More of your letters on the Heath cycling debate
A pedestrian calls for all cars to be banned from Camden because she was hit by a speeding one – and if one car driver refuses to drive within the speed limit, then they should all be banned. Seem unreasonable? Well that is exactly what the pedestrian wh
A pedestrian calls for all cars to be banned from Camden because she was hit by a speeding one - and if one car driver refuses to drive within the speed limit, then they should all be banned. Seem unreasonable?
Well that is exactly what the pedestrian who was knocked over by a yob on a bicycle is calling for - a ban of all cyclists on the Heath due to a silly kid who is probably just as rude and anti-social whether he is on his feet, a skateboard, a car, a scooter or a bicycle.
Whilst I absolutely sympathise with this woman's experience, the local papers are continually reporting aggressive behaviour by youths and other many anti-social people. Teenagers are stabbing themselves and others, people are damaged every week and three cyclists have been killed on Camden streets in the past year.
And in case you are wondering what all the fuss is about, as far as I can tell it's this: the 'selfish' Camden Cycling Campaign, as far as I can tell, is requesting another 2.5km of paths. The Heath For feet campaign's stance is No - to negotiation, compromise, sharing, or any steps to protect people who are able and willing to cycle, to help make their journey a little pleasanter.
You may also want to watch:
Try getting on your bike and get some wind blowing through your hair - it might just remind you of how precious the air is. I appeal to the Heath For Feet campaigners to try to see the bigger picture.
Freewheeling Citizen Macaulay
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Agar Grove, NW1
I write to correct your May 24 editorial which stated that CCC: ''wants no fewer than nine new cycle routes or links (on the Heath), which seems excessive.''
CCC proposes six new links - as originally published correctly in the Ham&High. The new links would represent an increase from 4km to 6.5km of cycleways on the Heath - a minute proportion of the total length of all the paths.
These links either join from a road on the edge of the Heath to an existing cycleway or join round the edge between two pairs of cycleways. An example of the first is the proposed 250m link on the wide path from the Lido to the Nassington Road - Highgate Road Cycleway.
CCC suggests these links mainly to create safer routes for cycling to school, based on a study of journeys between home and schools near to the Heath.
Another important factor is to allow Heath users to reach destinations such as the swimming ponds or Kenwood by bike, far preferable to driving to the Heath.
CCC is baffled by the final paragraph of your editorial which speaks of: ''a change that could turn large swathes of the Heath into an integral part of the commuter transport network.''
Most of the new links are on the edge of the Heath and the others would follow wider tracks; that is, large swathes of the Heath are unaffected.
For the few people whose route to work might feasibly cross the Heath, what could be better than a pleasant 10 minutes ride on one of the cycleways?
Camden Cycling Campaign
ON behalf of Camden Cycling Campaign (CCC) I would like to offer my sincerest sympathy to Ms Parker who was hit and seriously injured by youths cycling in an irresponsible manner, and on a non-designated path on Hampstead Heath.
These upsetting events reinforce our determination to campaign for responsible and safe cycling. We have worked on this issue with Camden Council and the Police and this month we are joining in the campaign for considerate cycling on the canal towpath. We also work with schools to encourage more children to take up cycling training and to cycle to school. Indeed we would like children to cycle through parks and across the Heath at an early age with their parents so that they can learn behaviour appropriate for shared use paths.
While Ms Parker is entitled to be very angry, the incident should not be a reason to oppose CCC's proposal for a modest increase in shared cycle/pedestrian paths, as such opposition would penalise the law-abiding cyclists, leaving irresponsible ones unaffected. The youth that ran into Ms Parker clearly takes no notice of the basic rule that pedestrians always have priority. I could understand a demand for an increase in policing but I doubt whether that it is feasible. I therefore suggest that the public should be more vigilant and not tolerate irresponsible behaviour of any kind on the Heath. Finally, we need to introduce children to cycling early on and in general teach them to have respect for others.
Joint coordinator, Camden Cycling Campaign