Do cyclists in shared zones pose a threat to the disabled?
A Surrey town has banned cycling in its pedestrianised centre after lobbying from groups representing people with disabilities (Guardian).
According to the report, until now Woking has done well as a ‘cycling town’: a major off-road route through the town has been upgraded and more cycle parking has been installed.
Cycling has increased substantially but is held back by large, busy roads deemed by many too dangerous to cycle on. Cyclists were, until two years ago, obliged to use an arterial road which circles Woking town centre, but over three years six cyclists were injured along this stretch of road.
To make cycling easier and safer, access was permitted to the road network through the town centre, much of which has been part-pedestrianised, with motor vehicle access greatly restricted. Over the last two years there have been no major accidents, suggesting that cyclists and pedestrians mix perfectly well, reports the Guardian.
The decision to reverse this for most of the day was a result of sustained campaigning by a coalition of disability lobby groups, helped by Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB), which believes that cyclists in the town centre pose a threat to people with disabilities.
The Guardian recognises that streets should be accessible to all and that the needs of visually impaired people should be taken into account, but questions whether this should come at the cost to everyone else – including those who would be prepared to cycle more if conditions were conductive.
Click here to read the full Guardian report.