I often hear negative comments from motorists and pedestrians about cyclists and vice-versa. The truth is that many confrontations are due to the lack of adequate space for everyone involved, cyclists are forced to ‘compete’ for space with motorists or pedestrians.
For example on Hersham Road in Walton the pavement is divided between cyclists and pedestrians. However, whilst the cycle path remains the same width the pavement fluctuates, leaving many sections of the pavement where the only feasible option for pedestrians is to walk on the cycle path.
At most traffic lights in the constituency motorists would assume pedestrians have puffin crossing, indicating when it is safe to cross. However there are numerous examples of where there is no red/green man display, pedestrians are forced to use the traffic lights to guess when will be safe to cross.
There are many roundabouts in the area that can only be described as chaotic. The roundabout adjoining Queens Road, Westcar Lane, West Grove, and Queensway has no traffic calming measures. This means that motorists often approach the roundabout in excess of the 40 Mph speed limit (from the main A244 road) causing numerous collisions and near misses. What’s more is that there is nowhere safe for pedestrians to cross.
Scilly Isles roundabout in Esher has similar problems. Pedestrians find it almost impossible to cross, and cyclists are not catered for. The Cyclist’s Touring Club website describes how there are cycle lanes on the roads but these stop well before the roundabout. These interrupted cycle paths are typical of the area.
Busy roundabouts need adequate pedestrian crossings. Visibility is often difficult as pedestrians cannot always anticipate when a car will exit the roundabout. Motorists are often pre-occupied looking to the right when entering a roundabout and fail to spot pedestrians waiting to cross or cyclists entering the roundabout.
We all know that the last thing that motorists want is to injure pedestrians or cyclists, equally it is not pedestrians’ or cyclists’ intensions to endanger themselves by catching motorists off guard. The vast majority of road users want to obey the rules, and ought to be assured that other road users are sufficiently catered for.
It is great when people choose to walk or cycle but in encouraging them to do this, we have a responsibility to ensure this is feasible from a safety point of view. However many issues pedestrians face, the risks increase exponentially for many with mobility issues or sensory disabilities. Road layout planning needs to take into account that many pedestrians cannot run out of the way of vehicles or be expected to listen or look to the distance to predict when is safe to cross.
The Green Party are the only party wanting to put local people at the heart of town planning. We want to make sure everyone that uses the road gets a say. If you elect Green councillors we will come up with sensible solutions that work for everyone.
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