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Coronavirus car-free zones coming in for London, Manchester and Brighton

Coronavirus car-free zones are being introduced in Brighton and London as cyclists and pedestrians have already been given exclusive access to a road in Manchester.

The move to allow people to socially distance comes as police caught out ‘extreme speeds’ of up to 151mph over Easter. 

Councils are considering closing off entire streets to stop them turning into rat runs for vehicles. 

Cyclists in Hackney, East London (pictured), could soon have entire roads free of cars

Cyclists in Hackney, East London (pictured), could soon have entire roads free of cars

Cyclists in Hackney, East London (pictured), could soon have entire roads free of cars 

Brighton (pictured) is also bringing in car-free zones to ensure that people can exercise while practising social distancing

Brighton (pictured) is also bringing in car-free zones to ensure that people can exercise while practising social distancing

Brighton (pictured) is also bringing in car-free zones to ensure that people can exercise while practising social distancing 

London, Manchester and Brighton were among the first to propose the converting of roads into temporary bike lanes.

During lockdown there has been a sharp drop in the number of vehicles on the road, with up to a 75 per cent decline, The Times reports.   

Stephen Edwards, director of policy and communications at Living Streets, a charity that promotes walking, says the pandemic is showing how much space is handed over to cars rather than pedestrians and cyclists.

He says trying to keep two metres apart from others has revealed that many of the UK’s footways are too narrow and that it is was already a problem for people who use wheelchairs and buggies before the outbreak.

Tib Street in central Manchester is already closed off from cars and two temporary cycles or running lines have been created.

Hackney Council in East London is planning to use plants and bollards on certain streets to create cycling lanes but claims it will keep access for emergency vehicles. 

Brighton has also confirmed that it is planning to bring in car-free streets similar to those in Berlin, Mexico City and Bogota.    

Motorists were caught driving at ‘extreme speeds’ over the Easter weekend with one driver clocked at 151mph.

The Metropolitan Police also caught a driver travelling at 97mph in a 40 zone and four drivers going over 100mph on the A13.

Detective Sergeant Andy Cox, Scotland Yard’s lead officer on roads policing, posted video footage of a pursuit on the M1 where speeds reached more than double the limit.

He said: ‘Extreme speeds this wkend in #London. Many enforced including 97mph (40) on #A10.

‘This driver reached 151mph on #M1 before decamping car & evading on foot. We will do upmost to identify & take action.’

Drivers have been taking advantage of quieter roads, with four in 10 cars exceeding the speed limit in Greater Manchester, mayor Andy Burnham said last week.

The region’s mayor said figures show an expected large decrease in the number of vehicles on the roads, but the number of speeding motorists has doubled.

Meanwhile, two other police forces said they had seen an increase in speeding and warned motorists not to drive irresponsibly during the travel restrictions.

North Wales Police caught a driver travelling at 113mph on the A55 at Northop and another at 101mph on the A5 near Corwen, while North Yorkshire Police said a BMW was clocked travelling at 132mph on the A168 at Asenby, near Thirsk.

 

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