Report of the Director of the Built Environment.
The Committee considered a report of the Director of the Built Environment proposing a formal Code of Conduct for cycle tour groups using narrow lanes and streets in the City in response to a Wardmote resolution from the Ward of Farringdon Within.
Officers reported that this had proved to be a particular issue on Carter Lane during the lunch time period. Members were informed that Officers had already been working alongside cycle tour groups to gain a better understanding of the issues but that a more formal approach was now proposed in the form of a Code of Conduct.
Members were informed that the cycle tour groups were choosing to use Carter Lane as alternative routes were utilised by buses and had large volumes of traffic. It was, however, proposed that the tour groups dismounted their bicycles to pass through this narrow lane at busy times. Officers were pleased to report that all four of the tour operators concerned had responded positively to the proposed Code. It was suggested that if Members of the public had any continued complaints, they should look to provide Officers with photographic evidence so that the matter could be taken up directly with the relevant tour group.
The Deputy Chairman hailed this as a positive move and thanked Officers for their efforts. Another Member agreed that this was a helpful and constructive move and questioned whether there had been any consultation with local stakeholders on the production of the Code. Officers reported that no such consultation had taken place to date but that this could be explored in terms of how the Code might now be implemented.
A Member questioned whether the fact that the Code had been well received by tour operators meant that they would adhere to it. Officers reported that all four operators had been contacted directly on the matter with two having already begun to implement the Code and provide relevant information on it to their tour guides. The remaining two had stated that they would be happy to look at implementing the Code if it were to be approved by this Committee.
A Member commented that the proposed Code of Conduct had already been well received by the press and was also something which the tour operators would hopefully find useful. She went on to question whether the Code could also incorporate the use of electric scooters in the City going forward given their increasing presence. Officers reported that use of e-scooters on public highway was illegal at present. Members were informed that the City of London Police were currently pursuing this matter but that it continued to be an issue that the Department of Transport were looking at with a potential view to legalising their use in future.
A Member stated that she had some difficulty with the report which seemed to be a sticking plaster for one particular area rather than a solution to the wider problem. She went on to highlight that no traffic was currently permitted to use Carter Lane until after 6pm. However, as this was an area with increasing pedestrian usage, it still remained very crowded after this time. She went on to question why cycle tours would be required to dismount here but not cyclists in general and stated that, in her opinion, this area should not be open to traffic at all. She suggested that traffic usage and timing both here and in other areas with increasing pedestrian usage such as Bow Lane needed to be re-visited.
Officers clarified that it was difficult to engage with individual cycle users as efficiently as with those on cycle tours on these matters.
RESOLVED – That Members approve the proposed Code of Conduct for cycle tour groups.