Unless you are a real petrolhead, almost everyone agrees that it is a good idea to reduce the number of journeys by fossil fuel vehicles, which helps reduce road pollution and associated deaths caused by road pollution.
The Government and local councils have thrown everything behind imposing cycle lanes and traffic calming measures on to residents, under the cover of the pandemic, without any consultations or considering alternative measures, such as incentives to not drive, car sharing, park and ride schemes and better electric powered pubic transport.
Now we hear that lives are being put in danger because ambulances are stuck in traffic caused by controversial new cycle lanes and this raises some real concerns.
One of Britain’s leading paramedics warned that emergency vehicles are being delayed after councils were handed millions of pounds to turn car lanes into cycle-only routes. They are being rushed out to try to encourage more people to cycle to work rather than use public transport or their cars because of the pandemic.
It does not seem to be about reducing road pollution, there is a very apparent agenda to try to make it harder for people to drive in major towns and cities.
Official figures reveal that the number of people cycling has fallen by 25 per cent since the first lockdown in the spring, but the rollout of cycle routes continues.
Richard Webber, the national spokesman for the College of Paramedics, informed The Mail on Sunday: ‘If you are having a cardiac arrest, your chance of survival decreases by ten per cent for every minute’s delay. If ambulances are stuck waiting for someone to open a barrier or taking a long route around to your house, then you’ve got a big problem.’
‘Lots of areas have segregated roads now in such a way that you physically can’t get down the road and therefore we’ve had to do long detours.
‘In some areas where they once had two lanes, they have now gone down to one lane of traffic and a cycle lane and the problem with that is there is nowhere to go.
‘People can’t get out of the way and ambulances get stuck in traffic. It has been the same in various city centres.’
Mr Webber urged councils to consult with ambulance services: ‘They need to think that if someone was having a heart attack, could the ambulance get to them as quickly as it could now? But I don’t think the councils are thinking like that.’
[Image source: Shutterstock Nov 2020]
Ambulances get stuck on London roads
There are several eye-witness accounts of emergency vehicles caught up in road congestion.
On social media last week, a video showed an ambulance with flashing blue lights unable to pass a long queue of cars on the busy Euston Road in Central London. Vehicles restricted to a single lane were unable to move out of the way because of the new cycle lane bollards.
Another ambulance on an emergency call was pictured stuck in traffic close to Euston Station while the new cycle lane was empty. One furious paramedic was pictured shoving blocks out of the way during an emergency call in Harrow, North-West London.
Some residential roads in the area had been blocked off with barriers to create ‘low traffic’ zones, but the ambulance could not get through. And in the Conservative-led council in Wandsworth, South-West London, scrapped its new cycle lane plans after seeing footage of the problems that ambulances have had in Tooting.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns: ‘The Government confirmed on Friday that when councils implement any highway scheme, including cycle lanes, they must consult with emergency services.
‘Cycling UK fully supports this and is available to address the concerns and any evidence the College of Paramedics or any health trust might have. To date no one has contacted us.’
Let us be clear, this is not a cyclist versus motorist issue. All users want to share the highways responsibly, but this is going to lead to the loss of lives. While its important to provide cycle lanes, this must not be at the expense of the existing roadways set aside for cars, especially since cyclists can use the same roads as well.
Do you think the Government and local councils should be allowed to do this without consulting emergency services? Let us know in the comments below.
surely the amount of vehicles on the road are causes the congestion – less vehicles – much easier for the emergency services to get through.
Appears to be a bit of a one sided argument to me
Your point is valid, however if you look at smart motorways, all they’ve done is allowed the hard shoulder to be used and controlled the speed, this allows traffic to flow more easily. If you reduce the amount of lanes available on main trunk roads then it will get caught up. They should have converted back roads into full cycle lanes not major trunk roads is my point.
Most congestion is not due to number of vehicles but primarily poor road design with bad driving (and Cycling) coming a good second. A distant third is too many vehicles albeit much closer in built up urban areas. Factor this in for the 08 – 09 busiest period in the morning and the lenghtened rush hour from 14.30 – 19.00 Due to a sharp increase in allowing house to be divided into smaller homes ie 3 bedroom house now into 3 – 4 flats in the same space, all have cars but only .5 parking per house and do this on one road 7 times you now have you now have out of 20 house with 20 spaces you now have 34 cars (not including visitors) and 20 spaces – now remove 78 of those spaces for a new build of four flats no parking and you have cars parked both sides of the road in every available space and no room to pass. No put a primary school at the end of lodge Road and St James Rd in Croydon and change the road so there is only one way back to London road. You have cars on the pavements both sides on Lodge road. One van and ambulances trying to get to Croydon University Hospital and jammed in. And you have tailbacks on St James road backed up to Cherry Orchard roundabout. Blame the drivers blame the vehicles but perhaps removing the school bus was wrong perhaps the failure to have effective preventative policing making it safe for children to get to school etc (or just having a police force that actually polices would be a start) Sorry with respects having worked in transport for 3 decades this is shoddy planning and incompetence with Political agendas causing this particular issue. Go factor the ULEZ and congestion charge. The Council and TfL created the pinch points by their policies and them milk and penalise motorists etc for the impacts of their actions. Boy what a racket.
