‘Crossrail for bikes’ – accessible to disabled cyclists?

wheelsA Brixton charity has written to Transport for London (TfL) demanding they consider access for disabled riders on new cycle routes in the capital.

“Disabled and older people can and do cycle – using wheels is easier than walking for many” said Wheels for Wellbeing’s director Isabelle Clement.

“In particular we must ensure that the Cycle Superhighways accommodate all types of cycles (trikes, handbikes, tandems, tag-alongs etc.), offer easy access on and off, and link seamlessly with other cycle routes and other modes of transport. This is particularly important for those for whom the cycle is also a mobility aid, who are not able to walk their cycle.”

Wheels for Wellbeing – who campaign for ‘inclusive’ cycling across London – want a consultation with TfL to ensure that the proposed ‘cycle superhighways’ allow for inclusive cycling and don’t exclude disabled cyclists.

“With the right design,” said Clement, “whether a Paralympian, a parent cycling their little ones to school or a cross-city hand-cycling commuter, everyone will be able to cycle comfortably along these much safer proposed routes.”

The proposed design for the superhighways includes two “continuous, largely segregated cycle routes” through central London, with cyclists “physically separated” from other road users.

A TfL spokesperson said “We have been in discussions with Wheels for Wellbeing about their concerns over segregated cycle lanes and have included guidance in the recently published draft London Cycle Design Standards to make sure the lanes are wide enough to accommodate “non-standard” cycles.”

A BBC investigation recently revealed that two researchers – one blind, one a wheelchair user – encountered depressing levels of difficulty using public transport. Five cabs refused to take a guide dog, while several shops and train stations couldn’t provide ramp access for the wheelchair.

The project 1000 Londoners has made a video profile of charity director and wheelchair cyclist, Isabelle Clement – watch her whizzing around London on her bike.