Friday 14 May 2004 3.07pm
I understand the point you are trying to make, but I simply do not agree with it. It's the age old argument driven by a form of nimbyism: if you allow something then it opens the floodgates for the more extreme element to take over. Should we prohibit driving cars on roads because there's an element of drivers break the speed limit / drive dangerously / drive drunk??? No, we penalise those drivers who are caught breaking those specific laws. The responsible drivers can drive responsibly.
Let's address a couple of examples:
1. We allow people to cycle RESPONSIBLY on the bridge alonside the pedestrians. Police will still patrol the bridge - AS THEY DO NOW - and hand out penalty notices if they find people cycling IRRESPONSIBILY. They key difference to the current situation is that I risk a £30 fine if a policeman catches me cycling on the bridge, even if I'm doing so responsibly.
2. Someone stops right in front of me to take a picture. I brake and stop in a controlled manner and neither I nor my daughter falls off! It may surprise you to know, but stopping a bike isn't difficult. Have you tried it?
You say it's not a lot to ask to walk across a bridge that was designed for pedestrians. My reply to this is twofold:
1. Everywhere else in Europe "designed for pedestrians" would read "designed for pedestrians and cyclists". In other words, a 20 foot wide bridge such as the Millennium Bridge
would be used by both pedestrians and cyclists under its current design.
2. See my point earlier about getting off a bike and walking with it when you're carrying a 20 kg child in a child-seat. The bike is far more stable whilst being ridden than being walked. AND I dare say it is far more manageable to ride the bike with a child on the back than negotiate a bike in one hand and a 4 year old child in the other! Try it and see!