Covid 19: Safe space for social distancing
What are we asking for?
It's vital that people are able to walk and cycle safely during the lockdown and beyond. Unfortunately, narrow pavements and a lack of segregated safe cycle lanes mean that this is often difficult. We’ve all grown accustomed to seeing pedestrians walking out into the road to safely pass each other, while cyclists also need to move further out into the road and many shared walking and cycling routes are too narrow or too busy. We urgently need safe space to walk and cycle without risking infection.
Safe space is also hugely important for key workers, many of whom are choosing to cycle to hospitals, care homes and other essential workplaces to avoid the risk of public transport. This will only become more urgent when the lockdown is lifted and roads and pavements get busier.
We're asking local authorities throughout the UK to take simple steps, which can be both quick and affordable, to reallocate spare road capacity for active travel. This could include using traffic cones to extend pavements or create temporary cycle lanes, or closing residential streets to through traffic to stop rat running.
Over 5000 people have already supported our campaign and written to their council, and we've already seen many local authorities closed streets for cycling and walking and create temporary bike lanes to hospitals. The map below shows where councils have taken measures to create safe space for social distancing. If your council hasn't yet taken action, write to them today, or tell us if we're missing any measures your council has already taken.
We've also worked with national government to secure their support. The Scottish Government has committed £10m to support councils to introduce these measures, while the Government at Westminster and the Welsh Government have both indicated their general support. In Northern Ireland, the Department for Infrastructure has the power to make the changes, and have also responded positively following our joint letter with Sustrans asking them to look into this.