(issued jointly by Lambeth Cyclists, Wheels for Wellbeing and London Cycling Campaign)
Lambeth Cyclists, London Cycling Campaign and Wheels for Wellbeing call on Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust to embrace health benefits of cycling, rather than opposing cycling schemes without evidence.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has announced that its Chairman and Kate Hoey MP have led a protest on Westminster Bridge this morning, Tuesday 28 June 2016, to “mark the start of our legal action to persuade TfL to… rethink its proposals for the provision of cycle lanes and bus stops on Westminster Bridge”.
Three cycling organisations are now calling for the hospital to rethink their opposition and costly legal challenge over just one of the “bus stop bypasses” (BSBs) proposed for Westminster Bridge without good evidence to go forward – and instead work with these organisations and TfL to make sure all users of the bridge are safely catered for
Lambeth Cyclists represents people who cycle in the borough, with over 950 members; London Cycling Campaign, the London-wide parent charity has over 12,000 members and 30,000 supporters; and Wheels for Wellbeing is a London-based charity supporting disabled people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the benefits of cycling.
Bus stop bypasses are designed to run a cycle track behind a bus stop, allowing pedestrians to wait for a bus while cyclists do not have to dodge into traffic around parked buses.
These bypasses are currently relatively rare in the UK. They are, however, widely used on the continent, and have been installed along several London Cycle Superhighways (such as CS2 in Stratford, pictured), with many also in Brighton and other UK cities.
The three organisations can find no evidence of UK bus stop bypasses having been a location for a serious collision between a pedestrian and cyclist.
The bus stop bypass directly outside The Royal London Hospital, in Whitechapel on Cycle Superhighway 2, has seen no recorded cycle-pedestrian collisions of any severity, according to TfL.
Lambeth Cyclists and Wheels for Wellbeing have already engaged with the Trust, as has TfL, to attempt both to mitigate the Trust’s concerns and to provide alternative ideas that would improve the design for all users.
Representatives of the Trust, Lambeth Cyclists and Wheels for Wellbeing met in May and have been communicating since. The Trust has yet to put forward any evidence to back up its concerns and its representatives have said they do not have evidence to back these concerns. The Trust also has no record of any collisions between pedestrians and the many people who already cycle on shared sections of pavement outside the hospital, or those who cycle onwards on the pavement to bypass bus stops informally.
The Trust’s concerns are also, inconsistently, solely focussed on one bypass outside the main entrance. They do not apparently object to several bus stop bypasses proposed outside the main entrance of St Thomas’ and on the northern side of the bridge. Thus, the Trust appears concerned about visitors arriving at the hospital from South London, but not visitors leaving the hospital to return to South London (nor visitors arriving from or departing to other areas).
TfL has already answered Guy’s and St Thomas’ fears in its consultation report on the Westminster Bridge proposals, released March 2016: “We have undertaken extensive research and assessment regarding the design of bus stop bypasses… The introduction of bus stop bypasses has been conducted in a measured way, with successful off-street trials leading to early examples… Through liaison with various user groups including the mobility and visually impaired we continue to get feedback on how they are functioning.”
TfL already design bus stop bypasses to slow those cycling with markings, signs and where needed raised tables in the track. This approach was proposed as a modification based on Guy’s and St Thomas’ concerns already – with wider-than-standard pedestrian crossing points too.
Not only is the Trust raising concerns without evidence to back those concerns, it has failed to take into account adequately the need for serious safety improvements to the bridge for those cycling, or the huge health benefits Londoners gain from schemes that encourage more people to take up cycling.
Between 2005 and 2014, from TfL figures, the area around the hospital entrances, including where the bypasses are to be located, saw seven people cycling seriously injured and one killed, and six pedestrians seriously injured and one killed, all from motor vehicle collisions.
We believe that if the Trust is successful in mounting a legal challenge to stop the scheme going forward, the likely outcome will be a much-needed safety measure will not be installed and alternative proposals will be unlikely to adequately answer safety issues for pedestrians and those cycling; all to allay fears that have no evidence base.
Lambeth Cyclists, London Cycling Campaign and Wheels for Wellbeing are now calling on Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust to work with us and TfL – to retract its threat of legal action, stop opposing cycling schemes without good evidence to do so, and work with us to improve cycling in the area for their staff, patients and other road users.
Contact London Cycling Campaign – email@example.com/ tel Mon-Fri 9am-6pm 020 7234 9310/
Out of hours (media enquiries only) 07979 757100