons.
As a cyclist, the reason I don't use my bicycle for commuting around London has nothing to do with cars or cycle lanes; it is primarily because cycling in London is dominated by what is jokingly referred to as MAMILs: Middle-aged men in lycra. They are aggressive, impatient and make cycling an intimidating experience and tend to dominate the main cycle routes. In places like Copenhagen and Amsterdam, people cycle on "granny" bikes in normal clothes, here its people in lycra treating the A24 like its the velodrome. A friend was knocked off her bicycle by one of these men and spent 4 months in a wheelchair - that terrifies me. I use NCN 20 and quiet routes to get into the city but when its cold, raining and icy, there is no way I could or would regularly do the 28mile round trip to get to work.
I also worry about the safety of my bike: As "cheap" as my bike was (it cost £500 - which is cheap by modern bike standards) I cannot afford to have it stolen. There are very limited safe and convenient places to park bicycles, and bicycle theft in London is rife and hardly ever followed up by an already stressed police force. I would rather councils invested money in more bicycle parking that was secure and convenient then these road closures - I suggest someone from the council tries to do their normal daily errands and activities on a bicycle and see how hard it is when there isn't that much bike parking, locking to poles creates obstructions, and most fencing has warning signs about locking your bike to them.
Availability and the cost of modern bicycles is also not something that has been taken into consideration - it took me 2.5 months to find a new hybrid bicycle in my price range and had to drive to Oxford to collect it - there was nothing locally available. We have been trying to find a reasonably priced bicycle since March for my niece but they are persistently sold out. Unless you are willing to spend £1000 and upwards for a bike, it is very hard to get hold of one. I don't think any councillor has considered that bicycles are not that cheap anymore, £500 is quite normal, finding a second one in lockdown has been near impossible so bicycles are actually out of reach for a lot of people. We are lucky to have jobs where we could afford £500 but a lot of people cannot right now.
What I really don't understand is why my life matters more if I am on a bicycle than if I am on my motorbike. When cyclists were dying at a rate of 12-14 a year, hundreds of millions of pounds were committed to making them safer; in the mean time, motorcyclists death shot up to 36 a year. If you take into consideration that motorcyclists are estimated to be 1.4% of road users and cyclists make up 13% of road users, that meant I am 30 times more likely to die on a motorbike than I am on a bicycle but nothing has been done to protect us! Two wheels is a great way for people who live too far to cycle to travel to work that is far less polluting than a car; and many of us rely on 2-wheelers for food deliveries and courier services. A number of European studies have shown that if 10% of people switched from using a car to a two-wheeler for their journeys, then there could be a corresponding 40% reduction in traffic congestion, with air pollution levels seeing a corresponding improvement. That would be equivalent to recovering 15,000 hours every day wasted sitting in traffic queues in just this one sample area, whilst achieving a significant reduction in associated air pollution from stationary or slowmoving vehicles. So why are LTN roads not being made accessible to two-wheelers from both a safety, and congestion reducing measure? Plus people have been ordering a lot of food delivered by 2-wheelers during the lockdown which has kept the restaurant industry alive.
As a bus user, I really cannot understand why the journey of 1 person on 2 wheels is being prioritised over 100 people on 4 wheels! Buses are used by the elderly and poorer folk so I am not sure why this policy seeks to put these people at a disadvantage.
No matter what form of transport I use now, LTNs supported by people in your position have made it an unpleasant experience. Even more importantly, it is penalising the people who have already suffered the most during the lockdown: tradesmen that could not work from home, the elderly and sickly that had to isolate without regular contact for an extended period etc.
I also believe strongly that the policy of LTNs is in contravention of the Equality Act. The Act makes it quite clear that you cannot put someone at a disadvantage in relation to their disability. The Regulation states the following:
"When serving people with disabilities transport providers must not provide a service of a lower standard or in a worse manner." Disability discrimination also includes "the application of a rule or policy or the existence of physical or communication barriers which make accessing something difficult or impossible." The Act places a duty on service providers (which includes councils) to make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities to help them to overcome barriers they may face in accessing and using goods and services - by doing the opposite and creating barriers that enable them to access goods and services would be a contravention of the Act. Councils (or any body) are also not permitted to prioritise able-bodied people's needs over the disabled.
The policy of LTNs favours people that are wealthy and healthy - wealthy enough to afford homes close to work (young people generally don't fall into that category) and healthy enough to cycle or walk long distances. It is discriminatory against the elderly, disabled, and I believe women also as they tend to do the bulk of the shopping errands and driving kids around which the Equality Act also applies to.
The Prime Minister told people to drive to stay safe and to limit the amount of times that we went for things like groceries but now councillors are penalising us for following this guidance. Increased car usage is only meant to be temporary but this now being turned into a way of sneaking past legislation that was put in place to protect us, and forcing through an agenda that suits a small minority is undemocratic and I am sure illegal; I and others, would be happy to argue this in a court.
Thank you for your time in considering my comments,
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State changed to: Fixed
Posted by TfL at 12:21, Thursday 17 September 2020
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