Transport for London (TfL) says it will work to balance security and road safety after the Met Police installed barriers on a number of London bridges following the terrorist attacks in Westminster and London Bridge.
The Met Police says it has reviewed the security of the 33 bridges in London and this led to protective barriers being installed on Westminster Bridge, Waterloo Bridge and Lambeth Bridge. They have now also been put in place on London Bridge, the location of Saturday’s attack.
Cycle campaigners are concerned that the barriers have reduced the width of cycle lanes in places, leaving little or no safe space for cyclists
A TfL spokesperson said: “The Met has installed barriers to increase security on London’s busiest bridges. We are working with them to ensure that these barriers affect cyclists as little as possible, while ensuring the security of all road users.”
As for what this might mean in practical terms, it isn’t entirely clear. Both Cycling UK and the London Cycling Campaign have been in contact with TfL and the Met to try and work out how measures can provide the extra security needed while also allowing people to continue cycling safely.
Cycling UK said that given the number, scale and type of attacks in the last nine weeks, it is “understandable and right that the police and Transport for London are putting in measures to protect key points of infrastructure and the public from likely threats.”
However, campaigns coordinator Sam Jones added: "Having been contacted by Cycling UK members about what this means for the current cycling infrastructure, there is clear concern what this might mean for protecting our most vulnerable road users on their daily and regular journeys as well.
“We are speaking with the London Cycling Campaign, and together we will look to contact TfL and the Met to work with them to ensure that high standards of cycle provision can be maintained while also preserving the necessary security measures."
A spokesperson for the Met explained: “We recognise the public is anxious about security following the terrorist attacks in London, and we want to reassure them that we are taking precautions to make the capital a safe place for people to live, work and visit.
“The barriers are intended to increase security on what are some of London’s busiest bridges. They are designed specifically for hostile vehicle mitigation and are a national asset used around the UK.
“We are considering the use of barriers and other security measures at locations across London. We will not be discussing this further at this time.”
Asked for the rationale when deciding which bridges would have barriers installed, the spokesperson said only: “A number of factors have been taken into consideration and the most appropriate security measures taken.”
Nickie Aiken, leader of Westminster Council, has told the London Evening Standard that she believes the barriers on Westminster Bridge should stay in place permanently.
“People in Westminster need this kind of protective measure – it is sensible and proportionate," she said.