'More protected routes would help close the cycling gender gap'

A woman cycling on a 'Boris' bike with an ice lolly in the hot weather, in Hyde Park, central London

Women favour more protected cycle routes - Credit: PA

Haringey’s new Walking & Cycling Action Plan is now out for consultation until January 10 (at haringeywalkingcycling.commonplace.is).

It’s an inspiring read if you want to support a borough with roads safe enough so kids can cycle to school, where the air is cleaner and we’re doing our bit to tackle the climate crisis.

These are bold aims, and very welcome for those who feel Haringey urgently needs to join its neighbours in embracing walking and cycling as safe, day-to-day travel for all.

We’d love everyone to read the plan and comment on it, to have a stake in a safer, greener future. Research shows 79% of women favour more protected cycle routes and it would be great to close the cycling gender gap by turning this into a reality. I’ll be supporting plans to build safe, main road cycle tracks across the borough, to create a proper, joined-up network.

Monica Chakraverty is a member of Haringey Cyclists

Monica Chakraverty urges residents to read Haringey’s new Walking & Cycling Action Plan - Credit: Haringey Cyclists

The plan commits to basic standards of design but, even last year, Haringey was still using "mini-Orca" bike lane separators when everyone else in London uses much larger lane protection. We need better than that. We want Haringey to commit to the latest government design guidance and quality standards: Gear Change and LTN 1/20. They should do this anyway, supposedly, to get funding.

Haringey is notoriously hilly and some of the proposed routes in the plan go over the steepest bits of London, rather than gentler roads nearby. Other routes travel through parks rather than creating separate, designated routes. A proper quality bar is needed to make sure that Haringey gets its scheme right, and clear target dates should be set.

We want to make sure that all councillors and officers understand the need for change and how much it means to residents. Take a walk or a cycle in parts of Islington, Camden, Enfield or Waltham Forest – all neighbours of Haringey – and you’ll see how rapidly they’ve evolved to create safe, active travel for all ages. I hope Haringey’s own plan is the start of a new vision that will create accessible, safe roads and calmer, greener neighbourhoods.

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Monica Chakraverty is a member of Haringey Cyclists.