Then like bus lanes they should have made dedicated ambulance lanes and no this would not be impossible, everything is doable just government’s refuse to pay out the cost on any other road ideas, smart motorways were a waste of time , the hard shoulder should be for emergency vehicles only as they were before,
Please stop it with money needs to be raised for the NHS, if this money went to the NHS as people say then please explain to me why they are in so much dept.!
As for the waiting to unlock barriers is ridiculous why haven’t ambulance crews got master keys for these barriers!
all roads that are turned into cycle lanes should also be able to be used by the emergency units as well, as for the number of cyclist dropping off since the start of this pandemic, is small compared to the number still riding on our roads, I will agree that major road should not be turned into cycle only lanes, but that aside cycle lanes are a must and the people that moan so much about it are the lazy do Goode’s who have nothing else better to do than moan about everything that is healthy and I will point out reduce heart disease and other aliments so emergency units will be needed less.
it is a persons right under the laws laid down in this land of ours, the freedom to go and do as he or she pleases within the law,
these campaigns to rid our roads of cycle lanes is drummed up by the car manufacturers because they stand to lose out the most and the oil company’s too.
If Cyclists had a bit more care they would not need cycle lanes because they tried it in Southampton , which caused an extra hour on the journey to give blood
Have had two heart attacks and am left with heart damage. The delays caused by road blockages are solely due to the actions of the Local council. Firstly for its blinkered approach to road design making the london road too narrow to allow buses to pass easily creating a daily pollution and congestions disaster and huge tailbacks to Addiscombe along St James road and all the side streets are now rat-runs. Sadly that has its own problem in that parking is both sides and again as CODE 27 violations are rarely enforced there are no passing points and there are hourly mexican standoffs. The second from its failure to do its role of removing obstructions and cutting traffic enforcement to inneffectual levels. The other reason is the removal of parking but allowing development of house into HMO s with multiple cars on drives barely capable for one car, so that you are unable to even access a front door. Blame the Landlord but the landlord licencing enforcement is also pretty non existent and so long (years) as to be not effective. My particular delay was due to my Neighbours tenant selling drugs from his and friends cars illegally blocking three houses. Police said its a parking issue, Landlord ignored the matter the Council failed to act (over a year) = Heart attack an ambulance could not get to me and it took two hours from calling to get to St Georges – Heart damage. Thanks only to the Cardiologists I am here writing this.
The issue is not Cycles – The issue is Council administrative and political failure and Safety not being a primary priority. No wonder its Bankrupt the Heads of the council both Political and employed should be held to account and never be employed in local government administration ever again
I am sorry to hear your story, this is happening far to often. Why do you not sue the local council for your your health that has been damaged by their road blockages which delayed the ambulance . I would sue them in the small claims court. all their defence would be that they try to protect cyclists at the demise of your safety.(ie the delay it would take the ambulance to get to your emergency). Which I would guess is no defence at all.
When are cyclists over 18 years old going to pay Road Tax and insurance like the rest of us road users.
Some of the problems with ambulances is sat nav instructions
The bikes on pavements ought to be banned for those over 14 and those who wish to go at speed and just shout at pedestrians to get out of the way by forcing them to step on to the road.
Simple solution is to allow emergency services vehicles to use the cycle lanes if they are just converted motor lanes. Low traffic zones though are too dangerous and should be scrapped.
the converted cycle lanes are too marrow
More roads equal more cars. We need to discourage long journeys to work and do what we used to do and work local. The more moterway the longer distance people will travel
Yet another insane decision by central government listening to action groups. Never mind, the new normal will result in deserted city centres anyway. A good thing perhaps.
I did read once that Easleigh had a bad, or the worst, ambulance response time. Having spent a few days there, trying to get around with so many closed off roads, I was not surprised.
The cycle lane near Kingston is far too wide and I’ve worried since it was created that ambulances and fire engines would not get through. In addition, some cyclists still use the now narrow car lanes, preventing cars from passing. It’s a fiasco.