Cycling groups in Harrow have called for improved cycle routes and better education for drivers to allow more people to feel safe on their bikes.

Veronica Chamberlain, representing Harrow Cyclists and Healthy Streets for Harrow, told a Harrow Council traffic and road safety advisory panel (TARSAP) last night (October 13) that it should recommend an urgent “strategic overview” of the borough’s road network.

It comes as the council continues to monitor recently implemented ‘Streetspace’ programmes, including low-traffic neighbourhoods, safety measures near schools, and new cycle lanes on key roads.

Ms Chamberlain welcomed these initiatives but suggested the council could go further still by extending the cycle lanes to cover all junctions and introducing more schemes to make cycling more attractive.

“People would cycle more if they feel safe,” she said. “This comes from safe, direct cycle routes and better driver behaviour.”

She added there should be a push for more cycle parking options, including bike hangars, around Harrow and for roads to be designed to “reduce cyclists’ waiting times”.

Her opinions were backed up by Roxeth Primary School governor Tara Furlong, who said walking and cycling in Harrow can be “intimidating” and that, often, “cyclists put their flesh on the line”.

And Emma Bradley, who has campaigned for low-traffic neighbourhoods in Headstone South, said the council must revamp its communications and engagement with residents when it comes to having fewer cars on the roads.

She suggested it should be made clear that, while one of the results of implementing low-traffic neighbourhoods is traffic disruption, this is an issue that is “likely to self-resolve in the medium to long term”.

She also called on the council to set out its strategic goals on any consultation page attached to the Streetspace schemes, including improving health, reducing congestion, improving air quality and setting out why they are being trialled for six months minimum.

“We all want to walk and cycle more, we want our kids to walk and cycle more, Harrow Council wants us to walk and cycle more, but why would anyone do so if there isn’t a safe and welcoming environment?” she said.

The Streetspace schemes in Harrow have been met with mixed opinions, with some acknowledging the potential health benefits attached but others questioning their effectiveness.