Happy May Day to everyone in Richmond Park. We have come through a full calendar month in lockdown and have positive results to show for our efforts. Thank you for all you are doing to stay home and follow government guidelines. Please keep going, though, as we are not out of the woods yet. We still need to do more to protect people who are frail, sick or disabled, and their carers.

SHARING THE ROAD

I think we can all agree that inconsiderate people do not helpfully stick to one form of transport. There are pedestrians who stare at their phones, joggers who brush past pedestrians, cyclists who jump red lights and motorists who cut up cyclists and then immediately turn left. I think in many cases this friction arises from a lack of understanding rather than from selfishness. Accordingly, I have made requests in previous posts for joggers to give even more room to pedestrians, and for cyclists to leave the narrow tow paths to people on foot. Today I want to ask motorists to remember that cyclists have an equal right to use the roads, and to please take responsibility for ensuring that your vehicle does not endanger them. Here are a few things to be aware of:

• Cyclists are not obliged, legally or otherwise, to hug the left side of the lane, even if there is a bike lane there. Hazards near the edge of the road or social distancing often make the middle of the lane safer, and this is perfectly legal. Cyclists need to take the full lane if they intend to turn right across traffic or go straight over a roundabout.
• According to official guidance, a car passing a cyclist should leave at least 1.5m clearance between itself and a cyclist (and more if travelling 30mph or more. This means that unless the cyclist is in a very good cycle lane the car will almost always need to move well into another lane in order to pass them safely. It is not safe to squeeze past a cyclist in the same lane, even if they are hugging the kerb.
• As a passing car will need to use the oncoming lane to pass a cyclist with the safe 1.5m minimum clearance, cyclists riding two abreast will actually be making it easier for cars to pass them safely, not harder, because the car will need to spend less time in the oncoming lane.

Please, no matter how you are getting around, be respectful and considerate of everyone around you whether they are walking, running, riding or driving.

SAFE SPACES AT BOOTS FOR DOMESTIC ABUSE VICTIMS

People living with domestic abuse will be able to access safe spaces at Boots pharmacies from today. Those needing help can ask staff at the counter to use the consultation room, where they will be able to contact services for help and advice.
Charity Hestia launched the scheme in response to the desperate situation many people are facing. There has been a surge in violence since the lockdown began, with calls to the National Domestic Abuse helpline up by 49% and killings doubled. Thank you to Boots for offering to help, and please pass this info on to anyone who may need it.

NATIONAL ARCHIVES

The National Archives are offering free access to all of the digital records on their website while they are closed. Registered users can order and download up to 10 items at a time, up to a maximum of 50 items over a 30-day period. You can read more about the service here.

NEWS

RICHMOND RUGBY FOOD BANK DONATIONS
Richmond Rugby Community Department is working to help ensure thousands of residents receive essential goods and support. They have a drop off point at the Richmond Athletic Ground from 12pm – 4pm on Saturdays, where you can donate non-perishable food and second hand tech, which will collected by The Dons Local Action Group and then delivered to those most in need across South West London. Second hand tech items could be old laptops or tablets that could help kids keep up with their learning or keep in touch with their friends. For further information or if you’re interested in volunteering to help at the drop off point please contact Dom on: CommunityDept@richmondfc.co.uk

KEW GARDENS POST OFFICE REOPENING
With so many post offices unable to stay open at the moment I was pleased to hear that Kew Gardens post office will be reopening from Monday May 4, 10:30-2:30, Monday to Friday only. Kew residents will be happy to see them again, I’m sure.

Sarah

Sarah Olney MP
www.SarahOlneyMP.org.uk
email: office@saraholneymp.org.uk

Earlier updates can be accessed here.