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“No excuse” – councillor slams motorists who drove on pavement to get round road closure as emergency infrastructure ignored in London and beyond

Shocking video from Lewisham shows motorists driving onto pavement to get round planters blocking road; council to install bollards tomorrow

Drivers are continuing to ignore pop-up bike lanes as well as road closures introduced as emergency measures to encourage active travel and protect vulnerable road users – with footage emerging today of motorists in Lewisham driving onto the pavement to get round planters deployed to close a road to through traffic. The council has swiftly responded by saying it will replace the planters with bollards. 

The footage was posted to Twitter by Tom Edwards of BBC London News by a local resident who had seen his report on another Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) elsewhere in South London, this one in Brixton.

This evening, Lewisham Councillor Sophie McGeever, the portfolio holder for transport and the environment, said there was “no excuse” for the drivers' behaviour and that bollards, as well as additional signage, would be installed tomorrow.

A number of councils across London and elsewhere have been introducing LTNs as a short-term measure during the COVID-19 crisis, although it is possible that some will become permanent.

Yet, as the video from Lewisham shows, many motorists are simply ignoring them where they can, simply by going round them.

As Simon Munk, infrastructure campaigner at the London Cycling Campaign (LCC), pointed out on Twitter, a guide to implementing LTNs drawn up last year by LCC and Living Streets recommends that planters, or other means of creating modal filters, be spaced 1.5 metres apart including from buildings either side of the road to prevent drivers trying to get round them.

Close to the river Thames in Chiswick, some motorists went even further by moving small planters that blocked the road leading under a railway bridge to a sports centre. Hounslow Council’s response? It put an even bigger planter in place, complete with tree (see main picture above).

It's not just modal filters that are being ignored by motorists. As we reported last week, one Liverpool cyclist described a temporary cycle lane in Toxteth as a “pop-up car park” after discovering dozens of vehicles parked half in the bike lane, half on the pavement.

>> Council pledges to act on drivers turning temporary cycle lane into “pop-up car park”

And earlier this month, video was posted to Twitter of cars parked on a London cycleway in Pimlico despite Transport for London having just added wands to provide a degree of separation that had previously been missing.

Pedestrian infrastructure isn’t safe either – Hounslow Council used water barriers to widen the pavement on Turnham Green Terrace to allow social distancing, with some motorists now parking in that very space.

Has temporary infrastructure been put in place where you live, and what has the reaction from motorists been? Are they respecting it or ignoring it?

Let us know in the comments below.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Snakebyte | 3 years ago
1 like

If only cars had licence plates, that would put a stop to such behaviour.

Shades | 3 years ago

And they (Govt etc) wonder why people don't switch from cars to more sustainable travel when presented with the health and environmental benefits?  The only way to get people to reduce their car use is to 'prise it out of their cold dead hands'.

David9694 | 3 years ago

Where's CyclingMikey when you need him? "Back, back you go".

Great to see good old British values enacted here, respect for authority, fair play. Not sure if "entitlement" puts it strongly enough: I sense something more belidgerent and ugly. 

"drive to the gym" *chortle*

LetsBePartOfThe... replied to David9694 | 3 years ago

You absolutely must get some T-Shirts done....

CyclingMikey: "Back, back you go".



brooksby replied to LetsBePartOfTheSolution | 3 years ago

"You. Shall. Not. Pass!"

Velophaart_95 | 3 years ago

It's another example of their sense of entitlement. But I'm afraid it's what happens when the majority of the country becomes 'car dependent'. Driving is a privilege, not a right.....though most assume the other way round.

eburtthebike | 3 years ago

Every driver videod driving on the pavement should be prosecuted.  The council should set up a camera and catch any more offenders.

What I want to know is how the petrol heads are going to blame the cyclists for this.

RobD replied to eburtthebike | 3 years ago

Quite simply, they'll likely just stammer out the usual bbbut but but cyclists red lights mutter mutter mutter.

handlebarcam | 3 years ago

Some motorists would mow down their own grandmother if she was standing in a newly pedestrianized street which their GPS erroneously told them was open to traffic. Not because they're evil, but because they've completely ceded such decisions to a screen on their dashboard. Computer says go, so they go.

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