24 Mar 2010

Cycling: disappointment with County

Here is a letter I sent yesterday to Stroud life:

Photo: Bicycle can be loaned by the hour in Oslo and dropped back to any number of key sites across the city

Dear Sir,

Stan Waddington's response in Stroud Life regarding the Nailsworth to Stroud cycle path, shows how far we need to travel in terms of support for cycling. The cabinet member for the environment, said the status of that path didn't need changing nor was there a need to improve cycling on the road. This means cyclists and the many other users on this key route must continue to endure the deeply unsatisfactory conditions of this muddy and potholed track. It is time this situation was improved.

In contrast Copenhagen has invested in cycling for years. Every day people cycle over 1.2 million kilometres in Copenhagen and cyclists rights take precedence over other road users. In winter, snow is cleared from cycle lanes before it is from other parts of the road network and traffic lights are set to favour cyclists. Already 37% of all commuters cycle to work and over 100 km of new cycle routes are planned throughout the city with an aim to have 55% of people cycling to work by 2025!

In Gloucestershire it is also disappointing that the County is dragging it's heels over mandatory 20 mph zones. These limits have been shown to increase cycling and walking, and cut casualties. In Portsmouth all residential roads, bar arterial routes, now have a speed limit of 20 mph and they have cut casualties by 15%.

In Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe we are actually being asked to remove the '20 is Plenty' road signs, which we had hoped would be a step towards a mandatory limit across all residential areas. I am at least, slightly reassured, that the County is looking into 20 mph zones in the light of the Government's guidelines. 20 mph in residential areas cannot come too soon. We need to invest in walking and cycling improvements and return to seeing our streets as places for communities not just transport corridors.

Cllr. Philip Booth,
Stroud District councillor for the Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe ward

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