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Hospitals call on councils to prioritise street space for walking and cycling

‘Without action, we risk the car becoming the default mode of socially-distanced transport’

UK hospitals are asking councils to ensure their staff and the populations they serve can get to work safely in the coming months through prioritisation of space for active travel. The Key Workers Need Streetspace campaign has been established in response to the easing of lockdown and the ongoing need to avoid public transport.

New government guidance for local authorities demands that more space be provided for walking and cycling in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Pop-up cycle lanes are being constructed in many towns and cities and there are plans for a car-free zone in central London.

However, with an 85 per cent drop in public transport capacity expected in some areas, the surge in demand for walking and cycling may well come alongside a large rise in car use.

The Key Workers Need Streetspace campaign is therefore calling on councils to prioritise street-space for active travel, arguing, “it is the best course of action to improve the health of local communities and to ensure that staff can continue to use the healthiest and cleanest modes of travel – walking and cycling.”

Three of the biggest NHS trusts in London – Barts Health; St George’s and Barking; and Havering and Redbridge – have already backed the campaign, writing to local authorities urging them to act quickly on creating space for active travel.

Professor Charles Knight, the chief executive of St Bartholomew’s Hospital, said: “The evidence from Wuhan after lockdown is of an almost a doubling of private car use. 

“Without action in the UK, we risk the car becoming the default mode of socially-distanced transport and non-car owners (over half of the UK population) may have to choose between expensive private hire vehicles, crowded public transport or braving the newly-trafficked streets.

 “Our hospital staff are increasingly switching to walking and cycling to work in response to the pandemic.

“We need to make active travel a real option for everyone, not just the young and fit, and use cars and public transport only for those who have no other option.”

There have also been calls for a temporary ban on HGVs in town and city centres as this would 'completely remove a level of danger from cyclists', reports the London Evening Standard.

Jill Greenfield, the head of catastrophic injury at Fieldfisher law firm, said: “It would be great if the Government said that HGVs could not go through the centre of towns, which I think they have done in Paris and other cities.

"That would, in one blow, completely remove a level of danger from cyclists. If I could get a route into the city where I didn’t have to come into contact with traffic I would feel so much happier about getting my bike out.”

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14 comments

Avatar
David9694 | 3 years ago
3 likes

It's getting to something when National Rail are promoting the very thing that has helped kill it.

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brooksby replied to David9694 | 3 years ago
0 likes

So do trains allow door-to-door travel?  Wow - modern technology, eh...

Avatar
eburtthebike | 3 years ago
5 likes

This might be a very useful catalyst for getting real improvements.  Everybody loves the NHS, and here we have NHS people demanding better provision for cyclists.

They are the diametric opposite of the msm demonsing myth of lycra louts and can't be dismissed with a "bloody cyclists" and an airy wave of the hand.

Of course, it rather depends on the msm actually covering it, but I did hear the BBC mention ebikes yesterday, breaking their ban on saying anything positive about cycling, so I live in hope.

Avatar
brooksby replied to eburtthebike | 3 years ago
3 likes
eburtthebike wrote:

This might be a very useful catalyst for getting real improvements.  Everybody loves the NHS, and here we have NHS people demanding better provision for cyclists.

Another possibility, if we love the NHS so much, might be paying them more and not writing them off as Bl00dy Immigrants...

Avatar
rayjay | 3 years ago
0 likes

So lets think before this plandemic happened .   Nobody was scared to,use public transport . Now because of the huge amount of scaremongering from day one, people, a lot of them will revert to the isolated safety of their cars . Stop this "every one should walk and ride a bike way of thinking" . What we need is a public transport  to be cheaper and work more efficiently and not  be beholden to share holder profits like the major rail companies.  Fine if there is space for bikes fine ,I personally would like to see oxford st for instance  have  electric trams that you could jump on or off at given points like in many European city's .  Drs have no more right to get to work than anyone else.  Work is essential for everyone. 
perhaps the government should start letting the scared in on the facts ,about how serious covid. Is ....they don't seem to think it's serious .https://www.gov.uk/guidance/high-consequence-infectious-diseases-hcid

Avatar
brooksby replied to rayjay | 3 years ago
1 like

The Alliance of British Drivers (I think his name's Mike edit: sorry - it's Roger) has said that he car is the perfect method of self-isolating transport, and I suspect a lot of the public agree with him/them.

Avatar
JK-NHS replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
6 likes

A lot of the public (over half of inner London boroughs) don't own a car......so I suspect a lot of the public probably looking for an alternative. and the ones in cars, can complete most of their journeys by walking or cycling as average urban vehicle journey is <3 miles, leaving space on roads for those who have to drive (long distance/disabled/heavy loads) and likewise space on PT for those who have to use PT. But those walking & cycling deserve to have safe & protected routes.

In any case if everyone is in a car on the road no one will be going anywhere fast in our urban centres, our air quality will deteriorate & we will have taken a step backward 

Avatar
brooksby replied to JK-NHS | 3 years ago
2 likes

I totally agree.

(The ABD comments are taken from their outraged response to Bristol City Council wanting to close several city centre routes to private cars, and pedestrianise others)

Avatar
David9694 replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
4 likes

Motto : "The answer is me driving my car - what's the question?"

Avatar
brooksby replied to David9694 | 3 years ago
0 likes

Avatar
leqin replied to rayjay | 3 years ago
8 likes

So who is it you think planned this pandemic - big bicycle or big bus or big big train or big car?

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Hirsute replied to rayjay | 3 years ago
1 like

plandemic - so it was planned !

If it isn't serious, why do we have emergency legislation requiring us to stay at home unless for 'reasonable excuse' ?

Avatar
brooksby replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago
2 likes

I read that it's all a grand conspiracy so that when They all get us to have our vaccinations then they can inject us with mind controlling nanobots at the same time.  Or did I dream that...?

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to rayjay | 3 years ago
4 likes
rayjay wrote:

So lets think before this plandemic happened .   Nobody was scared to,use public transport . Now because of the huge amount of scaremongering from day one, people, a lot of them will revert to the isolated safety of their cars . Stop this "every one should walk and ride a bike way of thinking" . What we need is a public transport  to be cheaper and work more efficiently and not  be beholden to share holder profits like the major rail companies.  Fine if there is space for bikes fine ,I personally would like to see oxford st for instance  have  electric trams that you could jump on or off at given points like in many European city's .  Drs have no more right to get to work than anyone else.  Work is essential for everyone. 
perhaps the government should start letting the scared in on the facts ,about how serious covid. Is ....they don't seem to think it's serious .https://www.gov.uk/guidance/high-consequence-infectious-diseases-hcid

Oh dear, have you already forgotten what I said about brevity?

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