A call from the College of Paramedics to reconsider the introduction of fully segregated cycle lanes in cities has received backing from the haulage industry.
The College of Paramedics has said that kerbed cycle lanes make it much harder for motorists to pull over to one side to allow emergency vehicles to pass.
Richard Webber, a paramedic and spokesman for the college, said every minute that a critically ill patient is delayed from receiving hospital treatment reduces their chance of survival significantly.
Webber said paramedics are reporting increasing delays in city areas with kerbed cycle lanes and called for town planners to re-think the introduction of fully segregated lanes.
“If you are trying to get to an emergency call, particularly at rush hour when the roads are very slow-moving, you’re not able to use your sirens to any effect to get people out of the way because there is nowhere for them to go,” Webber said, adding: “You just end up sitting behind them waiting.”
The College of Paramedics also raised concerns about the design of London’s cycle superhighways, which, it claims, are impeding the flow of emergency vehicles and creating queues of ambulances outside hospitals including The Royal London Hospital, which is a major centre for emergency care.
Cities including Bristol, Edinburgh, London and Manchester have introduced segregated lanes, with similar projects in the pipeline for other towns and cities across the UK.
RHA deputy policy director Duncan Buchanan told Freight in the City: “The college is highlighting a key point. The road is there for all road users and needs to be fit for purpose for all road users.
“If kerbed cycle lanes are preventing vehicles from getting out of the way of emergency vehicles or preventing broken-down vehicles from being pushed out of the way of other road users, then it is clear there is a network design issue.”
The Brewery Logistics Group also called for a review of cycle lane design.
Chairman Mike Bracey said: “I can understand the College of Paramedics’ concern on this issue. Segregated cycle lanes are creating even more traffic congestion and delays in London and elsewhere for all road users. That in turn is creating more emissions, so if the Ultra Low Emission Zone in London is ever going to work they will have to redesign cycle lanes.
“These cycle lanes are mainly used in peak times and empty the rest of the time – so very often you will see a queue of traffic idling next to an empty cycle lane. Something has to be done.”