Positive messages around sharing of space

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    Pamela Williams

    We are working with local education establishments (1 college, 1 secondary and 1 primary) and a number of businesses in a busy area using multiple modes of transport including pedestrians, cyclists, legal e-scooters and vehicles. The area has lots of shared paths and one particular pinch point is under a railway bridge and although the shared space beneath the bridge is being widened as much as it physically can be, I am looking for any positive messages around sharing of space and keeping all road users safe. Has anyone done anything similar recently looking to share ideas. Many thanks in anticipation.

    Andrew Fraser

    Positive messages? Sorry, but this seems to me to be rather, well, desperate. Shared space is an highly questionable concept. It certainly isn’t enjoyed by all in my neck of the woods. Especially elderly, frail, deaf, blind, pram-pushing, dog-walking pedestrians. Apparently, we’ve all to jump aside (into the carriageway, presumably) for the sake of the cyclist, scooterist, etc. The silent majority, I believe, are becoming thoroughly fed up with it. So, no – I don’t have any “positive” messages about it, despite having been an enthusiastic cyclist in my youth.
    But there may be something I’m missing …

    Suzanne Aldridge

    I’m not sure if it’s helpful but we’ve recently created an animation on the subject of ‘sharing the space’ which has gone down well on social media. It’s been designed with positive messaging in mind focussing on the good things that happen when people are considerate to others. It mainly highlights road users (cars, motorcyclists, cyclists), however there are horse riders and pedestrians featured. Please let me know if you’d like to take a look, it may be helpful in triggering off some ideas for you.

    Peter Croft

    I tend to agree with Andrew Fraser. There is nothing positive about sharing “pedestrian space”. It is a poor compromise. Every time another “sharing category” is added, it increases the dangers (to all users). I am not averse to shared paths in principle, but they are an easy copout for local authorities to claim they are cyclist or environmental friendly. All too often, a “cycle path” is created by merely painting a white line down the middle of a pavement, or often no line at all. The problems and antagonism that creates is left to the users to sort out and suffer. Indeed, I usually cycle on the road because I find shared cycle paths too restrictive and more dangerous!
    Moving on, there is a far more insidious threat to pedestrians (and cyclists) on the horizon. The DfT is intent on legalising personal electric scooters ASAP, regardless of the outcome of the ongoing RENTAL trials. They intend to legislate for them “as close as possible to pedal cycles”, and be permitted “anywhere a pedal cycle is currently permitted”. The minimum age may be 14 as with e-bikes, but note e-bikes are pedal cycles. Hence, in 2-3 years time there will be 100,000s of e-scooters to add to the shared “pedestrian space”, the majority travelling at 25km/hr wherever they can. I await the first death caused by an e-scooter driving at 25km/hr into an extended dog lead, or into a child cyclist, or into the back of a mobility scooter at 4mph. E-scooters will, of course, be prohibited from pavements, but that’s pointless as cyclists (especially children) do already with impunity, and so will (do!) e-scooter riders. One unforeseen consequence is that mobility scooters lobbyist are demanding parity..ie the ability to drive at 25km/hr on shared use paths. The death toll for e-scooter riders in England and Wales is currently 10 (8men, 1woman, 1 child, average age 37 – so not reckless youths). Indeed, 6 have been killed between 16June and 5August alone, equating to a death rate of ONE DEATH EVERY 10 DAYS. ALL were riding personal e-scooters ILLEGALLY, not rentals. There have been numerous well publicised pedestrian victims including two 3year olds and a policeman, but no victim fatality yet (unlike Paris last month when 2 nurses on an e-scooter killed a pedestrian in a hit&run – one has been charged with aggravated manslaughter). Yet Halfords and Argos continue to sell them. The rental trials are a red herring. They are NOT representative of personal e-scooter rider behaviour. NONE of the behavioural controls imposed on e-scooter renters can be applied to personal e-scooter riders.
    So, my positive message about sharing the “pedestrian space” is MAKE SURE MOTORISED VEHICLES OF ALL DESIGNS ARE PROHIBITED IN SHARED PEDESTRIAN SPACES. Unfortunately, these days it is politically incorrect to challenge anything electric because “everything electric must be environmentally friendly”, and of course COVID friendly also.
    Note to editor. I suggest you add “e-scooters” as a distinct category on the website. They are yet another mechanism for death and injury on our streets and pavements.

    Colin Savage

    Hi Pamela
    Devon County Council’s Share this Space program https://www.traveldevon.info/cycle/safe-cycling/share-this-space/ includes films, animations, images and advice. Happy to chat discuss further by email or phone.

    Andrew Fraser

    Many thanks for the facts, Peter.
    As to Devon’s program (sic), as usual, the deaf have been overlooked.

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