21 Oct 2008

Cycle strategy coming together

A busy, busy week - yesterday Green councillors meeting and an evening of Budget training for councillors, tonight a Ruscombe Brook Action Group meeting, the next couple of days there are evening scrutiny meetings....plus of course work which is also too busy at the mo...but more of all those meetings in a while but wanted to cover in this post the District's plans for a cycle policy...

Yes at last things are coming together and the Council has been talking to various community groups - you may have heard former Green Town councillor Sheila Booth (no relation!) on Stroud FM last week talking about the Stroud Valleys Cycle Campaign - I've not seen the policy documents yet - councillors are being treated to a Policy Panel next month on the issue - a chance to present and discuss ideas and hear from others - lots of talk about improved cycle facilities, places to lock-up bikes, better joined up cycle routes and more - one issue however that seems to have been missed from discussions is the 20 mph so I've emailed officers and some others in the hope that it wont be missed from the agenda....

Re Cycle Policy Panel

......I wanted to note that I applaud moves to improve cycling across the District. One factor that I have learnt plays an important role in encouraging cycling is a 20 mph. Indeed as I am sure you know, research has shown that 20mph limits are a critical success factor in promoting walking, cycling and public transport as alternatives to the private car. They help create 'living streets' as this is the speed at which drivers can have eye contact with other users of the street and is the speed at which allows more cyclists to feel comfortable about using roads.

In addition to that there is plenty of other evidence about the benefits of 20 mph: Britain's record for child safety on the roads is the worst in Europe. When a pedestrian is hit by a car at 40mph they only have a 15% chance of surviving, at 30mph, 55%, but at 20mph the chance of survival increases to 95%. In addition to less casualties research shows lower traffic speeds can mean reduced air and noise pollution, less fuel use and less congestion.

I consider that we need a default 20 mph in all our all towns and villages. Hull City Council has already reduced child pedestrian injuries by 75% in its 20mph zones while Portsmouth is implementing a 20mph limit Traffic Management Order for the whole town. I consider this should be one of the long term aims of any Cycle Policy and that the District should encourage the County to take a lead in this area.

All the best - Philip

Another issue re cycling policy is Shared Spaces - now I've discussed this at length before so wont cover it again here - but for those who are unfamiliar I strongly recommend my report from a few years ago - "Better Streets for Stroud District" here - and my article in Resurgence here. Not sure why text has gone bold and wont go unbold - anyhow we are a way off having a Shared Spaces approach across the District but things are moving in the right direction....anyhow enogh for now - more of cycle policy as it develops...

See also posts on Bike Week success, the Nailsworth to Stroud cycle path and the on-going need to try and get a serious cycle path along the canal (see here) - if the canal ever gets developed - the economics are increasingly not stacking up but I'll save that debate for another post - at least the 300 or so folk who cycled Stroud to Chalford this year in a mass protest seem to have woken the District Council to act - it seems the intention for a cycle strategy has been around for years but always a greater priority came along - now it is happening and we need to ensure it is the best possible.

2 comments:

russ said...

maybe it would be a good idea to have the bike equivalent of the AA. What with mobile phones now, people wouldn't have to be so worried about whether they got a puncture or something.

Philip Booth said...

I like that idea - although we are lucky with the cycle shops being evenly spread across the District - but not so easy when they are closed - I have had to push bike with a flat too far in the past!