Sunday, November 08, 2015

Letter to Taxi Leaks, From Concerned Cyclist, AC Waugh.


Following the publication of Kate Hoey’s column in the South London (Press LINK), and David Williams piece in the Evening Standard yesterday (LINK), I am horrified by the level of uninformed abuse being heaped by some in the cycling lobby on anyone who dares to express the view that they are not a good thing.

I am a cyclist who uses Loughborough Road each day to go into work in the morning and home in the evening. This part of my journey was never a problem before the road closures. It is now.

There are four reasons why the road closures have, from personal experience daily, made my ride more dangerous and less pleasant.

First, I now find myself having to dodge slow moving and jammed traffic in a way that was not the case before. Queuing and turning traffic inherently poses more risk to cyclists, not less.

Second, queuing traffic generates more emission and pollution which, as a cyclist, I have no option but to inhale. Brixton already had some of the highest levels of nitrous oxide/NO2 in Europe before the road closures. God knows what they are now.

Third, jamming the traffic only generates more antagonism between motorists and cyclists; understandably since they are being fed the myth that somehow the road closures are a good thing for cyclists. This is only made worse by the abuse heaped by some cyclists on opponents of the scheme (most of whom appear to live nowhere near and are not regular users of Loughborough Road, if at all).

Fourth, Loughborough Road is not well lit and eerily dark at night and police officers are few and far between. I have had a friend mugged on his bike and do not intend to join him - so I shall head further south along the A23 before heading east along the south side of the railway.

So, for all these reasons, the road closures have made my ride to and from work a less pleasant and more dangerous experience. This experience is shared by many who have posted similar comments on the Change.Org petition of over 3500 comments.

I know that there are those cyclists who think that all vehicles are bad and all road closures are good (akin to the 'fours legs good, two legs bad' mantra in Orwell's Animal Farm). But for many, the elderly, the disabled and local service providers of all descriptions, buses, vans and cars are a necessary reality of daily life. The cycling lobby does itself no good (and much harm) by heaping abuse on anyone who takes a different view.
Judging from the abuse being heaped by some cyclists on anyone who takes a different view, Lambeth Council appear to have had some success in mobilising 'the cycling lobby’- but I can say from personal experience as a cyclist and a regular user of Loughborough Road that it is not a good thing for all the reasons above.

I would ask any cyclist who does not use the road to think before abusing those who express an alternative view to that being promulgated by Lambeth Council. It would make my life, and those of other cyclists, safer if the roads were reopened without delay.

Please sign our online petition

Regards AC Waugh