At present, cyclists in London face a £130 fine if they use the dedicated Olympic cycling lanes which are only available to Olympic officials, athletes and other approved vehicles but MPs are currently calling on Transport for London to reconsider this decision due to the effect it may have on the daily commute of many cyclists and, most importantly, the safety of cyclists on our roads.
The National cycling charity CTC’s policy co-coordinator Chris Peck has recently said: “The Government has been urging people to take to two wheels to avoid clogging the roads, but restricting them to only one lane of the road will put cyclists in more danger, particularly if they have to share it with lorries or other large vehicles.” I strongly agree with his comments and believe that due to the extreme congestion which is expected throughout the Olympics period we should be encouraging commuters to get on their bikes rather than forcing them to either share lanes or drive instead.
Many of the dedicated lanes will be empty for much of the time and it seems crazy to make cyclists struggle through traffic rather than using these lanes, especially when you consider the efforts which have gone into promoting cycling in the UK recently.
Transport for London have suggested that because a large proportion of the dedicated lanes will be in the outside lane of dual carriageways, the effect on cyclists will in fact be minimal however I believe that any effect which can be avoided should be. There are enough accidents involving cyclists already without putting them in danger which could easily be avoided by changing the current policy.
Nicola Mawson LLB (Hons) -Office Manager (Eccles) and Personal Injury Solicitor