The importance of accessible cycle parking.
When the Baker Street 2-way project started, I noticed that the bike racks in the area were being removed and not being replaced. It was only when I went to the M&S in Marble Arch to do some shopping that I saw there were no longer any bike racks/railings nearby. I tried to find a lampost to which I could attach my bike and found one reasonably close to the back entrance. Then, a few weeks after the implementation of the 2-way system, I returned to find that the lampost had been removed. I searched in vain for somewhere reasonably close to both entrances of M&S to lock my bike, but couldn’t find one. I returned home, as I was unable to lock my bike anywhere close to the store and therefore do my shopping, as planned.
Is it any wonder that people are abandoning high street shops, just when we are being encouraged to cycle rather than use cars? I have been told that the nearest bike racks will be on Wigmore Street, as the footfall in that area is high. However, the nearest bike racks will be too far for me to walk with or without my shopping. In other words, it will be a trek given my mobility problems. As a disabled cyclist it is so much easier to do my shopping when I can park my bike adjacent to the store in question. To me, it is obvious that TfL and Baker Street have not taken into account those disabled cyclists who wish to use Selfridges’s.
I’ve cycled since the age of 7 and have had over ten operations. I can cycle everywhere with ease, which has given me an invaluable sense of freedom, meaning that I am on a par with someone else on two wheels. No one sees my disability on a bike. I only get funny looks when I get off my bike and walk. However, by not providing bike racks and removing street furniture, my ability to shop with ease is heavily impeded.