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St thomas bus stopGuy’s and St Thomas‘ NHS Trust today released full details of its objections to Transport for London proposals to build segregated cycle lanes on either side of Westminster bridge.

The concerns focus on the use of “floating” bus stops and the fear that this will cause collisions between cyclists and patients as they board and alight from the bus.

My story appears in today’s Evening Standard and can be found on our website here: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/hospital-angers-londons-cyclists-by-trying-to-block-westminster-bridge-bike-lane-a3247071.html

TfL was unable to respond fully but indicated that 75 per cent of respondents to a consultation backed the cycle lanes. It said the stewards at Elephant & Castle, where floating bus stops were introduced last month, were only used until May 4 and said there had been no reported problems (though I witnessed a couple of near misses when I passed through the area recently).

Update: Cyclists in the City says that TfL reports no incidents at the floating bus stop on the CS2 cycle superhighway outside the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel.

westminster bridge

See here for my story in March about TfL’s plans for Westminster bridge – the fourth Thames crossing to get segregated cycle lanes: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/westminster-bridge-to-have-segregated-cycle-superhighway-a3206481.html

Here is the press release issued today by the Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS trust:

PRESS RELEASE                           Issue date: Friday 13 May 2016

Petition launched to challenge ‘dangerous’ bus stop outside hospital

A petition calling on Transport for London (TfL) to rethink proposals for a ‘floating’ bus stop outside St Thomas’ Hospital is being backed by groups representing patients, people affected by sight loss, and pensioners.

They are concerned that TfL’s plans for new cycle lanes and bus stops on Westminster Bridge Road are dangerous. Hospital patients, visitors and staff getting off buses would have to cross a busy cycle lane to reach the hospital.

Sir Hugh Taylor, Chairman of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, says: “We support cycling as part of our commitment to promoting healthier travel to work and reducing environmental pollution, for example by enabling staff to buy bikes as a tax-free benefit through a salary sacrifice scheme.

“However, we believe that TfL’s plans for cycle lanes and so-called ‘floating’ bus stops on Westminster Bridge pose risks to both pedestrians and cyclists.

“We are particularly concerned about the impact on patients and carers, especially the elderly, disabled, and families with children in buggies and wheelchairs coming to Evelina London Children’s Hospital at St Thomas’.”

Guy’s and St Thomas’ launched an online petition on Monday (9 May) which has already been signed by more than 400 people.

The petition is being supported by Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey, whose constituency includes St Thomas’ Hospital. She is calling on the newly elected Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to intervene personally.

She warns: “TfL’s plans for so-called ‘floating’ bus stops are potentially dangerous. Every day thousands of patients – many of them elderly, pregnant or with sick children – use the bus stop outside St Thomas’.

 “The present plans ignore this vulnerable population and I do not believe that adequate thought has been given to their needs. The new Mayor must step in to stop TfL ignoring the hospital, patients and the local community.”

 Ellen Lebethe, Chairman of Lambeth Pensioners Action Group, agrees: “All Londoners, especially the most vulnerable, have the right to safety on the roads and not to have their safety and lives compromised.

 “Older people visiting St Thomas’ as patients or as visitors should have the same confidence when crossing the roads as they do in their healthcare.”

Marsha de Cordova, Engagement and Advocacy Director of Thomas Pocklington Trust – a national charity which supports people affected by sight loss – adds: “TfL’s plans for a cycle superhighway and ‘floating’ bus stop at the south end of Westminster Bridge will be dangerous to pedestrians, particularly blind and partially sighted people.”

Professor John Porter is Lead Governor of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Council of Governors which includes elected representatives of patients, members of the public and staff.

Professor Porter says: “We are very concerned that having to cross a busy, uncontrolled cycle lane will put often vulnerable people at considerable risk.”