New research has identified ‘widespread support’ from ambulance trusts for the new active travel infrastructure introduced across the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the help of Government funding, local authorities have been installing measures – such as low-traffic neighbourhoods, pop-up cycle lanes and widened pavements – to support walking and cycling, provide alternatives to public transport and make social distancing easier.
Statistics show that between May and July 2020, 39% of people reported walking more and 38% reported cycling more than before the outbreak of the pandemic.
However, critics of the schemes have claimed they are responsible for delaying or holding up ambulances on critical blue light emergencies.
As part of their investigation, Cycling UK sent Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to all ambulance trusts in England, Scotland and Wales.
They found that no trust was against the new cycle lanes, with a third of all trusts showing strong support for them because of their public health and road safety benefits.
Ambulance trusts also revealed that no schemes were implemented without the relevant trust’s knowledge and that no delays to emergency response times had been identified because of them.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said: “Cycling UK was concerned prominent members of the public, including politicians, and national media had been potentially misled to believe cycle lanes were preventing our paramedics from doing their jobs.
“Following our investigation and the positive responses we’ve received from the UK’s ambulance trusts, I am both pleased and relieved to slay these myths.
“These new cycle lanes which are helping thousands of people to travel safely, including key workers in our hospitals and paramedics, are no barrier to ambulances.”