LTNs, Covid heroes, women's safety and cancer support

Traffic filter in Hackney Downs Low Traffic Neighbourhood. Picture: Hackney Council

Traffic filter in Hackney Downs Low Traffic Neighbourhood - Credit: Hackney Council

Walkers and cyclists, not motorists, make us safer

A Springfield resident, full name and address supplied, writes:

Regarding Clair Battaglino’s delivery of a letter to Hackney Council claiming that roads being filtered as part of the Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) scheme are making women feel less safe on the streets of Hackney:

I’m a woman who lives in Hackney, as are my sisters, mother, and most of my friends. Indeed, I am a Hackney Council tenant living on an estate next to a main road. 

Neither me nor any of the women I’ve spoken to about this (aged between 19 and 79 years old) feel that people in cars, driving past us as we walk or cycle, keep us safe in any way whatsoever.

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All of us feel significantly safer walking or cycling along streets where plenty of other people are also walking or cycling.

Whenever we have felt threatened in the streets we are relieved to say passers by have always intervened to support us – passers by who were fellow walkers or cyclists.
We have never experienced a car driver stopping to offer any assistance whatsoever.

Also none of us have ever been hospitalised by a pedestrian or cyclist, whereas three of us have been by cars. Therefore we strongly support LTN’s, which we see returning traffic to the main roads and improving life in Hackney, for all residents, beyond measure.

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We hope our council will stand strong on this matter and continue to work on reducing traffic throughout our borough and improving life for all residents.

Covid - A Year On: tribute to heroes

Ray Wilkinson, chair, St John Priory Group (Greater London), writes:

March 23 marked the anniversary of the first Covid-19 lockdown and your readers will be very aware of the huge and continuing efforts to tackle the pandemic by our colleagues in the NHS, our St John Ambulance volunteers and many other organisations nationwide. Details of our work over the last 12 months can be found on our website:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all these groups in Greater London for their ongoing work to keep us safe and help us move carefully into the post-Covid period – whether they are working in vaccination centres, training vaccinators, working in hospitals, crewing ambulances or providing a wide range of other vital services in their communities. We should all also take some time to remember those who lost their lives over the past 12 months.

Another date we will soon be marking is St John’s Day on June 24. Traditionally, our volunteers and staff have used this as an opportunity to reflect on the work of our charity around the country and take part in an annual service of rededication in the magnificent surroundings of St Paul’s Cathedral. This year, coronavirus will make this impossible.

Last year we observed St John’s Day in a variety of new and different ways because of the pandemic, and one of the most visible events was the lighting up in green of more than 40 buildings and landmarks around the country. We are hoping that many more buildings will light up in green in 2021 and, if you are a building owner or custodian and would like to get involved in this year’s event, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us at to find out more and register.

Readers who wish to help us with a donation can also take part in our new Spring into Action campaign and support our volunteers as they continue to step forward to give vital support to those in need across the country. 

We need a zero road death target

Sian Berry, London Assembly member and Green Party candidate for mayor of London, writes:

Despite lockdowns, nearly 100 people died on our roads last year, and over half of these terrible and unnecessary losses were people walking or riding bikes.

As the first Green mayor of London, my target would be to eliminate road danger. 
Other cities have driven road deaths down to zero: recently both Oslo and Helsinki have recorded no walking or cycling deaths at all in a year.

London needs the same zero road deaths target. No firefighter runs into a burning building with a target of rescuing half the people from the blaze. They want to save every single life. 

And one of the first things I’ll do is get speeds down. 

A 20 mph speed limit on all roads with a pavement will be an important first step towards saving every life we can.  

With Caroline Russell on the London Assembly I have pushed for a default 20 mph speed limit, but Labour members sadly blocked it. It’s time for a new start in City Hall.

Safety concerns when travelling 

A woman from Newham has described the ordeal she suffered when a man sexually assaulted her on a rus

Young people want to see more visible staff and police presence on transport - Credit: TfL

Emma Gibson, director, London TravelWatch, writes:

Our recent research with Londoners showed that concerns about personal safety while moving around the capital are heightened at the moment.

We picked up these concerns from all genders, but particularly among

, to tackle anti-social behaviour. 

We also picked up a higher level of worry among BAME people about their health and wellbeing when they are travelling to and from work. 

With 60 per cent of key workers being women, its particularly important that transport operators listen and respond to the concerns of the people who are having to travel at the moment. 

The pandemic has heightened concern about safety in general and more will need to be done to reassure everyone that it is safe to come back and travel.

All of us in the transport industry need to listen to women and other marginalised groups, prioritise measures that improve safety, and hold accountable those who make others unsafe.

Cancer patients need extra help

Rachel Rawson, Breast Cancer Now clinical nurse specialist, writes:

Living with or beyond breast cancer is never easy – treatment, scans and the physical and mental impacts can take their toll.

Entering the first national lockdown a year ago today, people affected by breast cancer faced additional challenges, such as appointments and treatments being paused or cancelled, and at a time of social isolation and separation from loved ones.

As a clinical nurse specialist on Breast Cancer Now’s Helpline, I hear daily how the pandemic has exacerbated an already worrying and uncertain time for people affected by breast cancer. 

That’s why, when Covid-19 paused our face-to-face events and courses, we rapidly moved our services online, so that we could continue to be there for people who we know need our support now more than ever – our online services mean we’re one click away for anyone, at any time, following a breast cancer diagnosis.

Thanks to support received from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, our Moving Forward Online courses help people adjust to life after hospital treatment, offering specialist information and the chance to connect in a safe space with others who understand. Through Younger Women Together Online, women aged up to 45 join small groups to meet and hear from experts on issues including treatment, fertility, exercise, and mental health.

For people living with incurable secondary breast cancer, we know how valuable it is to connect with others who share similar uncertainties and challenges, so our Living With Secondary Breast Cancer Online course is available 24/7, offering emotional wellbeing support and information.

No-one should face breast cancer alone; we’re always here, via the Breast Cancer Now helpline and our online services. 

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