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Neighbours on London Fields estate protest over 'reckless' cyclists 'posing threat' to children

PUBLISHED: 15:29 30 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:41 30 April 2019

Eric Phillips and Carol King. Picture: Nina Lloyd

Eric Phillips and Carol King. Picture: Nina Lloyd

Archant

A group of fed up neighbours claiming "reckless" cyclists are knocking over children outside a block of flats in London Fields set up a road block in protest this morning.

Jacqueline Hoilett with her son's banner. Picture: Nina LloydJacqueline Hoilett with her son's banner. Picture: Nina Lloyd

Eric Phillips, 75, was one of the group from the Blackstone Estate putting up placards and fences in the controversial stretch of road, forcing cyclists to either take a different route or get off and wheel their bike through.

The team spent the morning encouraging confused passers-by to sign a petition for a council-funded cycle lane to be put up on the opposite side of the fence, inside the park.

“Children come out here on their way to school and they can hear a car but they can't hear a bike,” said Eric. “Kids have fallen down and been injured badly.”

The blockage was met with frustration by cyclists, but demonstrators told them the goal was to raise awareness of the problem and that similar protests will continue to take place until the council responds to the petition.

Roger Connolly outside his home. The crutch is not related to cyclists. Picture: Nina LloydRoger Connolly outside his home. The crutch is not related to cyclists. Picture: Nina Lloyd

“Get used to it,” said one in response to an angry cyclist.

Roger Connolly added: “I've seen someone nearly die here after a cyclist flew past them. Someone will end up getting killed. The council used to listen back when I worked for them and it was brilliant. We're sick of being ignored by them.”

Jacqueline Hoilett lives nearby and witnessed her seven-year-old son get knocked over by a “hit-and-run” cyclist last year.

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“He literally just stepped onto the path and the bike just hit him and he went flying over the handlebars and fell in the middle of the tarmac. The cyclist was an adult man and just cycled off. He has a scar on his head now.

“I understand bikes are good for the environment, but the council aren't thinking about the crossover between the environment and people's immediate safety.”

Carol King, another resident, said: “When you do ask people to slow down on their bikes, you get something along the lines of 'who are you? Why are you talking to me? I'm in a hurry.'”

She said the danger arises from the close proximity of the houses and the double yellow lines directly outside.

Eric Phillips and Carol King. Picture: Nina LloydEric Phillips and Carol King. Picture: Nina Lloyd

The council suggested planting shrubs and flowerbeds outside the houses, but demonstrators claimed this will only serve as an added obstacle.

Eric claimed the area was “clearly a footpath,” but also insisted the group want speed bumps brought back.

One cyclist said: “This is a public highway, and there's no sign to say it's not. There's clearly a lot of issues here with regard to what this space actually is, but lone cyclists really aren't the problem. What you're doing here is segregating yourselves.”

Andy Wilkinson, 32, an architect passing by on his bike, said: “I can see their perspective and it is a really busy area. There needs to be a bit of infrastructure here that helps both sides, but cyclists are generally really considerate people.”

Hackney Council has been approached for comment.

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