Whitchurch has shown support for a major national cycle campaign, which was started by The Times last month. At the last full Town Council meeting Councillors voted unanimously to support in principle the manifesto for safe cycling put forward, and now being taken forward by many cycling groups.
Safer roads for all
The proposal was put to the Council by local cyclist John Buckley, a nationally accredited cycling instructor, who has recently been training cycling paramedic support for the Olympic Park, as well as instructing children and adults in road confidence. He called for the town to set a lead amongst smaller communities for the more vulnerable road users – not just for cyclists but for pedestrians too who have to deal with the growing dangers associated with a motor-dominated road culture.
With large towns and cities throughout the UK supporting the national campaign John said…
It is not just the larger cities and towns that need to focus on this issue. It is just as important for small rural communities such as ours where traffic levels are growing and population is increasing. Watch the lorries driving on pavements; the pedestrians and cyclists jumping out of their way.
This national campaign is a welcome start in redressing the balance to give greater consideration to the more vulnerable road user and to give our communities back to the people.
Debate in Parliament
The ‘Cyclesafe’ campaign had hit the headlines with a three-hour debate in Parliament, attended by local MP Sir George Young, known as the ‘cycling baronet’. It follows a number of casualties particularly involving HGVs in towns, and that the UK has one of the worst records for safety for child cyclists and pedestrians.
The main points of the manifesto include:
- Sensors, alarms, extra mirrors and safety bars for lorries
- Identification of dangerous junctions and installation of priority lights and ‘Trixie mirrors’
- An audit on cycling numbers
- Budget for cycle routes, and cycling infrastructure
- Training of cyclists and drivers, including cycle safety within the driving test
- 20mph default speed limit in residential areas where there are no cycle lanes
- Sponsorship of cycleways and bike hire schemes
- Appointment of a cycling ‘commissioner’ to push for reforms.
The hope is that a local forum can be created that will look at local road safety issues, for all road users in the town, pedestrian, cyclist, driver – anyone interested in assisting with this can contact John HERE.
Jubilee Cycle Route
As well as the safety aspects, the ‘Cyclesafe’ campaign is also promoting the Joy of Cycling and the fun that can be gained from just going for a gentle ride.
Support in principle was also gained for a proposed ‘informal’ Jubilee Cycle Route that has been drawn up using part of the National Cycle Network and local country roads. This will be launched in early June, with a ride being arranged in July and certificates awarded to all who complete it. It could be ridden at any time – to experience that Joy.
Also outlined to the Town Council was a forthcoming fact-finding cycle ride for elected representatives who represent Whitchurch, to look at issues in the town area that affect cyclists, from surfaces to road junctions.
Summer of Cycling
Meanwhile, the launch of the national Summer of Cycling has taken place at Westminster which has been given support by Minister for Transport, Norman Baker.
This will see many events being held throughout the country.