‘We must take steps to get our traffic right,’ says Fiona Phillips

Walking from my house to my local shopping street used to be a joy.

I’m near a common, with all the benefits that brings – lots of green space, trees, duck ponds, wild flowers and sometimes even proper birdsong, rather than just gangs of chattering magpies.

In recent years, sadly, it’s changed. It’s now mobbed by cyclists.

The council can’t quite make its mind up on how to deal with it, first splitting the narrow walking paths with a painted white line down the middle, pedestrians on one side, cyclists on the other, and No Cycling in other places, accompanied by bylaw warnings, which cyclists take no heed of whatsoever.

The number of times I’ve wanted to invoke those bylaws! Entitled cyclists buzzing about all over the place, tinkling their bells, swerving from the cycle lane to the ­pedestrian bit of the path at will.

There were accidents. The council ditched the lane idea, so now the two-wheelers travel at speed on a narrow path used by pedestrians – many of them vulnerable school children and the elderly.

Often very narrowly brushing past those on foot, they totally ignore the No Cycling signs, and once they’ve cycled through the common, they hop on to the pavements at will, then onto the road and back on the pavement.

It’s a free-for-all for cyclists and a hazardous journey for anyone on a pedestrian path. And don’t get me started on the roads.

Rush hour in Britain’s big cities is hell on earth with nose to tail traffic, buses pulling in and out at will, with cyclists weaving through it all, or hopping on and off when it suits them. Britain is already among the worst countries in the world for traffic jams – so how, in the midst of this hell on Earth, will we cope once e-scooter users are running riot?

Currently they’re illegal to use here because their maximum speed and power is too low and is ­considered to be dangerous, as the family of 35-year-old YouTuber Emily Hartridge can, sadly, testify.

Daily Mirror news

Emily used her electric scooter on a main road and died in July 2019 following a collision with a lorry.

Clearly, in environmental terms, though, scooters are a positive addition to our roads,
and it looks like they will soon be legal.

That’s a good thing, but a hell of a lot of work needs to be done to ensure e-scooters will be a safe addition to our already fit-to-burst transport system.

And priority must be given to those travelling on the safest form of transport – good old, trusty legs and feet.

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