Protesters against “reckless” cyclists – including a mother who says her son was left with a facial scar after he was knocked over by someone on a bike who immediately rode off – have blocked a street in the London Borough of Hackney.
Residents of the Blackstone Estate, which borders London Fields, are calling on the local council to put a bike lane in the park itself to avoid conflict between cyclists and pedestrians outside their homes, reports the Hackney Gazette.
The newspaper reports that yesterday morning, some of the people living on the estate, holding placards, put up fences on London Fields West Side, meaning that cyclists either had to make a diversion or dismount to get through.
They also asked passers-by – whom the Hackney Gazette described as “confused” – to sign a petition campaigning for a cycle path to be installed so that people can ride through the park itself – although as we have previously reported here on road.cc, there have been concerns about people riding too fast there, leading the council to install speed monitors.
One resident said: “Children come out here on their way to school and they can hear a car but they can't hear a bike. Kids have fallen down and been injured badly.”
Another, Jacqueline Hoilett, spoke of how her son had been knocked over by a cyclist who rode off afterwards.
She said: “He literally just stepped onto the path and the bike just hit him and he went flying over the handlebars and fell in the middle of the tarmac. The cyclist was an adult man and just cycled off. He has a scar on his head now.
“I understand bikes are good for the environment, but the council aren't thinking about the crossover between the environment and people's immediate safety,” she added.
According to the Hackney Gazette’s report, the council has proposed putting shrubs and flowerbeds outside the houses, but the protesters do not think that will resolve the situation.
Cyclists trying to make their way through acknowledged that while there may be a problem at the location, targeting them wasn’t the solution.
One said: “This is a public highway, and there's no sign to say it's not. There's clearly a lot of issues here with regard to what this space actually is, but lone cyclists really aren't the problem. What you're doing here is segregating yourselves.”
Another, Andy Wilkinson, said: “I can see their perspective and it is a really busy area. There needs to be a bit of infrastructure here that helps both sides, but cyclists are generally really considerate people.”
In 2017, we reported how parents of children at London Fields Primary School, which lies across the park, had different concerns – calling for cars to be banned at the time students arrive at the school and leave it, due to air pollution.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.