Click here to listen to Mik’s audio:
Hello it’s Mik Scarlet here and I thought I’d give you my thoughts on the Haverstock Hill situation. What’s key to this is that the Government put in place called something called an Emergency Traffic Order right and it’s meant to be temporary to allow councils to put in social distancing procedures and policies so that people can get to work and go about their business safely while we’re in a Covid situation.
Now if you’re going to do something major and permanent, you have to make sure that it is consulted on. You can’t bypass the whole legal process.
Two metres apart, travelling by bike, lots of stuff like that. The problem is that lots of infrastructure in Camden is permanent, it’s not temporary. Roads are being closed, LTNs are being introduced…major works..bus bypasses are going in near me.
Now if you’re going to do something major and permanent, you have to make sure that it is consulted on. You can’t bypass the whole legal process. And if you are going to put something in that’s permanent you do need to start a consultation and that’s not what’s happening. What’s happening is we’re putting stuff in then possibly there might be a consultation later.
So actually the case (the court case against Haverstock Hill cycle lane) was correct and the council was right to stop the works.
That’s not to say that there shouldn’t be cycle paths. There should. You know, we need to change the way Camden works so it’s not so vehicle based. But what we need to do is make it inclusive, make it accessible..we need to make it safe for all people, especially disabled people.
Haverstock Hill is not the kind of hill that just anyone can cycle up. It’s not going to be something that I can go up on my hand cycle and I sure as heck ain’t gonna come down it!
And we also need to be sensible. Haverstock Hill is not the kind of hill that just anyone can cycle up. It’s only going to be very fit very able cyclists. It’s not going to be something that I can go up on my hand cycle and I sure as heck ain’t gonna come down it!
So, if we’re going to do this, we need to be sensible and say that some places are not going to be perfect for a cycle lane and how can we say for example design a route to the Royal Free that wasn’t on such steep hill. And there is a very perfect route that goes in a different direction and means you only have to go up the hill towards the hospital.
Let’s get cyclists and disabled people together. Let’s get people like Wheels for Wellbeing, Transport for All involved and then we can have a real discussion so that Camden can stop having this knee-jerk response to this and lead the way.
So..what should happen now I think is that Camden should reassess its planning. I don’t think Haverstock Hill is the place for a cycle lane. I think that there are other routes that would open up Camden much more to cyclists and alternative ways of getting around – like my lovely handcycle – that would be safe, that wouldn’t impact on business and that wouldn’t discriminate so much against some disabled people.
We want to be involved. Ask us where to put cycle lanes. Let’s get cyclists and disabled people together. Let’s get people like Wheels for Wellbeing, Transport for All involved and then we can have a real discussion so that Camden can stop having this knee-jerk response to this and lead the way.
Here are my thoughts on Haverstock Hill and the wider cycle lanes issue. As I said in my audio, the council needs to develop a consultation with groups like Wheels for Wellbeing and Transport For All as well as with residents. They can’t keep looking just at conventional cycles; they need to also think about other types of cycles as well as pedestrians and those who have to drive. Haverstock Hill is as impossible to walk up and down for many as it is to cycle. Totally wrong place to put a cycle lane. Spend the money elsewhere. Maybe on improving pavements too?