Safer roads need joined up thinking

Today the most dangerous junctions for cyclists in London were revealed and at number 5 was the junction of Upper Tooting Road  / Lessingham Avenue and Ansell Road. As a cyclist down that road, it does not surprise me in the slightest, especially when cycling towards Tooting. Over 5 years, 34 incidents were reported to police, no doubt, there have been countless more unreported.

Lessingham Ave

This when it was revealed that TfL had underspent their road safety budget by over £50m this financial year. Already in 2015 we have had 4 cycle deaths, and for TfL to be underspending their safety budget is a travesty. Of course, it’s not just TfL’s responsibility on Upper Tooting Road, but also Wandsworth Council, who control the traffic off Upper Tooting Road.

Lessingham Ave and Ansell Road are being used as rat runs, which contributes to the problem, and more needs to be done to tackle this. Aside from denying motorists access, which is unrealistic, there are a number of solutions such as making the junctions have legal STOP signs rather than Give Way, or consider how best to manage the traffic flow with additional traffic lights. I also feel that managing the late night parking on Upper Tooting Road is an issue when cycling in the evening, the poor visibility for motorists (and cyclists) because of the parked cars.

Action now, not after another 34 (reported) incidents or even a death.

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Why do people, and by definition me, get involved in politics

This week for the ordinary person they’re probably thinking about half term entertainment or what to give up for lent. For the politicos out there, general election fever is slowly coming to the boil, but what makes thousands of activists give up their free time, and those like me, stand for election?

I’ve had to think about it, because it’s something that crosses my mind whenever I ask a volunteer to help with a campaign, a voter asks why they should vote Liberal Democrat, or friends ask me why I am standing for an election. It’s because of the type of society I would like to see in the UK, and the world, and who I think is best to deliver, or campaign for this.

For me, it’s a world where each individual has the opportunity to make the most of how they live their life, a society strong in civil liberties and evidence based policies.

And when I look at the policies the Liberal Democrats, and by definition the coalition Government, have delivered over the past 5 years it makes me realise that there has been a liberal theme. A theme, which resonants with me, and those who give up their time for the party.

On life opportunities helping pupils from the poorest backgrounds so their future is not dependent on their birth; giving an income tax cut for millions of ordinary working people; shared parental leave so families can decide how best to care for their children; ensuring the state pensions are delivering a dignified retirement.

Scrapping ID cards for civil liberty reasons; blocking the Tories “Snoopers Charter” and delivering on same sex marriage. Evidence based policies such as introducing free school meals, as trials showed they improved educational results for all pupils. It’s why the Liberal Democrats want to tackle drug and criminal reform as the current processes aren’t working.

It’s one thing to say what the Lib Dems have done (good and bad), it’s then another to show what a liberal Britain can look like. I will cover more of that in another post, but I truly believe that a strong liberal voice, whether in Government or opposition is essential for the UK, and I will be campaigning over the coming months (and years!) to make that voice heard.