The Independent London Newspaper

 

LETTERS: Voices of older and disabled people are silenced by the well-heeled cycling lobby

Main Image : 
Artist’s impression of the King’s Cross gyratory after the changes

Artist’s impression of the King’s Cross gyratory after the changes

Published: 4 March, 2016

• ACROSS our borough, the disruption and travel problems that the proposed cycle lanes will cause are becoming ever more apparent. 

Plans by Transport for London and Islington and Camden councils for the King’s Cross gyratory constitute institutional discrimination against older and disabled people. We are faced with a well-organised and well-heeled cycle lobby, which has effectively silenced our voices and our needs. 

Most of us have less energy or resources to organise our own lobby, and at this stage of our lives have fewer political contacts than cycling enthusiasts have among transport planning staff and councillors. 

Older people have for the most part poor access to the web, so are denied information about a matter which will affect them. What TfL and the councils are doing is prioritising strong, healthy cyclists, some of whom will be local residents but even more will be commuters, at the expense of local residents who use the quiet roads for their everyday purposes. 

Cyclists, vans and cars currently share the roads with good sense and manners. The need for official traffic management is questionable. 

The locals, of course, pay council taxes and drivers pay road taxes. What is being forgotten is our need for plumbers and similar trades people and the ambulance outpatient pick-up service.

Please, Islington and Camden councillors, ask your planning and disability officers (and  also knowledgable locals like cabbies) to tell you how these plans will affect vulnerable residents. 

For some of us buses are sometimes too demanding without a carer, and many/most do not have carers. Biking is just a memory. 

We should not become the victims of institutionalised discrimination through ideologically-driven, road-use planning.

HILARY ROSE
Address supplied

Comments

Wrong, wrong, and wrong.

"Plans by Transport for London and Islington and Camden councils for the King’s Cross gyratory constitute institutional discrimination against older and disabled people. We are faced with a well-organised and well-heeled cycle lobby, which has effectively silenced our voices and our needs. "

Kings Cross is a horrendous location for humans, change for the better is needed. However, the assumption that those who have disabilities or the elderly cannot cycle or benefit from the tracks is false. In the Netherlands, 25% of journeys are cycled by those over 65 years of age. Wheels For Well Being campaign for cycling infrastructure as there are many with disabilities who cycle, although not necessarily on a standard bike. Then there are the many on mobility scooters, wheelchairs, and so on who are able to use the tracks for a smooth and quick ride.

Contrast this with what the car provides: mobility for a far smaller number of people. The elderly and those with disabilities are unrepresented in car access. The cars themselves are massive cause of disabilities and disease. We need Kings Cross fit for humans.

Now, the ''cycle lobby'' is no where near a strong as those who wish to maintain the car centric status quo.

"What TfL and the councils are doing is prioritising strong, healthy cyclists, some of whom will be local residents but even more will be commuters, at the expense of local residents who use the quiet roads for their everyday purposes. "

This sentence was not at all justified, and it doesn't make sense. Cars have been prioritised over people for decades, but do something small for those who want to cycle or use cycling infrastructure and it suddenly becomes a war against residents?

"Cyclists, vans and cars currently share the roads with good sense and manners. "

No, just no.

"The locals, of course, pay council taxes and drivers pay road taxes. What is being forgotten is our need for plumbers and similar trades people and the ambulance outpatient pick-up service."

People who drive pay car taxes, not road taxes: they don't fund the road network. In fact, car usage is subsidised by a long way. No one is forgetting about the plumbers. If you look at the roads that have cycling infrastructure it is clear the vast, vast, majority of space is left to cars. You are so blinkered by how unbalanced the status quo is that you fail to see this fact. What cycling infrastructure allows is those who don't have to drive to use them, leaving the road space for those who do.

Stop speaking for the ambulance services please.

"We should not become the victims of institutionalised discrimination through ideologically-driven, road-use planning."

Right, which is why we need to end the status quo which does just that.

http://datashine.org.uk/#table=QS416EW&col=QS416EW0002&ramp=YlOrRd&layer...

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