An increasingly common argument against pop-up cycle lanes and low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) is that these kinds of road layouts delay emergency services. Ambulance trusts have now said this isn’t actually the case. Presumably that settles the matter once and for all and we’ll never hear anyone suggest they cause issues ever again…
“It wasn’t just one of those cases where it was left unclear by a vague freedom of information response,” Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, Duncan Dollimore told the Guardian. “They were very clear: they don’t have any problem with them, and they support these schemes.”
Cycling UK submitted freedom of information (FOI) requests to the 12 ambulance trusts operating in England, Scotland and Wales, asking whether councils were engaging with them before installing new cycling and walking facilities and whether the new lanes had been the cause of any delays.
Ten responded. None was against the new lanes, while a third expressed strong support for them because of their public health and road safety benefits.
Only one – East of England Ambulance Trust – expressed a concern. It pointed to a location in Cambridge where a lockable barrier had been installed.
Cambridgeshire County Council said it hasn’t installed any lockable barriers as part of its Covid-response walking and cycling projects. The council concluded that the barrier the trust was referring to was most likely one installed several years earlier as a counter terror measure.
Dollimore 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 hospital staff and paramedics, are no barrier to ambulances.”