Last week saw the launch of the national Space for Cycling campaign.
Originating in London, it has now spread nationwide and has the full support of British Cycling, CTC, Sustrans, CycleNation and hundreds of local cycling groups including our own King’s Lynn Bicycle Users Group.
For years, increasing numbers of cyclists have battled for survival on the road, or annoyed pedestrians by riding on the footways unhelpfully turned into ‘shared-use’ paths by well-meaning but often misguided local authorities.
It’s no wonder so many people give up the bike and get back in the car. At last, cyclists are fighting back. We want to see our income and council taxes actually spent on things that benefit us – and in the long term everybody else too, as congestion and pollution decreases as more people get out of their cars.
So what do we actually need if cycling is going to became a safe, convenient mode of transport for anyone aged eight to 80?
Space for Cycling sets out six areas for attention.
I’ve given a few local examples of what could be achieved:
1. Protected space on main roads and at junctions. Imagine how much nicer for everyone London Road would be with just two general traffic lanes between wide, free-
flowing cycle lanes instead of the confusing mess we have now.
2. Removal of through motor traffic on residential streets. An end to rat-running traffic on the Fairstead, North Lynn and the Friars.
3. Lower speed limits. Obvious really – 20mph is plenty for streets where people live, work, shop or play.
4. Cycle-friendly town centres. They’ve made a good start with the Tuesday Market Place – let’s hope they continue the good work.
5. Routes through green spaces and parks. Lynn actually does this rather well. The problem is now that the routes through The Walks are so popular they need upgrading.
6. Safe routes to schools.
The only cycleway in Lynn to be specifically designed as a ‘safe route to school’ was converted to a busway in 2010.
It is about time we turned the clock back?
These may seem ambitious, but they’re far less radical than the moves the Dutch and Danes have made over the last 20 years or so.
The motoring lobby (backed by ‘big oil’ and the car manufacturers) is no longer the loudest voice in the debate on how we will move around in the future.
People are getting out of their cars and onto their bikes in unprecedented numbers – and finding their voice in the process.
To learn more about the Space for Cycling campaign see: http://spaceforcycling.org/