Campaign launched for child-safe cycle paths in Tuffnell Park

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Islington Cyclists Action Group. Photo: Kitty Teague

Volunteers campaigning for safer cycling routes gathered on Saturday to launch the Tufnell Park Cycle To School Campaign.

The campaigners had a stall at Tufnell Park Farmer’s Market to raise awareness for the project and organised a family friendly bike ride in the afternoon.

The campaign is to create a network of cycle paths which will be safe enough to allow children to cycle to school unaccompanied. It also hopes to raise awareness of the benefits of cycling and encourage more people to opt for it to be their standard mode of transport.

The bike riders travelled along one of the proposed routes. The path started in Tufnell Park Playing Fields and then went round the local schools in the area.

Statistics reveal that 33 percent of children in the borough would like to cycle to school but less than 3 percent do. This project was started because of the volunteers’ beliefs that people are put off cycling because it is considered unsafe.

David Lincoln, who is leading the campaign, said: “It’s our belief that the roads look and feel unsafe and so parents are unwilling to let their children cycle. If you look at the streets in the area, you can see cyclists around but you can’t see any children cycling.

“The idea of the campaign is to propose a route which will allow us to focus resources so we can work on streets to make them look and feel safer.”

Mr Lincoln, an accident and emergency nurse who lives on Tufnell Park Road, feels a personal connection to the cause not only because of his job but also because he has young children whom he would like to cycle to school for the health benefits.

He said: “You’ve got more chance of dying from inactivity than from dying after being involved in a cycling accident. With increasing levels of obesity amongst children and increasing levels of chronic disease that lead to ill health in later life, these things could be prevented easily by active travel, like cycling.”

Allison Dines, the campaign’s coordinator, said: “The specific aim of the campaign is to try and raise awareness and gain support for the campaign. Today we’re specifically promoting the idea of a route around local schools which would be developed so that it is a safe route which children can use to cycle to school unaccompanied.”

The campaign is connected to the Islington Cycling Action Group, which is part of a charity called the London Cycling Campaign.